- Community Requires Communication

By Cassie Jacoby
Lifestyle Editor 

Lake Wales Public Library Celebrates Love Your Library Month


Last updated 2/25/2019 at 12:02pm

Library Board Member Chip Thullbery and Lake Wales Library Association - Friends of the Library President Glenda Morgan

Love is in the air at the Lake Wales Public Library celebrating its annual membership drive during February.

"This is a time for everyone, especially library support groups, to recognize the value of libraries," says Glenda Morgan, president of the Lake Wales Library Association - Friends of the Library.

"All the work has been done without government funds because we raised $89,000 from people who give and give and give," Morgan states. "It's so exciting to see our local community come together out of love for our library."

"The library is a source of pride for the community," said Tina Peak, Lake Wales Library director for 37 years, who recalls being a bookworm all her life. "One of my greatest childhood memories was when my mother brought me to the library and let me stay by myself."

"There's magic in books and people who love books are comforted being surrounded by books," says Morgan. "It feels so peaceful here. It's a safe and secure place full of traditions and wisdom."

The Lake Wales Public Library is part of the Polk County Library Cooperative with the third busiest library in the county behind Lakeland and Winter Haven. It's come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1919 as a project of the Lake Wales Woman's Club. In 1957, the Lake Wales Library Association was formed to raise funds to build a new library that was completed in 1960. In 1991, the library was expanded from 5,200 square feet to 20,000 square feet.

The Friends group currently has more than 350 members including 70 volunteers and nine board members who plan to continue fundraising to pay for the many services the library offers free to the public. In addition to 104,000 books, audio books, e-books, DVDs and VHS tapes, kits, archives, periodicals, maps, clippings and software, the library offers classes, computer services, books by mail, Career Source Florida Mobile Job Service training, databases, meeting rooms and more.

Lake Wales is branching out with new deposit collections, small assortments of books located at off-site locations around town to extend services to those who may be unable or unlikely to visit the library. There are "mini" branch libraries at Polk State College - JD Alexander Center, the Lake Wales High School and Water's Edge retirement community. "We even have books on school buses," adds Peak. "We recognize that we need to come out of our walls and reach the people. Not everyone has time to do a public library stop."

Memberships are as low as $10 a year and provide funding for programs, materials and special events, said Morgan, noting members will be entered in drawings to receive great prizes.

A drawing for one of three gift baskets from L'Incontro Italian Restaurant, Crazy Fish Seafood Restaurant and Norby's Steaks and Seafood Restaurant will be up for grabs through Feb. 15.

In addition to two handmade afghans included in the drawing, a new prize for families with children is a drawing for a dinner at the Lake Wales Fire Station 1, Central Avenue Station.

"This prize will allow a family with children to have dinner at the Fire Station including food prepared by awesome firefighters/chefs, a tour of the station and free access to the big red fire engines," Morgan adds. Drop off entries in the Kids' Room drawing basket. Call 676-4004, extension 221, for more information.

Morgan, president since retiring from her 32-year career as a mental health counselor in 2012, is impressed with the support from the community.

"It's wonderful to live in a small town where you have that kind of heritage of folks loving our library."

Peak applauds the tremendous success the Friends have achieved. "Thanks to their efforts we were able to redesign the children's library, replace old furniture, paint walls and install new carpet."

Events featured during February include the Lake Wales Student Art Show.

"We are honored to host the show for the 3rd year in conjunction with the Lake Wales Art Council's 2019 Art Festival," explains Morgan. "This exhibit features works created by kindergartners through 12th graders from Lake Wales' public and private schools, Haines City High School, Frostproof Middle and Senior High School as well as homeschool students."

Sarasota Chef, Warren Caterson Returns to the LW Public Library

Chef Warren will present a cooking demonstration, Cooking with Wine, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Chef Warren's cooking demonstrations are filled with food history, great cooking tips, money saving ideas and he prepares a dish for all to taste. Call 678-4004 to register for this free class.

Weekly Classes and Programs

Yoga from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in the library meeting room. A class fee applies.

Free classes, Coloring for Adults, are from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Free classes for needlework are at 9 a.m. on Fridays featuring all forms of needlework and fiber art. Bring your projects to work together.

Free Knitting and Crochet classes are at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Cabinet of Curiosity

Be sure to check out the Cabinet of Curiosity in the main lobby. "It includes examples of unusual items from the Lake Wales Museum's collection and our local history."

The library is located at 290 Cypress Garden Lane. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m .; Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m .; and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit for more information.


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