Temporary library opens in Venice

VENICE — Avid theater-goers or aficionados of the island-side spur of the Venetian Waterway Park may have a leg up when it comes to finding their way to the temporary Venice Public Library, which opens 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Hamilton Building, 260 N. Nokomis Ave., Venice.

Now, the only way someone can drive to the library is through the northern entrance of a parking lot owned jointly by the Venice Theatre and the City of Venice.

After turning into the parking lot, follow the arrows painted on the pavement as they point east, then curve north to the parking lot shared by the library and the Venice Area Beautification Inc.

The Speakeasy-like access was a necessity back in the early 2000s, when the Florida Department of Transportation replaced the Hatchett Creek Bridge (now KMI Bridge) and cut off U.S. 41 Business access for the former Venice Area Chamber of Commerce building, ABC Liquors, and Hamilton office condominium complex.

The City soon acquired the ABC building and former chamber building from DOT, but the Hamilton complex remained in private ownership until August 2015, when it was purchased for $915,000.

Sarasota County — which closed the 51-year-old Venice library in February because of persistent mold issues — agreed in March on a three-year lease, so the Venice Public Library could remain on the island of Venice.

The 9,000-square-foot building should hold 30,000 to 35,000 items. It has a separate children’s reading area and computer-access area in the south part of the library, separated from the adult area by the library stacks and adult computer area. The adult reading and magazine shelves are in the north part of the building, adjacent to the library office area.

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