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Library Memories

Pictures from the March 11 Event in E. Peck Green Park on Park Avenue.

  • When we moved to Tallahassee in 1984, we immediately got a library card at the Library, which was then located at the Northwood Mall. My son, who was 3, and I attended many of the wonderful children’s programs. After one of the morning programs, I started a conversation with another mother, and looked around to find that my son was no longer in the vicinity. Panicked, I raced through the Library, past theReference Desk, where Donald Henderson was working. I frantically asked if he had seen a child going past his desk and, without hesitation, Donald bounded out of the Library and ran up the escalator, with me in hot pursuit, when we found Andrew at the top of the steps. I was incredible relieved and forever thankful to Donald.

    After I received my Master’s in Library Science, I started my “professional career” in 1989 at the Library and Donald Henderson, once again, saved the day in many ways. He trained dozens of us “Reference Librarians” and was always willing to share his infinite knowledge on hundreds of subjects and the Reference collection. He was a real presence in many lives and is missed by both patrons and employees.

  • Our family has frequented the Leon County Library since the early 1970s. We went to theLibrary when it was in the Northwood Mall. We used the Bookmobile when it would stop outside Publix at the Northwood Mall, also. We would check out 20 books a week at that time. One of our daughters still has her children’s story hour certificate.
         Just after my granddaughter was born, I began reading to her. I check out about 30-52 books for three weeks now to read to her and myself. All books are gold and silver nuggets, but especially the children’s books that are true or based on a true story. A helicopter we saw in the sky about three weeks ago began our reading helicopter books. We just recently began attending Lake Jackson Branch story time for toddlers.

  • The local library has made a difference for me! I am a homeschooling mom of a six year old and live on the east side of town. I have my first grader enrolled in a program by Sylvan Learning Center called Book Adventure that lists appropriate books for their ages. I use the online library resource to locate these books for my son. I am able to click, click, click, then run by the Parkway Branch library, and pick up these books with incredible ease and convenience! I truly believe that because of the simplicity of the program, efficiency of the staff, and vast variety of books, my six year old son is reading on a third grade reading level. I have received hundreds of requested books and audios, and I receive them very timely...I even get an email letting me know when my books are ready! The library has really become a part of our everyday life! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Our family moved into our home near Apalachee Parkway in 1976. I did a private 'happy dance' when I discovered the permanent Bookmobile parked at the corner of Apalachee Parkway and Capital Circle. I have been a faithful library patron over the years. The librarians are always pleasant and helpful. These days the parkway branch is usually quite busy when I go to return and pick-up books. Thanks for all the great memories. 

  • When I came to Tallahassee to go to Florida State thirty years ago I was a thousand miles from my parents and suffered from chronic homesickness my entire freshman and sophomore years. I would take respite in the warm and welcoming children's section of the library which was located in the basement of the then North Monroe St. location. All of the check out counters and chairs were miniatures of the adult versions upstairs. I always felt welcome and at home among the books there. Literature was always the home I could carry with me.
         Now nearly every day I take my daughter to the Lake Jackson branch of the library located near our home. The staff is ever wonderful and welcoming...and, as always, so are the books.

  • I started using the library when it was downtown and then went to the Northwood Mall where space and parking was better. Being an avid reader, I would drive wherever to get my books.
         Sometime in the late 70s I discovered the bookmobile on the Parkway, and what a wonderful experience. It was small but the staff were just fantastic and they would order whatever we wanted and have it for the next visit. About 6 of us started going every Saturday morning and would visit until it opened and became fast friends. It was like a neighborhood pub...serving books and periodicals and everyone knew each other. This is when I truly became a 'hard core book-a-holic' and became totally dependent on the Leon County library for the most of my entertainment.
         We have come a long way in the past 30 years...branches have opened and I love the web site where I can order and renew on line. 
         Special congratulations to all the library staff.....I cannot imagine my life without the Parkway Branch staff and all the fine folks in circulation and systems. I must say that I have been totally spoiled by the staff at the library and at my age, I can truly appreciate it. 
         Thank you Ms. Moeller for having such great people working to bring pleasure to so many people but too often taken for granted by us.

