By Amanda Hatfield
For Hometown News
MELBOURNE BEACH - Each day, hundreds of residents drive through the 1-square-mile town of Melbourne Beach.
Some of the town's buildings are known for their history, others for their ambience; but there is one facility in particular that is loved by all.
This fall, the Melbourne Beach Public Library on Ocean Avenue will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
This is quite an accomplishment for the community staple, which almost didn't happen.
Marie "Jimmie" Strazzo, former president of the Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library, a group of local volunteers, discussed the somewhat heated history behind the facility's opening.
"In the early 2000s, there was a great push to build a 7-11 or Walgreens on the corner, but Melbourne Beach residents were against that," Mrs. Strazzo said.
Residents encouraged the Melbourne Beach Town Council of that time to build what they believed would be of much larger value to the community - a library.
A short time later, plans for the library were set into motion.
"Fundraising began immediately," Mrs. Strazzo said.
The Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library sold bricks for the walkway for $100 per brick and tiles for the lobby at $300 per tile, in order to help purchase items for the library, once construction was complete, she said.
The Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library is a group of local residents, who volunteer their time and efforts in support of the Melbourne Beach Library. Members host fundraisers to purchase items for the library, such as books and DVDs, as well as to establish and expand programs at the library for both children and adults.
Officially opening its doors in October 2002, the Melbourne Beach Library quickly became a community pillar in Melbourne Beach.
"The Friends have been there since the beginning," explained Jill Addison, secretary of the organization. "We hold many different events each year, like bake sales, book fairs, and our annual golf tournament, which is held at Spessard Holland Golf Course."
Proceeds from the various events held throughout the year benefit programs, such as "Tales to Tails," a children's program, where kids brush up on their comprehension skills by reading to dogs.
These funds even allow the Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library to invite authors, such as American novelist Tim Dorsey to host special readings.
In honor of the Melbourne Beach Library's 10th anniversary, the Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library will be host a three-day event, Oct. 5-7.
"Throughout the three days, we will be holding a student art show - a first time event for us," Mrs. Addison said. "Students are encouraged to submit photography or hand-produced art products that relate to a character in a book."
A bake sale and book fair will also take place throughout the three days.
On the final day of the Melbourne Beach Library's 10th anniversary celebration, another first-time event will take place - a "Taste and Toast" at David's Restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Melbourne Beach on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 2-5 p.m., where guests can enjoy delicious appetizers, wine and great music.
Tickets for the event are $25 per person and can be purchased at the Melbourne Beach Library.
Mrs. Addison and Mrs. Strazzo encourage all who are interested stop by the Melbourne Beach Library to purchase their tickets for the event, as they are going fast.
Although she no longer serves as president of the Friends organization, Mrs. Strazzo still commits a great deal of time to the facility she keeps so close to her heart.
"The current board members are absolutely fantastic individuals, who are doing great things for the greatest library on the Space Coast," Mrs. Strazzo said. "The town of Melbourne Beach is truly lucky to have an amazing place for people to not only read, but study or get involved in many excellent programs."
For more information about the 10th Anniversary Celebration of The Melbourne Beach Library, or becoming a member of The Friends of the Melbourne Beach Library, visit www.mblibrary.org or 324 Ocean Ave., Melbourne Beach.
Call the library at (321) 956-5642.