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New Seffner-Mango library opens Dec. 15

SEFFNER — Some residents will lose a resource on Nov. 15, when the Seffner-Mango Branch library moves out of its current location at 11724 E Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

But wait until you see what lies in the wings.

On Dec. 15, the brand new Seffner-Mango Library Replacement opens 3 miles to the northeast, at 410 N Kingsway Road. The cream colored building is already finished and landscaped. A flagpole stands ready in front of a covered awning supported by double brick columns, protecting patrons from the rain over a semicircular driveway with plenty of parking nearby.

Of the area's recently built libraries such as South Shore, Bloomingdale and Upper Tampa Bay, the new Seffner library is "the most beautiful," said Joe Stines, Hillsborough County's director of libraries.

"It has a very contemporary look," he said.

The new library will have more than double its current space, from 6,500 to 15,000 square feet, with an interior design nearly identical to that of Bloomingdale. Besides a larger reading room, it will offer a community meeting room and children's play room, separate rooms for tutoring and group study and more computers in the computer lab.

And lots more books.

If there is a down side, it's that some patrons who depend on the library the most won't be able to get to the new location. The current location beside a Wal-Mart is a favorite nesting spot for the area's homeless population.

"It's the only way they get to the outside world," said Ed Bedard, who lives in a tent north of State Road 60. Many people use the library as a home base, a place to check e-mail, look for a job or just pass the time, he said.

"If they take that away, it's going to take away from a lot of homeless people," said Bedard, 54.

On a recent weekday, Arlette Cortez searched an employment Web site for clerical jobs. Her 2-year-old daughter looked at children's books.

Cortez, 20, has been in the area just three months. She lives with her mother and doesn't have a car. She had not noticed the signs by the entrance about the new location.

"I'll have to find a way to get to the new one," she said.

Buses don't run to the Kingsway location — and won't in the foreseeable future.

"Our guys went and looked at it and figured it out," said spokeswoman Kathy Karalekas of HartLine.

The current location marks the end of Route 32, Karalekas said. Adding a 3-mile route each way, every half-hour, would require two more buses and an additional $360,000 for weekdays and $78,000 for weekends, Karalekes said.

Residents are advised to visit branch libraries in Brandon, 619 Vonderburg Drive; or Thonotosassa, 10715 Main St.; until Dec. 15.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at 661-2431 or ameacham@sptimes.com.

New Seffner-Mango library opens Dec. 15 11/06/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 6, 2008 3:30am]
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