  • My first memories of the library are from when it was in the Northwood Mall. The bright orange carpet and endless numbers of books were things I could never get enough of. I have specific memories of going there after every gymnastics class (back when Tallahassee Tumbling Tots was there, too), and wanting to use the light-pen. In fact, the light-pen was the main reason that at four years old, I decided I wanted to be a librarian. Since then, my career choices have changed, I grew, and the library grew. Yet, I still go to the library very often, and I watch it change and grow daily. Happy 50th Anniversary!

  • When I was a young child, I was in a program at the Tallahassee library. I have a very clear memory of coming down the stairs with the librarian and the other children in our costumes from around the world, and getting our pictures taken for the newspaper. My classmate and I got to be a little Dutch boy and girl. It was very exciting! I remember the dark wood staircase and balcony, and all the shelves of books. It must have been the old library building on Park, as this was in the 1950s. We are so fortunate that building has been preserved.
         The Leon County library is a true community treasure, with the wonderful new building and collections. I have spent many enchanted hours in the Florida and other history reference shelves. Happy anniversary!

  • The year the Leroy Collins Leon County Library opened in 1991, I invited Don Rapp to juggle for my Title 1 (Chapter 1) students at Florida High. He juggled in the Children's Section, and we invited all of my students, their parents, and any child who was at the library at the time. Don did his show, juggling with balls, sticks, paper cups, and even newspapers made into a cone. He did his 'pet rope' tricks, and other 'magic' tricks as well. The children received three juggling balls and Don taught them how to juggle with those balls. I gave out homemade chocolate chip cookies to each child and parent, and everyone went home happy. The very best part, though, was that the children and parents signed up for library cards, and many began to use the library on a regular basis! My husband and I still use the library on a weekly basis. Thank you for providing such a wonderful gift to the people of Tallahassee!

  • I was fifteen, and my friend and I decided to take Driver's Ed over the summer. Both of us were avid readers and we couldn't get our parents to drive us to the library often enough. It was the summer of 1987 and the library was in the Northwood Mall. Much too far away from Rickards High School to walk. So we both purchased a city bus pass, and would take the bus once or twice a week after school to the library. 
         I still remember that summer; how we had to figure out bus schedules, routes and fares, the hot walks from the bus stop with heavy bags of books, and my first taste of independence as I moved from childhood into adulthood. But most of all I remember the joy of being able to read my newly acquired books on the long bus ride home.

  • I remember the library on Monroe Street. It was lovely. I loved to go into the library, just because it was such a wonderful place. Of course, I checked out books. It was before the advent of so much media (DVD, VHS, CDs, etc) and so books was what I got from there.
         And I remember the library in the Northwood Mall. Although it did not have as much character as downtown, it was much larger and still, there were the books, endless books available.

  • I moved to Tallahassee to attend graduate school at FSU in 1979. Most of my library experience at that time was with the Strozier Library on campus. I first discovered the public library in the Northwood Mall when I went to a movie at the mall. I can’t remember the name of the theater, but it was one of the last big long theaters before the multiplexes took over. I thought it was neat that the library was at the mall and that you had to come in the back way to get there. Libraries have always been special for me, but there was something especially cool about going in the backdoor into the “secret location” tucked into the corner of the basement of the mall. As another commenter has suggested, it did have a sort of cave-like feel, sort of like a secret underground government installation (I had a vivid imagination in those days!).
         I was very excited when the new location opened and was struck by what a beautiful facility it was. I remember overhearing a gentleman once asking why did the county spend so much money on such an unnecessary building. I could not have disagreed with him more. There is no more “public” place than the public library. Children, seniors, parents, people from all walks of life. It really is a crossroads of the community.

  • When I was a young girl in Missoula, Montana, my favorite 'field trip' of the school year was a walk across town, probably about 8 or 10 blocks, to go to the public library. It was an old brick building and inside, there were big red leather sofas flanking a huge fireplace which, in winter, would have a cozy fire. After visiting the library, our class would go to the nearby park and have a picnic. 

