2016-06-22 / Outdoors

Five coolest libraries to chill at this summer

EXPLORE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA


The Fort Myers Regional Library invites visitors to read outdoors or play with hula hoops and other games. 
COURTESY PHOTO The Fort Myers Regional Library invites visitors to read outdoors or play with hula hoops and other games. COURTESY PHOTO School’s out and probably the last thing on most kids’ minds is reading. But what if they discovered reading is fun? Parents wouldn’t have to worry about them backsliding during summer vacation, and local libraries would be the chillest places to hang out. The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau suggests five of the coolest libraries around, where you can turn your little ones into summer scholars without breaking a sweat. For more information, see leegov.com/library.

Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First St., Fort Myers, 479-4636

Downtown’s new, two-story library is as inviting on the outside as it is on the inside. Cornog Plaza, currently decorated with oversized iron sculptures from the Allure exhibit, invites library-goers to read outdoors or even play with provided hula hoops and other games. The games continue inside in the Kid Zone and Teen Scene with computer learning games, checkers and chess. Coolest upcoming program: On Wednesday, June 22, at 2 p.m., teens can dress up to play Angry Birds on the plaza.

Talking Books Library, 1651 Lee St., Fort Myers, 995-2665

Near the main downtown library, this one, mandated and supported by the Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress, provides free opportunities for those unable to read print books. The program provides books and magazines for children and adults along with equipment for playing the book cartridges. Coolest part: Patrons can receive their reading materials by postage-free mail.

Sanibel Public Library, 770 Dunlop Rd., Sanibel Island, 472-2483 (sanlib.org)

On an island known for its seashells, it comes as no surprise that one of the Sanibel library’s proudest collections showcases fossil shells found while building the new library a couple of decades ago. Modern and welcoming, the library features a wooden boat, the “S.L. Readmore,” and storybook dollhouse in the Children’s Wing and rocking chairs on the porch outside overlooking the Sanibel River. Coolest summer program: Every Tuesday evening, the library hosts V.I.P. After-Hours for Teens with games, crafts, snacks and a book swap.

Captiva Memorial Library, 11560 Chapin Ln., Captiva Island, 533-4890

Newly remodeled, its most recent addition includes a historical museum designed to look like the ferryboat that once provided transportation from the mainland. Tiny but packed with history, the museum features videos, hands-on exhibits, and photographic displays. Coolest thing to do while visiting: Take a short walk to nearby Chapel By the Sea and its pioneer cemetery, where visitors are more likely to leave seashells than flowers at tombstones.

Johann Fust Community Library, 1020 W. 10th St., Boca Grande, 964-2488

Without a doubt the most beautiful library in Lee County — perhaps in all of Florida — its pink exterior catches the eye as one drives into Boca Grande. Founded in 1950 and renovated a few years ago, it deserves a visit for its gorgeous gardens and interesting architectural detail alone. You will also want to check out its rare book and the Henry Francis DuPont shell collections. Coolest (and fittest) storytelling program: On Wednesday, July 6, at 10:30 a.m., the library hosts “The Race of the Tortoise and the Hare – Fables for a Fit Life” in the Boca Grande Community Center. ¦

— To learn more about cool summer activities along The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, see fortmyers-sanibel.com.

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