Library groundbreaking has Venice looking to the future

Retired professor creates $1 million endowment for new building.

VENICE — William H. Jervey Jr. has long had a passion for the history of Venice — Monday morning, his name became formally intertwined with one of the city’s most vibrant crossroads, at the groundbreaking of the new William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library.

Jervey, a retired University of Central Florida professor who first visited Venice as a boy in the ’50s but has called it home since 2009, committed $1 million to create an endowment for the new library.

“Today we’re kicking off what I hope will be a great adventure — for the next year, it’s going to be fun just watching this thing go up — my endowment hopefully be joined by others in the future and the pot will get bigger and bigger as time goes on, and it’s the income from that that will give us the wherewithal hopefully to keep our library constantly evolving,” Jervey said.

Jervey was a frequent patron of the old Venice Library, which was closed by Sarasota County after 51 years of service because of persistent mold issues. The original library was built in 1965 as an 8,000-square-foot structure by a group that included “Black Stallion” author Walter Farley. It was expanded several times. Mold was first identified there in 2010.

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