The Destin Library celebrated its 19th year in its current building nestled under the big oaks on Sibert Avenue with a birthday celebration of sorts with cupcakes, cakes and punch Wednesday afternoon.
But it was more than a birthday party; it was a chance for folks to stop by and check out all the new things the library has added in the last few months and to honor the Friends Guild of the Destin Library for its support.
The afternoon was more to “remind people we’re still here and to come see what we’ve got to offer,” said Wyn Livingston, the library's director.
Some visited the library Wednesday to bring back books, check out a book, use a computer or to just come in and use their personal computer in the quiet air-conditioned building.
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Bob Griffin of Gulf Breeze stopped by to plug in his computer and grab a piece of cake.
Griffin works in merchandise and has to have his reports in at a certain time, and instead of fighting traffic to get back home, he stops at the library.
“I love the setup here,” said Griffin, who noted that he stops by a couple times a month. “I’ve been doing this for about 10 years. Libraries are convenient and are great in the summer when it’s hot.”
On Wednesday his wife Cecelia came along for the trip. She said it was her first time at the Destin Library.
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“The landscaping is gorgeous. ... It's very nice here,” Cecelia said.
Gail Ferguson, treasurer of the Friends Guild, stopped by to return a book and enjoy a cupcake at the open house birthday event.
Ferguson has been a patron of the library for 12 years and loves the people who work there.
“This library is like a cornerstone of the community,” she said. “Destin is a resort town, but the library is like an anchor and has the most beautiful grounds.”
Part of the celebration was to show off what’s new at the library.
It now has a new self-service kiosk where patrons can check out materials with just their library card.
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Children’s Librarian Laura Harris now has a little desk situated outside her story room where she can be more available for the children in the afternoons to help them with their selections. There also is a new children's seating area.
“It’s more comfortable for them to come and hang out,” Livingston said.
In the back of the library is a teen area with new furniture that is technology-ready.
“They can come in and sit here and plug in their laptops and phones,” Livingston said as she pointed out all the connections on the furniture.
The new furniture is courtesy of the Friends Guild.
“Without the guild, we’d have very little,” Livingston said.
The library has a lot of new technology available in addition to the furniture.
The library has a new tablet station on the right just after people come in the door, with six Samsung tablets.
“We have adult tablets or a children’s tablet, and the system changes it over to whichever one you want,” Livingston said.
Visitors will also notice a scanner of sorts when they enter. All the books and items in the library now have an RFID tagging system that has to be unlocked before they leave or they will set off the alarm.
“So, make sure you check out the book,” Livingston said. “We really don’t have a lot of trouble with ... this, but when you’ve got 36,000 things in here, it’s hard to keep up.”
Once the item is checked out and unlocked, patrons are clear to leave with the item.
“If not, this lady over there will leap over the counter and tackle you before you get out the door,” Livingston joked.
The library is open to anybody, but to check out an item people must have a library card.
“But if you want to come in and use a computer, you don’t have to have a library card for that, or make copies,” Livingston said.
The library also has a notary on hand, “and you don’t have to have a card for that. ...It’s free.”
“We do a whole lot more than books. We help people with whatever they are trying to do if we can,” she said.
The library is at 150 Sibert Ave. Hours vary throughout the week. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday;9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 1-5 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.