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What does it take to open a library?

The Apollo Beach Civic Association is looking into what it will take to open a local public library.

Residents met last week at the community recreation center to make their case for a library and hear about progress on a library opening in Ruskin.

"We're here to make it a better place," said Hans Roese, the vice president of the association. "If we're going to bring in something that will improve our community, why not?"

The association appealed to Suzy George, the chief librarian for the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, for help.

At the meeting, George discussed the success of the South Shore Regional Library, which is scheduled to open this fall. Strategically located near two public schools, the 40,000-square-foot facility will be built at 19th Avenue and Beth Shields Way.

"This is the most significant project in a long time because it is very unique," George told residents.

The library, which is the largest branch library in the South Shore area, will serve Riverview, Sun City Center and Ruskin with meeting rooms, a cafe, a children's department, a genealogy department and an audiovisual collection.

Artwork donated by the late John Crawford, a 94-year-old resident who attended the groundbreaking ceremony before his death, will also be on display.

Plans to improve the library will not stop when the project is completely built.

Friends of the South Shore Regional Library, represented by Diane Waronka, began a year ago to prepare for the library's opening. The Friends organization raises funds to provide extra assistance to the library staff.

Waronka encouraged residents to become members of the organization to support the library.

George echoed the call, telling residents that many libraries started largely due to the residents communicating the need to the library board.

And that's what the Apollo Beach Civic Association wants to do, according to Joe Waronka, the treasurer of the group.

"It will hopefully be something that we'll pull together for a good presentation and not jump into something," he said.

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