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Message from the President of the Friends of Willow Branch Library 

Friends and Neighbors,
I have noticed that there is a quiet movement going on in the Riverside Avondale area. It was noted in the Resident some time ago, where residents are placing quirky, unique neighbor friendly micro home libraries in their front yard. These unique boxes inspire people to walk by these known Free Small Libraries to drop a book off or pick one up. It is an idea that I too have looked into.
They show off the homeowner’s unique style in the type of library they have. Be it a bought and supported library or one that is repurposed or created. This love of books is very heartening in our neighborhood. It is very heartening, this movement of people who love books willing to be caretakers of the printed word. Some small free libraries are festooned with creative art and old license plates. Our own Willow Branch has griffins and sits in the heart of our historic Riverside and Avondale. It is as unique as many of the small libraries popping up in our unique neighborhood.
What these charming small book libraries lack is, a place where students could go after school to get on computers to use the internet when they do not have one at home. One could not without a permit, conduct a public meeting in front of these little libraries. And most do not have free wifi.
Libraries, mainly our beloved Willow Branch have morphed into meeting places for young adults for after school activities, young early reading programs and adults who need internet in order to look for jobs.
I am sorry to say that Willow Branch is still closed. The nearest local Branch is Murray Hill, which have taken on the task of holding books for patrons and taking on the circulation traffic that a missing branch incurs upon the librarians. Several of us from Willow Branch have attended the Murray Hill Annual Meeting. We have enjoyed the camaraderie of the evening’s festivities. All the while thinking that we miss our own branch as it in the process of much needed repair and preservation.
People ask, who are the Friends of Willow Branch Library? We are custodians of a key historic building that has been a community anchor in the Riverside Avondale area for many years. We are the oldest of the Jacksonville Public Library Friends Groups. We are also, advocates for the the librarians, who seek to improve and enhance the experience of many of the patrons who visit our very unique and personable library.
While we wait upon the much anticipated opening, please visit our site as we get updates from the Main Branch which in turn gets its information from City’s Public works. Also, please consider as you trade a book or two with your neighbor to be an advocate for Willow Branch Library. We need more like minded book people who love our historic library.

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