By: Sharon Aron Baron
It’s been 32 years in the making, but thanks to the passion and hard work of residents, the newly expanded Parkland Library will have the Grand Opening of its expanded children’s wing and remodeled adult library wing.
First making its debut in 1988 in the concession stand at Quigley Park, in 1992, the library moved into larger quarters — a dilapidated double-wide trailer donated by Broward County. This was parked north of the grounds of the Old City Hall located at the northeast corner of Parkside Drive and Holmberg Road, where the fire station now sits.
When Commissioner Ken Cutler moved to Parkland in 1997, he saw signs for the Parkland Library, but couldn’t figure out where it was. That is, until someone pointed, “You see that trailer?”
He always had a fondness of libraries from the time he was a child.
“When I was a little boy, my mom would take me to the Hollywood Library and drop me off at storytime, where I would get free rein. That was the beginning of my love of libraries.”
He met Parkland’s first paid librarian, Pat Markey, who showed him around and told him about Friends of the Library. He joined the group, became involved, and served as president for over ten years.
Parkland Friends of the Library is a 501c3 and raises funds from membership dues, donations, and bookstore sales to support the programming and services of the library.
“Ever since that time, I’ve been enamored with getting this library to become a premier library, so other children can come and enjoy it — and so can the adults,” said Cutler.
The library had the opportunity to become a county library; however, Broward County was shutting smaller locations down, including one in nearby Coral Springs. It was then decided to remain a city library only, funded by city taxpayers.
In 2000, Cutler, along with the Friends of the Library, asked the city commission to build a library, which would cost $2 million. He figured he would ask for everything — hoping they would give them the old city hall building; however, he was surprised when the commission agreed and voted for a new building.
“We envisioned that as Parkland grew, then we’d expand the library by adding on to either the north and south walls.”
That projection would be utilized almost 20 years later when they did break down the north wall to expand the library for the new children’s wing.
Before then, the city hired a consultant to analyze whether the library was able to meet the growing needs of the community. The result was a resounding no. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the library outgrew its space for books as well as the size of the facility.
In 2018 members of the Parkland Friends of the Library, Co-Founder, Carolyn Marks, and Library Director, Joe Green, attended a city commission meeting to stress the importance of a library expansion to keep pace with the growth of the city. Designed for a population of 11,000 residents, Parkland’s population grew to over 30,000 with estimates of 40,000 within just a few years.
Construction began at the cost of $3.5 million, adding 7,500 sq ft of space, giving it a dedicated children’s wing as well as a newly remodeled adult library wing with new furniture.
The Parkland Friends of the Library donated a new statue of two children swinging while reading a book that will be exhibited in the front of the library.
Now complete, a ribbon-cutting will be held on Saturday, March 7, at 3:00 pm. There will be music, refreshments, and Kathy Kestler, President of the Parkland Friends of the Library, who will be there to share membership opportunities.
The Parkland Library is located at 6620 N University Dr, Parkland, FL 33067.