Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulfport Reading Garden opens Thursday

Betty Jean Steinshouer as Gertrude Stein.

Betty Jean Steinshouer as Gertrude Stein.

GULFPORT — After nearly a year of construction, the Reading Garden at the Gulfport Public Library officially opens Thursday at 7 p.m. with a ribbon cutting and a performance by Betty Jean Steinshouer, nationally known Chautauqua actor.

The garden's opening is a dream come true for the Circle of Friends, the volunteer group that works with the library to support literacy and learning in the community.

"We wanted a beautiful, tranquil place where people can meditate, relax, read, listen to the birds and appreciate the surroundings," said Phyllis Plotnick, president of the circle's board of directors. "It's a space that offers a welcoming oasis and brings new energy to the library."

Plotnick said the garden will be the site of many events throughout the year, from musical programs to children's activities.

Library director David Mather views the outdoor addition as both a gift to the city and a symbol of the library's renewal.

"It's one way of letting the community know that we're looking toward the future," he said. "The Reading Garden means we're no longer just a stuffy old library."

Thursday's event takes place in the Francis Purdy Community Room of the Gulfport Public Library, 5501 28th Ave. S, and is free. Because space is limited, those interested in attending should call (727) 893-1073. A reception begins at 6:30.

Contact Diane Craig at

if you go

History comes alive

Betty Jean Steinshouer has been performing Chautauqua, an American educational movement that began in the 19th century, since 1988. Performers assume the personas of characters in history and literature. Think Hal Holbrook performing Mark Twain. "It's like weaving a tapestry for each group," Steinshouer said. " I have hours of material in my head, and I decide what to use when I see the audience — their ages, gender and so on."

This is her first trip to Gulfport, and she hopes her performance of "On Hemingway: Three Views," will give the audience a new perception of Hemingway. The program explores the relationship between him and authors Willa Cather and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and poet Gertrude Stein.

Gulfport Reading Garden opens Thursday 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  2. Philando Castile family reaches $3 million settlement in death


    MINNEAPOLIS — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

    A handout dashboard camera image of Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., July 6, 2016. [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension via The New York Times]
  3. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  4. Forecast: Soggy, yet hot, workweek ahead across Tampa Bay


    A soggy workweek is ahead across Tampa Bay as decent chances for scattered storms remain consistent over the next several days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Travel ban, Kennedy retirement speculation the focus as Supreme Court prepares for break


    WASHINGTON — Before taking their long summer break, the Supreme Court justices are poised to act on the Trump administration's travel ban and a separation of church and state dispute involving a Missouri church playground.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown in 2007, has given no public sign that he would step down this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. [Associated Press]