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Memorial could speak volumes

The new Spring Hill Branch Library may be named after a county man who devoted his life to helping others.

On Tuesday, county commissioners asked their staff members to look into the possibility of naming the new $2-million library after Frank Bierwiler Jr.

Just before, they took a moment at the meeting to honor his memory.

The former New York State Police trooper died in January at the age of 67. He battled multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years.

Bierwiler, who also worked as public information officer with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, moved to Spring Hill from New York after doctors there diagnosed him with MS in 1974.

After losing a close race for sheriff in 1980, he created the DayStar Hope Center. The outreach organization helped low-income families make ends meet.

Commissioners hope to have more information on county memorial policies at the next regular meeting March 21. On Tuesday, most approved of the idea.

"Even though I didn't know Mr. Bierwiler, he has a reputation as a great man who gave back to the community again and again," said Commissioner Rob Schenck. "I'd be in favor of naming the library after him."

The new library is set to open March 13. On Monday and Tuesday, the library staff kept busy moving 30,000 books from the Little Red Schoolhouse Library.

The move was expected to be finished by Tuesday evening. Unpacking and organizing will continue until the new library opens.

Though no longer a library, the landmark building on Kenlake Avenue will be kept as the Book Corner store run by Friends of the Library of Hernando County. It is expected to reopen in May after renovations.

Donated books or those purged from the library system will be sold there. Profits will go to the libraries.

Employees of the Deltona Corp., which developed Spring Hill in the 1960s, built the Little Red Schoolhouse and used it as an office. It became the Spring Hill Library in 1984.

The new building, on Spring Hill Drive, is almost triple the size of the old facility. It will have a computer lab, wireless Internet access, a coffee bar, a 100-person meeting room and other amenities.

Library officials were not aware of the commission's proposal Tuesday afternoon. If it is named after Bierwiler, the choice will be up to them, said director Barbara Shiflett.

In between organizing the truckloads of books coming in, library services supervisor Colleen Ludington said that staff and community members are excited to be in the new building.

But they will all miss the red building with white gingerbread trim.

"It's nice to know that the (schoolhouse) will still be part of the library, even though it won't be a branch," Ludington said. "The Little Red Schoolhouse was such a quaint library. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep that homeyness."

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at or (352) 848-1432.