By Rusty Bradshaw
Residents will have a chance to help celebrate a milestone in Sun City library history.
Sun City residents and library staff will celebrate the 10th year the community’s two libraries have been under the operation of the Maricopa County Library District. Special activities are scheduled 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12 at the Sun City branch, 16828 N. 99th Avenue.
The August celebration will be for the Sun City branch only, Brianna King, Sun City library director, said. Because the Fairway branch, 10600 W. Peoria Ave., did not open at the same time as the Sun City facility at Bell Recreation Center, 16820 N. 99th Ave., due to the Fairway center rebuild, a separate celebration for that facility will be conducted next year.
During the celebration, the Friends of the Sun City Libraries will host a table of refreshments all day. At the table they’ll also have some information on the library’s history as well as the Friends’ history. There will also be a prize wheel that customers can spin if they show their library checkout receipt for 10 or more items that day.
Musical performances have been scheduled. The Sun City Ukulele Club will entertain at 10 a.m. and Sylvain Paslier will perform on his handpans at 2 p.m., according to Ms. King.
The Friends also booked a face painter and will have a large happy anniversary banner available to be signed by guests, according to Marcia Davis, Friends of the Sun City Libraries board president.
Mary Anne McDonald, who was library board president when the switch to the county was requested and then accomplished, agreed the move was good for both Sun City libraries.
“It was hard at first because people didn’t think there were enough books,” she said. “But it really did provide them with so much more, with the interlibrary loan.”
The facilities have also been updated since then, in infrastructure, equipment and offerings, she added.
Sun City library officials approached Maricopa County Library District officials in September 2008 about taking over operation of the community’s two libraries. Mary Goitia, then Sun City Library manager, said the request was made because revenues were steadily shrinking, making it difficult to keep up with expenses. Prior to the county takeover, the two Sun City libraries relied on donated funds to fund operations.
The Sun City branch at Bell Recreation Center had a soft opening Aug. 6, 2009 then a full opening to all patrons Aug. 10, 2009. That followed a two-week delay from the planned opening.
Prior to the county district takeover, the Sun City libraries were operated by a group called Sun City Library, Inc. with support from Friends of the Library. As negotiations for the switch to county operation began, the two entities merged to become Friends of the Sun City Libraries. The combined group continued in a support role and remains active today.