Monday, January 22, 2018
Education

Spring Hill woman leaves $100,000 to local libraries

The largest bequest in recent memory to the Hernando County Public Library system has funded new offerings at two libraries, with enough money remaining to enhance services throughout the five-library system.

Helen M. Card, who volunteered countless hours over 20 years, from 1986 to 2006, at the former Little Red Schoolhouse Library, named the system as a beneficiary in her will. Its share amounted to $100,000.

"It's definitely been the biggest (gift) we've ever gotten since I've been here," said Adam Brooks, who has headed library services since 2011.

Mrs. Card died April 21, 2014, survived only by two grandchildren and a cousin. The bequests were calculated earlier this year upon settlement of her estate.

Betty Geentiens, president of Friends of the Library, recalled that Mrs. Card served when the schoolhouse was a lending library. The facility on Kenlake Avenue has since been converted to a used book store, operated by the Friends, with proceeds benefiting the library system.

Most recently, the bequest purchased a mobile computer lab for the main library in Brooksville. "West Branch and Spring Hill and East Branch all have built-in computer labs," Brooks pointed out, "but the main (library) does not. We didn't have space for a lab here."

For $9,000, the system bought laptops, other mobile devices and a cart, enabling a teaching lab to be set up temporarily for classes in the library's meeting room, then stashed away when other gatherings occupy the space. "Eventually, we could do that at other locations if it pans out," Brooks said.

In September, the system unveiled the Helen M. Card Retro Makerspace at the West Hernando/S.T. Foggia Branch Library in Spring Hill, which offers old-fashioned diversions to inspire creativity and do-it-yourself projects. Its more than a half-dozen stations feature tools and goods to, for example, build with Lincoln Logs, draw with a Spirograph and produce lapel buttons.

About $17,000 from the bequest enabled the lab's installation. "Mostly, we're setting the remainder (of the gift aside) to see how the Makerspace goes and for program events that we don't have budgeted," Brooks said.

Those events range from the popular countywide summer reading program to several history festivals each year and touch-a-truck featuring hands-on visits to library campuses of fire, ambulance and police vehicles.

Bequests to the libraries are rare, Brooks said. But remarkable among donations was a $50,000 memorial gift established in 1991 and paid over eight years in memory of Charles J. Elisha and nine other aviators who died in an air crash at the Brooksville Airfield on July 20, 1944. The memorial, designated for spending on children's materials, was given by Elisha's brother, Charles J. Elisha and family, Fort Mill, S.C.

Brooks noted just two bequests to the system and one to the Friends in recent years. "Every once in a while, a snowbird might say, 'Thanks for helping me, here's $20,'" he said. More often, grateful patrons give to the Friends, he added.

Geentiens of the Friends praised the generosity of Mrs. Card, adding, "We need to let people know about it and let them not forget about the library" when giving donations.

The system's budget for 2016 is $2.57 million with more than $82,000 of the total in grants.

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

Comments
USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Holding a piece of computer paper and a microphone, the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began a Friday afternoon forum by repeating the USF administration’s new mantra.He reassured the crowd before him that t...
Published: 01/19/18

Crews Lake thespians overcome the odds

SPRING HILL — It’s 8:30 a.m. — "homeroom" period in school speak — when kids in the Crews Lake Middle School drama club file into an empty chorus room to begin rehearsing under the direction of language arts teacher Kristen Sykora. There’s only 25 m...
Published: 01/19/18
Cuts hit top school leaders as Hillsborough sheds three six-figure salaries

Cuts hit top school leaders as Hillsborough sheds three six-figure salaries

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins on Friday announced the first in a series of belt-tightening moves that include the elimination of three six-figure positions.Jobs now held by Wynne Tye and Larry Sykes will no longer exis...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

The Florida Department of Health has reported a sharp increase in flu activity in the last several weeks, prompting area schools to send out letters warning parents about the virus. At least two districts, however, say that flu activity in their scho...
Published: 01/19/18

More than 400 apply to Pasco technical high school

School choice for 2018-19 is in full swing, and district officials said they’ve been pleased with the interest they’ve seen so far.The window for applying to the district’s magnet schools closed Jan. 12, except for applications for the new Wendell Kr...
Published: 01/18/18
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Published: 01/18/18
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Published: 01/18/18
Lithia Springs Elementary gets kids up with standing desks

Lithia Springs Elementary gets kids up with standing desks

VALRICO — Fifth-grade math teacher Melissa Forsythe walked around her Lithia Springs Elementary School classroom on Tuesday with zeal.She stopped at each station and listened with a big smile on her face as her students told stories about their new s...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

TAMPA — They were hoping to receive between $15 million and $17 million in scheduled pay raises. But the Hillsborough County school district says it can’t afford to give its teachers anywhere near that much, while the teachers say they deserve nothin...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

NEW PORT RICHEY — At age 28, things were really shaping up for Joel Santos-Gonzalez. Fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, he had just completed his third year at Gulf Middle School."I always liked to talk to people on an intellectual ...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18