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Neighbors | Betty Geentiens

Retired librarian stays busy at Hernando Friends of the Library bookstore

How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?

My husband, Leonard, and I moved permanently to Spring Hill in 1983. We had planned to build a home on the east coast of Florida, but after seeing the rolling hills of Spring Hill we decided to build in Hernando County. We previously lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Who are the members of your family?

First and foremost are my children, Bart and Barbara. I have three grandsons: Michael, 31, Christopher, 29, and Tarek, 22. Michael has two sons — Gavin, 7, and Jimmy, 11 — making me a great-grandmother.

Tell us about your career.

I studied nursing after high school, married in the 1950s and changed my career to teaching elementary school children and then became in charge of the school library. Upon moving to Blairstown, N.J., I became the interim library director of the Catherine Dickson Hofman Library, a private library serving five local townships.

When we moved to Hernando County, I volunteered at the original Brooksville branch library (Lykes Memorial) and eventually became a part-time employee until retirement in 2005.

What kinds of activities are you involved in now?

After moving here, I joined the local Friends of the Library, becoming their treasurer and book sales chairwoman. In 1997, I was elected as president of the Friends and took up the task of finding a permanent book sale site.

Tell me more about that.

With the generosity of a local Realtor, the Friends were able to use a storefront for an ongoing book sale. When it became known that the Little Red Schoolhouse Branch Library was to be moved into the new Spring Hill Branch (Harold G. Zopp Memorial) Library, the Hernando County Commission agreed to allow the Friends to use the Little Red Schoolhouse as its permanent book sale site.

There are more than 50 dedicated volunteers staffing the bookstore. The books sold have mainly been donated by the public — bestsellers and used books alike. All proceeds from the book sales directly benefit the Hernando County Public Library System.

This past year, most of the proceeds from the bookstore were used to provide adult and children's programs, such as the Florida Humanities program, Santa @ Your Library, Pumpkin Patch and Teen Game programs, just to name a few.

The Little Red Schoolhouse Bookstore is at 1208 Kenlake Ave. in Spring Hill. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays; and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For information, call (352) 684-0660.

Do you have any special hobbies?

Other than keeping busy managing the bookstore, I enjoy reading, gardening, crafts, traveling and my menagerie of animals fondly called "the zoo."

What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?

There is so much talent here in Hernando County. I enjoy the many presentations of the Fine Arts Council, the Jazz Festival, all the artists' displays at the Brooksville City Hall Art Gallery and any other events.

What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?

I believe one should try to give back to the community in whatever way he or she can. There are many wonderful giving and talented people right here in Hernando County. We can have pride in knowing those people and recognize their accomplishments.

Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at [email protected] or (352) 848-1438.

Retired librarian stays busy at Hernando Friends of the Library bookstore 12/14/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 14, 2008 10:10pm]
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