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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 18, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Florida Junior College president predicts library without books

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A library without books was needed to keep up with the information explosion, said J. Bruce Wilson, president of Florida Junior College at Jacksonville.

He talked about library needs in the space age at the 10th annual meeting of the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library during lunch at the George Washington Hotel.

The event was part of National Library Week.

“I predict that our great-grandchildren will look back in their day and evaluate the process of fingering through the pages of a book as a slow and tedious way of securing information,” Wilson said.

“The day is gone when the excellence of a library is determined almost exclusively by the number of volumes on its acquisition list. With the information explosion upon us, the task of keeping current presents almost insurmountable problems,” he said.

Wilson also predicted electronic devices would take the place of books.

• Speaking of the library, the numbers were in for the new Haydon Burns Public Library along Adams, Forsyth and Ocean streets, now the Jessie Ball duPont Center.

From January-March 1966, circulation more than doubled that of the first quarter in 1965, when the library was in its previous location, now the Bedell law firm’s building at Adams and Ocean streets.

The figures were part of a report submitted by Laurence Snook Jr., assistant director of libraries, to the Board of Library Trustees.

In citing other comparisons, Snook said reference questions answered by library staff were up more than 90 percent and group visits by children increased by 414 percent.

The library’s meeting rooms were used 91 times in the three months. Nearly 300 films were borrowed and viewed by more than 12,000 people.

“I hear glowing reports of our circulation. People are beginning to comprehend for the first time the services we are offering,” said board President Cecil Bailey.

Board member Rabbi Sidney Lefkowitz said a committee had been selected to screen art for periodic showing in the library.

Assigned to the group were Memphis Wood, artist-in-residence at Jacksonville University; Lee Plein, director of the Jacksonville Art Museum; and Joseph Dodge Jr., director of the Cummer Museum of Art.

Lefkowitz said a waiver agreement was being drafted to relieve the library of responsibility in the event of damage to art that would be displayed at the facility.

• The Florida Education Association voted to bring its 10,000-delegate annual convention to Jacksonville in 1967 because of improvements to the Duval County public schools.

Tampa was the other city being considered.

Several years prior, Jacksonville was placed off-limits by the group due to the county’s financially-deprived school system and loss of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The association felt, however, the county’s property reassessment and increased 1965-66 school budget placed it in good standing with the statewide educators’ organization.

Ed Henderson, association executive director, said Duval County had been given a “new lease on life” with the additional funds and that’s what led to the reconsideration and decision.

• The president of an office furniture supply company charged the city could have saved as much as $20,000 on furniture and equipment had it accepted his company’s bids on three projects.

William German, president of Purdue Office Furniture Co., shared his opinion at a City Commission meeting.

He protested the award of a contract to R.E. Wilkerson & Co. for supplying more than $24,000 in furnishings for the new Southside electric distribution station.

He claimed his bid on numerous items in the specifications amounted to about $17,800 and covered 96 percent of the items listed.

He said Wilkerson was low on only $313 worth of the items.

“It appears to me you are getting fewer and fewer bids on your office equipment,” German said. “We spend a good deal of time and expense preparing bids and we feel we’re being used.”

He also cited bids for furnishing the new Haydon Burns Public Library and an office for the Electric Meter Department.

German said failure to take the low bids on those purchases, plus his bid on the distribution center, cost taxpayers $20,000.

City Commissioner Claude Smith Jr. directed the City Attorney’s Office to investigate German’s allegations and give the commission an opinion on why Perdue did not meet the specifications.

• Jacksonville Beach rolled out the biggest red carpet ever to mark the official opening of the beaches when more than 100,000 people jammed the strand for the 20th annual Beaches Welcome Day.

A 34-block-long parade, including dozens of floats, took more than one hour to pass the reviewing stand.

Traffic was backed up for blocks along Beach Boulevard, which prevented many people from seeing the procession.

Among the honored guests were Herb Shelly, president of the Beaches Area Chamber of Commerce, and Martin Williams Sr., the co-founders of the event.

Shelly said the record crowd was the largest ever to attend the observance and was surpassed only by the annual 4th of July festivities and appearances by the Blue Angels, the Navy’s precision flying team.

Rear Adm. George Koch, commander of Carrier Division 6, was parade marshal. He was accompanied by Capt. James Swope, commanding officer of Mayport Naval Station.

• Warren Folks, a barber who was a candidate for the Legislature, appeared in Mayor Lou Ritter’s office carrying a shotgun.

Folks accompanied H.G. Hutchison, president of the Confederate Flag and Tag Club. Hutchison requested a parade permit and police protection for a motorcade he said was scheduled the following week.

A spokesman at the mayor’s office said the two men were advised no special permit was needed for a motorcade and the mayor’s office would not provide special police protection for the motorcade. Folks and Hutchison left the office.

Ritter was out of the city and City Council President W.O. Mattox, who was acting mayor, was not in the office at the time.

• Fire of undetermined origin caused an estimated $22,500 in damage to Darnell-Cookman Junior High School.

Assistant Chief E.B. Mathews said the fire had been smoldering for some time before the blaze was reported.

He said damage was confined to one classroom in a one-story concrete block extension of the main school building.

Heat from the fire was so intense, the walls and ceiling beams warped. The wooden tops on the metal desks in the room were destroyed.

The fire was not discovered sooner because the room faced into a courtyard. Mathews said.

Damage to building was $20,000 and $2,250 to its contents.

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