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West Side Library

The years from 1991 to 1997 witnessed an explosive growth in the Library's audio books and large print titles. Deposit collections of the large print books have been established in several local nursing homes and adult congregate living facilities.

The children's puppet shows and story times continue to be popular; some have even been video taped and shown on local cable TV. Numerous young adults have fulfilled their community service hour requirements by volunteering at the library as tutors, artists, puppeteers, etc.

A community development block grant was secured in 1995 to purchase equipment, which translates written material into either speech or Braille. More community development block grant money became available in 1997 allowing the library to furnish and equip a Life Long Learning Center, wherein patrons may pursue such personal goals as a GED (General Equivalency Diploma), English as a second language, etc. As time moved on computers became an integral part of community libraries and in 1999 grant money was obtained for 6 computer workstations in the library.

On February 1, 2002, Miss Gloria Zavish retired as Director of the E. May Avil Library. At the same time Ilene Zaleski replaced her Director of Library. Ilene Zaleski had been the Assistant Director for 18 years having been hired in 1984.

In the last year "Friends of the Library," a Community Foundation and the North Dade Medical Foundation have made grants for the purchase of computers to aid children in computer literacy. The "Friends of the Library" are also due a special thanks for the mural that was unveiled an February 12, 2003 in the Children's Room entitled "Once upon a Time."

Now we are at the 50th Anniversary of the E. May Avil Library, the celebration will be on the May 24h, 2003. There will be games, refreshments, door prizes, and a mini-book sale. It will be a fun time for all who come to the celebration. Bands will entertain the crowd and foods from around the world will be on the table.

There is more to the library than just the books and computers and its history. It has been the gathering place for many community activities both social and political. The "We the People" activities on July 4, 1987 during the celebration for 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution, is an excellent example of the social and patriotic gathering that has involved the library.

The North Miami Bicentennial Committee wanted to do something that would have a lasting effect on the community and so they came with an idea that would transform the front entrance feature of the library into what was defined as the Constitutional Plaza. It would be a permanent feature that would stand against the vicissitudes of nature, not just a flag or weekend ornamentation. Thirteen circular bronze plaques representing the "Thirteen Original Colonies" were placed in the entrance walkway. Also in the walkway were personal or signature tiles with the names of people and organization who had purchased the tiles, thus supporting the library financially and leaving their personal tile as a reference to their presence in the community in 1987, the 200th year of our nation's history. Next time you are at the library take a look down as you enter and see who was around in 1987.

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