Book now to celebrate library’s past, future

By Margie Plunkett The Delray Beach Library is commemoratining its 96th year at a December meeting and celebrating four years at the current location in January with its annual Laugh with the Library fundraiser.

“The library is older than the town of Delray Beach,” said Library Director Alan Kornblau. The nonprofit library, the only one in Florida except for a Winter Park library, was founded in 1913 by the Ladies Improvement Association, he said —10 years before the town of Delray Beach was incorporated. The library will honor the anniversary at a Dec. 16 business meeting, featuring guest speaker Palm Beach Post columnist Eliot Kleinberg and refreshments. Library Board President Dan Murtaugh will give a state-of-the library address and an election of new and returning board members will be held. Laugh with the Library, Chapter 4, is a comedy night fundraiser set for the Delray Beach Marriott on Jan. 29 that marks the fourth year at the current library location, 100 W. Atlantic Ave. It’s an opportunity to see “top-notch comedy” in a New York-style comedy club, Kornblau said. “The Delray Marriott venue is awesome, the comedy, wonderful. It’s really special, laugh-out-loud comedy.” The event is the biggest fundraiser annually for the library, which was built primarily with private donations and which operates with the assistance of a grant from Delray Beach, Kornblau explained. The city reduced funding this year, but the Community Redevelopment Agency is contributing more and has enabled the library to stay open on Sunday, he said. The difficult economy has prompted more people to come to the library to check out books and other materials, but it has also squeezed funding and threatened some library operations. In addition to the core services of lending books and other material, the library offers classes and entertainment, including the Sunday Musical Matinee 2010 Series, held once a month from January to April. The library also launched its new Life-Long Learning Center in November, which offers continuing education for adults on topics including art, political science and humor, among many others. Life-Long Learning features three-, four- and five-week courses on continuing education topics. “It gives folks the opportunity to learn a little more,” Kornblau said. The library is trying to fill the void created when Palm Beach Community College dropped its continuing education program. The cost of the sessions, $35 to $45 per course plus a $15 fee per semester, are added revenue for the library. If You Go: 70th Annual Library Association Meeting What: The Delray Beach Public Library Association will hold a business meeting to celebrate the 96th anniversary Where: Delray Beach Public Library, 100 W. Atlantic Ave. When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. Cost: Free Laugh with the Library, Chapter 4

What: A comedy-night fundraiser with comedian Rocky LaPorte to celebrate the library’s fourth year at its current location. The event features food, drink, casual attire. Attendance limited to about 500 people. Where: Delray Beach Marriott, A1A and Atlantic Avenue When: 7:30 p.m. Cost: $125 per ticket. For more info: Call the library at 561-266-0799. History of the Delray Beach Public Library 1911: The area west of the Intracoastal was incorporated as the town of Delray. 1913: The Ladies Improvement Association founded the Library. 1923: The area east of the Intracoastal was incorporated as the town of Delray Beach. 1927: The towns of Delray and Delray Beach join to form the city of Delray Beach; the Delray Beach Library Association incorporates and agrees to manage library operations; Delray Beach City Council approves the first operating grant in the amount of $500. 1950: The Library opens at SE Fourth Avenue with unfinished sections. 1994: Library’s Volunteer Program began with eight volunteers. 1998: Awarded Enhanced Connectivity Grant; bringing Internet access to the library. 2006: Over 2,000 citizens celebrate the public grand opening of new building at 100 W. Atlantic Ave. with symbolic Book Passing Brigade and ribbon cutting by the mayor of Delray Beach. SOURCE: Delray Beach Public Library; town of Delray Beach
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