by J. Brooks Terry
The new Main Library at Hemming Plaza won’t open until Nov. 12, but plans for a week’s worth of festivities to mark the occasion have been gestating since late spring.
The mayor’s office said this week that, while much of the details surrounding those plans have yet to be finalized, there will be “a broad spectrum of special events” taking place throughout the opening week.
“Everything with regards to what the City is planning is still very fluid,” said Kristin Key, a press aide for Mayor John Peyton, “but the idea is that we want to organize something that will appeal to everyone in the city, from adults to families to children and teenagers.”
Key said there would be “age specific” undertakings as well as those that would have more of a mass appeal.
“And there have been discussions regarding doing something unique each day,” Key said. “We’re still figuring all of that out.”
A parade to be led by children enrolled in the Mayor’s Book Club would likely be the first of those events. That parade, Key said, will likely begin at the Carnegie Library (on Adams Street where the Bedell law firm is located today), Jacksonville’s first, pass by the Haydon Burns Library and end at the new building for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“We were thinking that the parade would be a nice way to get a look at the history and the evolution of the city’s library system,” Key said.
But beyond the first day’s events, further activities remain on the drawing board as many interested parties decide what role they will take to help execute the undertakings.
Key said City offices including the Library and the Special Events office as well as Downtown Vision, Inc. have each attended meetings to discuss the library opening.
“And it’s encouraging to see so many people show such an interest in getting involved,” Key said, adding that the Library’s Carolyn Shehee-Williams has handled most of the preliminary planning. “The opening of the new library is a very big deal for Jacksonville and there is a high level of excitement surrounding it.”
Key said more meetings, likely every other week, would be held until a final plan is put in place.