News & Highlights

Leon County Public Library Newsletter- January-February 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019 | 

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January-February 2019

Letter from the County Administrator

Vincent S. Long

With the first Leon County Library Newsletter of 2019, I wanted to introduce Debra Sears, our new Library Director. A familiar face at the downtown County main library, Debra has been with the County for 15 years, serving in various leadership roles that have all been vital to the library's continued success.

Debra takes over from Cay Hohmeister, who served as Library Director for the last eight years before retiring at the end of 2018. As many of you know, Cay spent 18 years with Leon County and she will be truly be missed as she heads off to enjoy the next “chapter” of her life. All of us at Leon County are thankful for Cay’s commitment to public service.

It's also an exciting time for our Leon County Library system. Just last month we heard from Dr. Eric Klinenberg, a nationally recognized professor and sociologist, about how the future of democratic societies rests on shared spaces like libraries. In Leon County, our libraries have continued to evolve to meet the needs of the young and the young at heart. We continue to be on the cutting edge by providing mobile hotspots to patrons, offering seed libraries, digital resources, streaming video, and so much more! And with Debra's leadership, I am excited to see what the new year has in store for our libraries and their important community role.

From the Director

debra pic

From the Director

It’s natural to think about new beginnings at this time of the year.  Approximately 40% of us even formalize the process by making New Year’s resolutions. One resolution that can serve you well is to continue using your public library in the ways you already enjoy and trying 2 or more programs, services or items that would be new to you.  Here are some suggestions to help you make a plan.

Resolve to …

  • Attend programs and special events, such as Booked for Lunch; Harry Potter Night; the African American Read-In; Family Time, and more;
  • Borrow book club kits, mobile hotspots, music, seeds, and telescopes;
  • Discover the joy of reading a different genre, author or series with help from “staff picks” displays or conversations with library staff;
  • Download audio books, ebooks and magazines;
  • Learn to use computers, e-readers and more with Tech Help 1-on-1;
  • Participate in library book clubs;
  • Print from library computers and personal mobile devices;
  • Register to vote (or update your registration);
  • Reserve and use meeting rooms;
  • Stream free films;
  • Suggest items for the library to purchase; and
  • Visit a different LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library location.


This is a time of change for the library as well.  Cay Hohmeister, our Director for 8 years, is retired. Things are not the same. We are grateful for Cay’s caring leadership and hard work, and wish her well in her role as “retiree”. I am delighted to begin anew as well, serving as your library director.  With a wonderful community of patrons; dedicated, talented staffs working behind the scenes, behind the service desks and everywhere in-between; new formats of items to borrow; and a wide range of programs and services, our library system is successful in many ways.  We are also poised for an exciting future!

Effective libraries are growing organisms. Meaningful change is central to our success.   The choices we make should always be in concert with these tenets: Public libraries provide – and protect – free access to information, in whatever format it takes; adapt to community needs and interests; use technology intelligently to enhance service; and continue to be a place where everyone is welcome. One of my favorite explanations of this final point comes from Lady Bird Johnson:  “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” 

We are in the final year of our current long range plan of service. It’s rewarding to see 3 years’ worth of goals move to a list of accomplishments!  Still to come in 2019 are the addition of regularly-scheduled virtual reality experiences at all libraries.  Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of the Library, each of our 7 locations is now equipped to meet this goal.  We will also be working on an exciting summer reading program system-wide as well as behind-the-scenes tours and discussions for patrons at the Collins Main Library. 


In the months ahead we’ll work with a wide variety of stakeholders to create the next long-range plan.  But good ideas and keen observations happen all the time!  Please contact me when you have comments, questions or ideas to share. I look forward to hearing from you at  and (850) 606-2665.


Debra Sears

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Upcoming Events

2019 spring seed library

2019 Spring Seed Library Kicks off Saturday February 2!

On Saturday,February 2, at 11 am., the 2019 Spring Seed Library Kickoff Event will be held at the Northeast Branch Library. The County Extension Office will be on hand with demonstrations, instruction, and much more to help you get your spring vegetable garden off on the right foot. This year’s Spring seed selections will be available at all library locations along with displays of gardening materials from our collection. Get your seeds early as they go fast and supplies are limited.


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