Our Mission

The mission of the Fort Myers Beach Library District is to continually improve our service to the public by:

• Providing the residents of the district with access to library materials in a variety of formats.
• Helping patrons of all ages find information which meets their diverse personal, educational, and professional needs.
• Encouraging children to develop a love of reading, learning and libraries.
• Promoting community enrichment, economic vitality and individual achievement through reading and life-long learning.

To accomplish this mission, the Library:

• Recognizes our responsibility to balance available resources to serve everyone in the district.
• Is staffed with friendly, dedicated, and professional people to assist the public.
• Acquires, organizes, and maintains a collection of books, materials, and information technology to serve the community's diverse needs.
• Maintains an appropriate facility and hours to meet community needs.
• Supports local, state and national libraries and organizations to increase public access to information.
• Evaluates community needs and invites public input.

The library board and staff of the Fort Myers Beach Public Library District are committed to pursuing its mission in a responsible and cost-effective manner.

A Timeline of Our History

1954: Ruth Healy asked the Beach Women's Club for financial assistance to establish a library.
1955: September 25, library opened in a tiny cottage (which is still standing at 1698 Estero) with 1200 books. If more than five people were in the cottage at one time, the librarian, Marge Quigg, had to step outside.
1956: Became the first free public library in Lee County. Mrs. James Miller served as volunteer librarian for nearly 10 years.
1957: Moved into larger cottage on Avenue A.
1959: Lot purchased on Bay Road.
1960: Ground broken on May 31st for new library building, made possible through pledges of money, labor and materials, as well as the proceeds of the library's first auction. In September, Hurricane Donna hit while building was under construction. Bare walls remained standing, so loads of sand and shells were trucked in to raise the level.
1961: The new building opened on July 28th with enough space for 15,000 books.
1963: Received trophy for being a semi-finalist in the Lane Bryant contest for volunteer service to the community.
1965: There was a movement to establish a county library system, but the Beach Library decided not to participate, as plans and financial structure were indefinite. July 27th, a referendum was held to establish a library tax district, as increased circulation and increased demand for services could no longer be met by fund-raisers and county assistance. Of the 977 registered freeholders, the vote was 678 for and 32 against. Emily Spencer became the first full-time professional librarian over a collection of 10,500 books and periodicals.
1970: The library doubled in size.
1972: Jayne Coles, former school librarian, was hired part time to catalog donated books and become familiar with library procedures to take over as director when Emily Spencer retired.
1974: Construction-type trailer added for technical processing.
1975: Emily Spencer retired, additional paid staff hired.
1978: Interior refurbished and rearranged, and temporary office replaced by another permanent addition.
1990: Population and patron growth necessitates the need for more parking, so the board approved the purchase of adjacent property.
1992: Parking lot was completed, Friends of the Library financed the landscaping, and Kiwanis donates the flagpole.
1993: Construction began on new library building, with Fowler company as project manager and Gora and Magahey as architects.
1994: The new building was completed on February 28th.
2000: Jayne Coles retired as director. Leroy Hommerding was hired as her replacement.
2002: Adjoining land purchased for expanded parking and future building development.
2004: Library’s total holdings numbered 77,000 items, including 58,000 books, 7,400 videos, 5,200 audios. Staff numbers 10 with volunteers welcomed.
2006: Expanded parking became available on adjoining land; evaluation of building expansion needs and possibilities continued.
2008: Architects presented conceptual design for expanded library; zoning and variance hearings gave green light to proceed.
2010: Library experienced 23% increase in number of users in past decade. Harvard Jolly Architects hired to assist in completing construction documents for expansion. Manhattan Construction hired as Project Manager.
2011: Construction begins with Groundbreaking on April 5th.
2012: Expansion is complete and move-in is celebrated with Ice Cream Social in October. Usage increases dramatically.
2013: Renovation is complete and Grand Opening is celebrated in a two-day March fest. Usage up over 50% each month since Oct '12.