Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Fleming Island Library Opens, and It's a Big Hit; $3.6 Million Facility Had Its Grand Opening Saturday

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Fleming Island Library Opens, and It's a Big Hit; $3.6 Million Facility Had Its Grand Opening Saturday

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

The children patiently waiting with their parents outside the Fleming Island library had little interest in the grand opening speeches a few feet away.

They just wanted to get inside.

As the dignitaries were talking about the cultural and community importance of libraries and the long road to get this particular one built, the children peered inside the glass doors, straining to see the wonderland of words and pictures inside.

Finally, the speeches were over, the ceremonial ribbon was cut and the doors opened.

"Wow! This is beautiful," said Ellie Hughes, 10, gazing all around.

That was the consensus of the first patrons to visit the $3.6 million, 27,600-square-foot library, which had its grand opening Saturday. The library was a long time coming -- construction began in January 2003 and was intended to be done by April 2004 -- but once it was open they wasted no time scampering to the stacks, the children's, research and genealogy departments and to the front desk to ask questions, apply for library cards and check out books.

"It's pretty cool, isn't it?" Sue Ann Boyles said to daughter, Reecie, 4, as they sat at a table in the children's department reading a big, colorful Paddington Bear book. "She was very excited to check out books."

On a couch in the children's section, David Dinsbeer read a book to sons Aidan, 2 1/2, and Harrison, 5.

"This is fun," Harrison said.

In the audiobook section, Barbara Hughes, who works for the Jacksonville library system, marveled at the new Fleming Island facility.

"It's gorgeous," she said. "I am so envious."

Such comments were gratifying for Arnold Weeks, director of the Clay County library system. He spent three years working on the project, which also houses the county library administration. …

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