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Bradley retires after 30 years

By Staff | Mar 23, 2016

Branch Manager Ann Bradley is retiring on March 30. MEGHAN MCCOY

After dedicating 30 years to the Lee County Library System, 12 of which were spent at Captiva Memorial Library, Ann Bradley has decided to retire at the end of March.

Her career with the Lee County Library System began in 1986 in Cape Coral.

“We had 175 volunteers in the circulation department and they just started hiring staff. They needed to hire someone to supervise the volunteers, (although) they always supervised themselves because they started the library. I was young and had some education, but at the same time I was young enough that they adopted me,” she said laughing.

Bradley decided to further her education because she wanted to become a librarian. She had a masters degree in communication, but did not have a degree in library science.

“I went to USF and got my masters in library science,” Bradley said, which afforded her the job as a reference librarian in Fort Myers.

From there she became a Talking Books librarian, a service for those who are legally blind, within the Lee County Library System.

“It was very interesting,” she said of Talking Books, which is a subregional service. “Everything is supplied by mail, although people do come in and ask for books, or want to look at the collection. They have to be certified as being eligible to borrow these books. They get a machine with it and sent to them by the state.”

She then decided she wanted to further her options beyond Talking Books, so she applied for a floating librarian position. Bradley said she wanted to get back into the branches and refresh her knowledge of regular branch library work.

During the time she was floating, she had many interim positions, including the Pine Island Public Library and Dunbar Jupiter Hammon Public Library. Bradley said she has worked at most of the libraries in the system before the position became open at Captiva Memorial Library.

“I thought it over because I did not think I wanted to be a branch manager. The way I operate is I believe in being involved in the community,” Bradley said. “I really enjoyed the community in Dunbar, so that got my feet wet with it. It’s a lot like this library in a lot of ways in terms of the community.”

While at the Captiva Memorial Library, Bradley has gone through digitization projects, the founding of the Captiva Island Historical Society and a building renovation two years ago this April.

“We opened the library before it was all completed,” she said of the renovation.

The community is what Bradley has enjoyed the most since starting at the Captiva Memorial Library.

“The community and staff and my coworkers, Leslie and Naomi. In general this is a very nice community. It’s a pleasure to serve them,” she said.

The library’s collection is also nice, according to Bradley.

“Being apart of a big library system, we have access to just about anything people want, we can get in terms of books. We have a large assortment of data bases, electronic resources, books, magazines and movies,” Bradley said.

One thing she is proud of is making the library become more apart of the community.

“In the old days it was very much central to the community. It still was when I came, but I did a lot of outreach. I have been apart of the community. It’s like I live out here, really,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of friends out here too.”

Bradley will retire March 30 because after 30 years she thought “how much is enough?'”

“I own a horse and want to spend more time with the horse. I want to do the typical traveling and I want to catch up on my personal life. It’s time,” she said. “I really like it out here, but everything has a cycle. I want to do things while I can. Get back in physical shape.”

Her horse, Hollywood Prince, is a Missouri Fox Trotter, that was purchased two years ago. Bradley said she wanted to own a horse while she was still physically active.

“I ride every Sunday and he is trained throughout the week because I have to have him ridden,” she said.

Hollywood Prince lives at Florida Icehorse Farm with icelandic horses. Once she retires, Bradley hopes to ride her horse twice a week.

Before she bought Hollywood Prince, she started taking riding lessons for about a year and half.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.