homepage logo

Library features novel ways to sharpen the mind

By Staff | Jan 30, 2009

Living among headhunters who used human skulls for drinking cups and eating elephant and hippopotamus was pretty common stuff for author Tamar Myers.

But that’s life in the Belgian Congo when you’re the daughter of missionaries.

Myers is one of a number of visiting authors who sprin tales of mystery and intrigue at the Sanibel Public Library this month in a program that library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro says supports “intellectual stimulation.”

This isn’t your everyday find-a-book-and-leave library.

Mohundro and the staff work hard to make the Sanibel Library more than just a library. It’s more of a mini college or cultural education center.

Sure, there are books and lots of them more than 73,000.

But having a wide selection of reading materials is only part of the formula for creating a stimulating environment accessible to everyone.

“A library is more than just a collection of books,” Mohundro said.

“Everything that we do supports reading and intellectual stimulation.”

Through a variety of programs including an author series with prominent writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, guest speakers and a program that teaches people how to access data and information, the library is magnet for those looking to learn and broaden their knowledge.

The Author Series which started last year allows the public to learn about and sometimes chat with often well-known authors. Authors such as Joyce Carol Oates and Jeff Shaara speak about their work and sign readers copies of their books, Mohundro said. The author series, though ticketed is free.

Most Author Series events are sold out and leave the library packed like a rock concert.

Mohundro says authors chosen for the series meet a variety of interests.

Some like Jeff Shaara are historical fiction authors while others like Tamar Myers are mystery writers luring a different crowd. Myers will speak at the library on Friday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for our library users to meet some notable writers,” Mohundro said.

And since the event is ticketed only about 200 people can attend the series

– creating filled but yet still intimate environment.

“They’ve all been going very well,” she said. “We have a very positive response.”

The Sanibel public Library Foundation, Inc. supports the cost for bringing in headline authors, Mohundro said.

Sid Simon, a Sanibel resident, who runs Stories for Grown-ups, considers the author series a gem for the library.

“They are dazzling,” he said. “They (Sanibel library) are so far ahead of other libraries.”

Joe Pacheco, an active poet on Sanibel is looking forward to the library putting up Art Poems during Poetry Month in April.

“The library is wonderful to poets,” he said.

Aside from the programs and racks of books and magazines, the library showcases works of local and national artists. This month the library is running a traveling exhibit from the Charles Schulz Museum. The exhibit –

“Peanuts at Bat” – includes the Peanuts comic strip and is themed around baseball. Mohundro said they also display rare collections from the

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. The Sanibel Library holds a permanent collection of dolls from around the world donated by Jane Werner.

Mohundro encourages other hobbyists to inquire about showcasing their collections.

The library also features a variety of children’s programs, including reading to Rocky the dog.

Library card holders are entitled to take out up to 20 items at a time.

Residents can just sign up for a card. Non-residents can sign up for a card good for year at a fee of $10.

For more information about the library, call 239-472-2483 or visit online at www.sanlib.org.

The Library is located at 770 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.