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Library experiments, adds a science room

The specialty section is a first.

By Catherine E. Shoichet, Times Staff Writer
Published February 22, 2008


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SEFFNER - Visitors will be able to check out science fiction books and mystery novels from the new Seffner-Mango Library.

They might also leave with skeletal replicas tucked in their backpacks.

The 15,000-square-foot library will include a room dedicated exclusively to science, the first of its kind in a freestanding Hillsborough library branch.

Planning for the room is still in the works, but officials hope it will house books, geodes, microscopes, telescopes and even skeletal replicas that patrons can check out.

"There will be a lot of hands-on learning tools. ...This will be a new concept for us," said Suzy George, services manager for the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System.

The system opened a science library at the Museum of Science and Industry in 1995. That library will share resources with the Seffner branch when it opens in December, George said.

Construction crews broke ground this month on the $6.4-million facility, which will sit on about 5 acres off Kingsway Road north of Old Hillsborough Avenue and Lopez Elementary School.

The new branch will be nearly three times larger than the current library - a shopping center storefront located next to a Wal-Mart in Seffner.

"It's so exciting. ...What we have now is not really a library," said Charmaine Andrews, president of Friends of the Seffner-Mango Library. "It's just a building where people come in and pick up their books."

The new library, and the passive park officials hope to build around it, will give residents a place to gather, she said.

"Right now, I don't know where people go at night. They just go inside and close the door," she said. "This is already beginning to pull the community together."

Many Seffner residents banded together to fight other ideas for the property, including a sewer treatment plant and a county transportation center, Seffner Community Alliance president Terry Flott said.

"This was a good compromise," she said.

And the science room, she said, is particularly exciting.

Dr. Richard Ingraham, a retired physician and former university professor who lives in Seffner, has offered to donate money for materials in the room.

"Science is an exciting thing. I see science as a verb, not a noun," said Ingraham, 77, who also plans to start a monthly science lecture series at the library. "I hope that this becomes a model. If we can do a good job of getting the community excited about it, we can get other folks excited about doing the same thing."

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 661-2454.

[Last modified February 21, 2008, 22:21:45]


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