BY CRAIG CAMPBELL
A pillar of the community is marking two decades of existence.
The Wellington branch of the Palm Beach County Library System will be holding a 20th anniversary celebration with cake, refreshments and memorabilia on Friday, Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m.
Mimi Levinson was instrumental in persuading the library system to open the Wellington branch in 1997.
She served on the library advisory board for 24 years — from 1991 to 2015 — and still serves as a weekly volunteer at age 92.
The board supported building the branch from the moment it was proposed to them, she added.
Branch Manager Margaret Barry pointed out that there is an additional milestone to be celebrating, the 10-year anniversary of the library’s expansion.
In 2007, the building nearly quadrupled in size — from 8,000 to 30,000 square feet — and the increased space allowed the library to greatly expand its collections and offer various gathering spaces within the facility.
Barry is proud of everything that the library offers, but she believes it’s the customer service that really makes the Wellington branch a place that truly serves the community.
She emphasized that the library couldn’t serve the community like it does without an excellent combination of paid librarians and volunteers who staff the facility seven days a week.
“I want this to be a place that inspires thought and enriches lives,” Barry said.
The facility is utilized by every demographic represented within the Wellington community, she noted.
Technology plays a huge role for the patrons, with the staff assisting people with job searches, government grants, applications and various computer classes.
There are large e-book and audio book collections, and Barry added that the library has never decreased the paper book buying budget.
The Wellington branch has the third-highest checkout volume in the library system.
Barry was a reference librarian when the facility opened and worked at other branches in the county before returning to Wellington as the manager in 2015.
Levinson is very supportive of the work Barry has been doing.
“It is run so well, they don’t have that much for me to do anymore,” Levinson said.
In June and July, when school was out of session, the library offered free lunches to those 18 years old and younger, and Barry added that the program will return next summer. There is also a popular Lego club, an anime club, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) club and Pokémon events for young people.
Over these 20 years, Barry said, as the culture has changed, so have the reference questions librarians field, and she would like to have the library be able to serve the entrepreneurs in Wellington better in the coming years.
Levinson noted that she is satisfied and fulfilled seeing the Wellington branch over the years move from proposal to reality, then expansion, and ultimately to what it is today.
“It is a very important part of my life,” she said.
The Wellington library is located at 1951 Royal Fern Drive. To learn more, call (561) 790-6070 or visit www.pbclibrary.org/branches/wellington.