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St. Petersburg library to be named for former President Obama

The city of St. Petersburg will rename its main library the President Barack Obama Main Community Library of St. Petersburg. The renaming will come with a $6 million renovation. [Rendering courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg]
The city of St. Petersburg will rename its main library the President Barack Obama Main Community Library of St. Petersburg. The renaming will come with a $6 million renovation. [Rendering courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg]
Published Apr. 27, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG —

Council members voted to rename St. Petersburg's main library, which will be undergoing a $6 million renovation, in honor of former President Barack Obama.

One member of the public, Patricia Buchanan, suggested that a vote be held and other names such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or former President Bill Clinton be considered.

Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin spoke passionately before the April 19 vote.

"We landed on the right side of history with the election of President Barack Obama," she said, "and renaming our main library for him honors our city at least as much as it honors him, in a way that transcends both party and politics."

Council member Steve Kornell, a Democrat, said he expected to receive "snotty emails" about naming something after President Obama. But colleague Ed Montanari, who is Republican and supported the renaming, drew laughs when he said he'd like to make a friendly wager with Kornell "that I get more emails than you do on this issue."

Montanari did add, though, that he would like to see the city recognize some of the local people who have made St. Petersburg a great place to live, work and play "for all people."