    When I had children of my own, and eventually grandchildren, I made it a point to take them to the library often and get them to feel completely at home there. Even now, when I am traveling, I often seek out the local public library for information or to use the computer, or just to have a 'home away from home' for a relaxing hour or two. In my opinion, there are very few public institutions more rewarding or important to society in general than the public library. I feel a genuine sympathy for anyone who doesn't take advantage of the marvelous free resources available in every public library.

  • When I moved to Tallahassee in April 1977, the library was located in the lower level of the Northwood Mall. Northwood Mall was really a mall with 3 department stores, a runners store (Phidippides), Lucy Ho’s restaurant, etc. My first library card was blue and had an “AV” stamp on the back (so I can check out audio/video items). Yes, I still have and use the card!

  • I guess I see my visits as ones to a 'family'--the kind that nurtures. A two-way experience is guaranteed. I need this to carry on at my own pace into my adventures of learning, seeking, and finding. The reference librarians must have the coolest jobs, as I imagine. Someone calls with a question, they listen and tear into the search for satisfying the patron. How very interesting and satisfying in so many ways. I'm glad for these people, and think we should make crowns for them to wear.

  • When I moved to Tallahassee in the mid seventies I was often at the library in the Northwood Mall. It was cave-like but staffed with fine people. When the new LeRoy Collins Library was built downtown I was amazed at the difference. It is such a beautiful facility and I love the views of Tallahassee from the second floor picture windows and comfortable chairs. Now I frequent the Northeast Branch, another lovely space.

  • When my daughter, Kristin, was three years old she began gymnastics. Each Saturday morning we would walk to the library, also in the Northwood Mall, return our books from the previous week and select and sign-out a stack of new books for the week. Then Kristin would excitedly ask to see her Aunt Hattie. If Hattie Jones was working that morning, as she most often was, we would go behind the counter to her office to say “Hello' and Kristin would get a big hug to go with the stack of books.

  • I have very fond memories of visiting the library downtown on North Monroe in the mid-70s. I think that I was there ‘most every Saturday afternoon. It was like being in a sweet, old house with lots of character. The building had three stories: the reference area was on the main floor as you came in and the circulation desk was there.
         Downstairs was the children’s area and adult fiction. The stairs had the creak of age; it was hard to be quiet. I seem to remember that there were stairs to the right and to the left from the main floor, and it was a little confusing sometimes. I would browse through the mystery books; I was reading Agatha Christie and similar books at that time and they were in their own section; and I could hear the story times.
         Upstairs was the older children and teens’ section. I remember a table with comic books, and kids spread around the room, some reading and some with headphones on. I was able to find a lot of materials for my education classes at FSU.
         I think there was a classroom upstairs on the right with a balcony. I remember taking a class and going out there to video; learning about the zoom.
         One of my favorite features was the art stacked against the wall upstairs. You could check out framed prints for about three weeks. I kept the walls of our rented house furnished from this area.
         This library was great; comfortable cozy. It was bulging at the seams, though; no room for new materials, and you had to squeeze past people when walking around.

  • At the age of 55 I was assigned to the Main Library as a deputy sheriff for the purpose of security. I was completely lost and out of my element, but I decided I had to feel my way around. After learning all the various departments, the employees and about their jobs, I started looking for things that interested me. After all, I had to be there for eight hours, I might as well have some fun. And I did.
         I learned about all the displays that various groups placed in the library, the art shows, the collections, the book discussion groups and all the services that were available to the patrons. Never would I have known that copies of the Democrat were there on microfilm from years gone by. The computers, the collections of audio books, CD's, DVD's, and movies were news to me, but the thing that really amazed me was the devotion that all the employees felt toward the patrons, and the way they worked to help everyone have a good experience at the library, from the very young to the oldest. I vowed that when I retired I would take full advantage of the library services and I did.
         I have kept my promise, my husband and I visit the Lake Jackson branch of the library almost weekly when we are not traveling, and when we travel we take books to read at night. The employees are always cheerful and helpful and it is always a good experience. When you see that the taxpayer's money has gone to fund a new library you should feel proud that you are helping all members of the community.

