An Evening With Bruce Stephenson – Monday, November 16, 2105

Join us for the next event in our Centennial Year author series, An Evening With…Bruce Stephenson, PhD, Professor of Environmental Studies at Rollins College. The event is held on the second floor of the Mirror Lake Library, 280 5th Street N, St. Petersburg. Seating will be available at 5 p.m., with the talk starting at 5:30 p.m.

Bruce Stephenson has worked as a public planner, consultant, and professor. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of regional planning, environmental protection, and urbanism. He has written three books, over forty editorials, and published articles in a range of professional journals.

Stephenson will be discussing his new book, “John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City Planner,” which informed his consultancy for the Winter Park SunRail Station and the Genius Preserve and earned the 1000 Friends of Florida Community Betterment Award.

book cover

Stephenson is best known locally for his book “Visions of Eden: Environmentalism, Urban Planning, and City Building in St. Petersburg, Florida, 1900-1995.” Since the turn of the century, the opportunity to design a city nestled in a subtropical garden has attracted the nation’s preeminent planners to St. Petersburg. The most ambitious plan was developed in 1923 by John Nolen, who believed that an interconnected system of preserves and parks would enhance the city’s development and attract tourists for generations. His initiative failed miserably at the polls, however, because it threatened the conflicting notion of paradise held by hundreds of investors, who were profiting from the greatest real estate boom in the nation’s history and feared that planning would curtail speculation. As Stephenson points out, a half century would pass until a series of ecological disasters in the 1970s finally compelled city officials to adopt an environmentally sound development plan that reflected Nolen’s original vision. Stephenson carefully explores St. Petersburg’s slow awakening to ecological responsibility – to the importance of designing a community that meets both human needs and economic demands. As the debate over the “New Urbanism” moves forward, this book will serve as a useful guide for those who will plan, build, and inhabit the cities of the twenty-first century.

visions of eden

Stephenson is a scholar for the Florida Humanities Council, contributing to its “Imagining a New Florida” documentary series. He is also the Principal Investigator for an EPA Sustainability Curriculum Grant, Sustainable Enterprise: Activating SunRail in Winter Park, Florida. The research team of Rollins instructors and students completed is informing projects to improve bicycle and pedestrian mobility in Orlando and Winter Park.

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Help us celebrate 100 Years of Library Service
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ~ 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
100th Anniversary of the Grand Opening Dedication of St. Petersburg’s Mirror Lake Community Library
280 Fifth Street North  ~  St. Petersburg, Florida

hosted by the St. Petersburg Library System and the City of St. Petersburg


Interest in providing reading material for the citizens of St. Petersburg began in 1899, when a group of volunteers opened a reading room on Central Avenue. A campaign to secure a Carnegie library grant began in 1908, but those leading the effort were unable to secure a sufficient donation until St. Petersburg Times owner W. L. Straub met personally with Carnegie officers late in 1913 and convinced them to offer a grant of $17,500.

The construction tract was awarded to W. C. Henry, and the cornerstone was laid on Dec. 19, 1914. The library opened on December 1, 1915 with 2,600 volumes. By 1947 the library’s collection had grown to 45,000 volumes, and the library was expanded with a new wing in 1951.

New libraries were added around the city in the years that followed, and the library at Mirror Lake was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on June 13, 1986. It had fallen into disrepair by this time, and the city began work to restore and expand the library. The restored library opened in May of 1997.

The Mirror Lake Community Library’s original building was designed by Henry Whitfield in the Beaux Arts architectural style, and the additions in 1951 and 1997 were designed in the same style.  Of 14 total Carnegie libraries built in Florida from 1901 to 1917, Mirror Lake is one of only two still operating as a library.

Information provided by Linda C. Kinsey, APR, Information Specialist, Marketing, City of St. Petersburg 

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■ An Evening With Bruce Stephenson is Monday, November 16. He will be talking about his new book, a biography of John Nolan, landscape architect and city planner. Seating is available at 5 p.m., and the lecture starts at 5:30 p.m. The event is run by the Friends with community partner Keep St. Pete Lit.

■ The St. Petersburg Library System is holding a party to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Grand Opening Dedication of St. Petersburg’s Mirror Lake Community Library. It will be held Tuesday, December 1, 2015, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

■ The Friends will present a “Pioneer” Panel on Saturday, December 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. The panel will be composed of long-time residents of St. Petersburg who will share their memories of the Mirror Lake Library. A short reception will follow.

■ As part of First Night on December 31, the St. Petersburg Library System will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic Mirror Lake Community Library and 100 years of service to the residents and visitors of St. Petersburg. In carnival-style fun, the library will feature games, crafts, giveaways, exhibits, presentations, performers and more, from 4 to 9 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the Friends will help everyone make a candlelit boat and light up Mirror Lake with 500 boats.

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Bruce Stephenson – Monday, November 16, 2105

postcard front

postcard back

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An Evening With Jonathan Kile

Jon Kile spoke about his life, his writing process, and his book THE GRANDFATHER CLOCK.  He also opened our eyes regarding the business of self-publishing.  Formerly known as vanity publishing, it is now known as indie publishing, is immeasurably easier today than in the past, and has lost most of its stigma.  The internet is a resource for publishing information, writing support groups, cover design contests, and countless other resources.  No longer does a writer have to order and then try to sell a garage full of boxes of books;  nowadays, the books are printed on demand and delivered in a few days.  Amazon’s financial arrangements have made publishing both paper and electronic potentially profitable for even modestly successful writers, especially those who can write in quantity.

Two huge success stories for indie publishing were 50 SHADES OF GRAY and its sequels by E.L. James and The MARTIAN by Andy Weir.  Both books were made into mainstream Hollywood movies.  If they can do it, so can Jon Kile, and so can you.

Read a lot more on these subjects at Jon’s blog:

Here are some photos of Jon’s talk at our beautiful Mirror Lake library.  He does look a little like Ben Affleck, doesn’t he?




Friends President Wayne Finley presents a mug with the event poster art to Joanthan Kile


from St. Petersburg to Patagonia

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Friends President Receives City Award

Congratulations to Friends of Mirror Lake Library President Wayne Finley for receiving a City of St. Petersburg 2015 Leisure Services Outstanding Volunteer Award on October 5. A letter from Mika Slaughter Nelson, the Director of the St. Petersburg Library system, includes this: “As President of the Friends of the Library, you have continuously championed library advocacy and fundraising. Your leadership has also yielded great programs, which have involved the community in both literary and visual arts.” Wayne is pictured here with Mirror Lake Community Library Coordinator Sandy Allen.

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Meeting minutes for September 2, 2015

The September 2, 2015 meeting of Friends of Mirror Lake Library (FMLL) was called to order by President Finley at 6:10 PM. A quorum was in attendance.

Approval of the August minutes was passed unanimously. The treasurers’ report was given by Monika Finley and approved by the board. We had a total cash balance for both of our accounts combined, of $2,218.12. We had a discrepancy of $37 that will be adjusted by Monika and Linda Branson. It was also noted that our $500 contribution to the summer program was not yet debited from our account.

Our October event will be held on October 5th. Maureen McDole will be responsible for obtaining the speaker. Maureen’s vibrant group “Keep St Pete Lit” will be joining us, to combine our efforts to promote authors and the library. Maureen’s group also agreed to take over obtaining speakers in the future, with Barbara’s guidance. Barbara suggested we notify the “Times” of our partnership.

Wayne will contact Nevin Sitler for our November author event.

We will solidify our December “Pioneer” program and exactly what we will do for FIRST NIGHT.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Sagese
Secretary, FMLL

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