  • I appreciate what the library is doing to keep up with technology. I love the online services, especially the fact that the central library and its branches all seem like one big library. I’m happy about the new service that announces an impending due date. I hope the library keeps pushing the envelope, making it viable and wonderfully useful for all of us.

  • I moved to Tallahassee in the late 1970's when I was a young teenager. Sometimes I would go the movie theater at the Northwood Mall, and after the movie, I would go the library down the hall. When I got my divers license, I would go to Northwood Mall Library and park in the back of the mall near the back door library entrance -- there was always plenty of parking spaces, and it was free to park there unlike now with the main library being downtown. I would sometimes shop at the Northwood Mall stores after I left the library as it was convenient.
         I recall researching book reports at the Northwood Mall Library (this is before the Internet) as I would spend hours sitting at the library tables with the red World Book Encyclopedias and varies other books. It was a very quiet and pleasant place to study and do research.
         I kept using my old 1970's Vanilla-Colored Leon County Library Card up until just a few years ago, and I still have the old card as a memory.

  • I'm an International Student at FSU. My major is Information Studies. I became a member a few years back. My visits to the Library have been very memorable. Much more of a spiritual experience I should say. I feel very relaxed whenever I pay a visit to the library and I feel at ease and away from the rush of modern life. The Library system is doing a great service to society. I'm also very pleased with the staff. They've all been very helpful and courteous. Kudos to you all. Keep it up. 

  • I am forever grateful to the staff at the main Leon County Library branch for helping me during my college years. They were always there to help and direct me during my research.

  • I recently went to the Northeast library (on Thomasville Road) to renew my library card. Because it was so old and because I had not been using it, my name was not in the system. I got my new shiny, pretty card but for some reason I did not throw away the old one (enclosed). I saw the article and decided to sent it to you, It might not be old enough for interest, but maybe some one other than myself might recall memories of the Northwood Mall branch. It was close to my house and I discovered books on tape there. That got me hooked on them. I also got my 2 young boys started on using the library there. Congratulations on the 50th anniversary!

  • When my family moved here from Jacksonville in October 1976 I remember taking my three children to the little library on Park St. Then we went to the Northwood Mall with my grandson who was born in ’85. Now I am bringing my three year old granddaughter and she wants to check out as many books as we can carry in our bags. Some favorites we look for again and again: “Mr. Gary’ who does the children’s time downtown on Wednesday mornings is her favorite. Thanks for the wonderful program provided for children and for the books that her parents and I have read many times to her! The library is a wonderful source of reading pleasure to us.

  • I really appreciate online requests. It saves me a lot of time, and gives me much more to choose from than I’d have in the local branch. Everyone here is VERY friendly.

  • I can remember the library at the “Old Elks” Bldg on N. Monroe and the “Chaires House” on S. Adams and Park Ave. We’d ride the bus (10 cents each way) from our home near TMH downtown to enjoy the atmosphere (musty as it was at times), climb the grand staircase, and check out books to devour as we rode the bus home. The cycle would repeat itself every week or so, and still there were so many books to digest!

  • When I was little, I remember my mom taking me downtown to the old library on Monroe St. to listen to story hour. There was always someone there reading with great enthusiasm to a large circle of eager children. When story hour was over, we would check out a stack of books and on the way to the car, we always window-shopped at the Little Folks Store next door. It was great fun to go to the library back in 1968 and now my children enjoy frequent visits to the main library downtown.
         Happy 50th Anniversary!

  • My husband and I lived in Georgetown Apartments when my children were born. Being a stay-at-home mom on a limited budget I frequently took my daughter to the library when it was located in the Northwood Mall. With the library being just a stone's throw away, we spent many an afternoon reading in the children's section or coloring at the tables. We attended the children's programs where my daughters learned the words to 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' and other children's songs.
         I still have -- and use -- the light blue library card I first obtained when the library was located in the mall. It is decorated with several small, round stickers my girls would receive when checking out. Occasionally they would share their stickers with me and they remain to this day to be a permanent reminder of those innocent, carefree days.

Share your own library memories; e-mail SearsD@LeonCountyFL.gov