An early photograph of the back of the Library circa 1955. The shot is taken from the courtyard outside what is now the Media Library and the Children’s Room (then the Children’s Room was a potting shed and the Media Library was a garage.
Who is Johann Fust and why is the Library named for him? Johann Fust (c. 1400 – October 30, 1466) was an early German printer most famous for loaning Johann Gutenberg the money to print his famous Gutenberg Bible. Printed in 1454, this bible was the first book printed with movable type. Gutenberg later defaulted on his loan, and Fust produced his own series of bibles on the printing presses he reclaimed from Gutenberg. Mr. Amory named the library in honor of Johann Fust, whom he thought deserved recognition as the financier of Johann Gutenberg’s movable type printing press.
You love Boca Grande, but do you know its fascinating history? Dive into a book from the Boca Grande section and go back to a time when the depot sold train tickets instead of ice cream and the bike path was a train track!
Have you read a good book lately? Mention your find to the librarians the next time you’re here and we’ll add it to our “Island Picks” shelf. For many Island residents this shelf is their first stop at the Library and a trusted resource. So if you’re lucky enough to pick up a page-turner, share the wealth with your neighbors!
These beautiful hand-carved wooden Japanese panels were originally mounted on the outside doors to the main book room, where they hung for over 60 years. The doors are based on traditional eighteenth century Japanese decorative door panels designed to conceal storage areas in temples and are from Roger Amory’s collection. During the restoration in 2012, Rustin Levenson, of Art Conservation Associates of Miami and New York, restored the doors to their original grandeur thanks to the generosity of the Woman’s Club. They are now mounted in the entryway for all to enjoy.
Have you noticed these beautiful window gates? The “A”, for Amory, graces the front of the building on the beach side of the building, they other, with Roger Amory’s initials, can be found at the east side of the building. It’s just one of the many details that make the Library special and show the meticulous attention to detail that makes the building stand out.
The Papyrus, the Library’s mobile book lending vessel, sets out to deliver books to neighboring islands. In 1951, the Johann Fust Community Library began library boat service. The boat made trips three times each week, carrying books and library materials to the nearby communities of Bokeelia on Pine Island, Useppa Island, Cabbage Key, Mondongo Island, and Captiva Island. This service ended in 1972.
The Library Garden has many seasons. As one flower fades away, another takes its place to beautify this serene space. This stunning shell ginger bloomed in the Library Garden from early April to mid-May. At the moment, the Library is wonderfully fragrant, as the jasmine is in full bloom. What’s next? Stop in regularly to see what the garden has in store.
Scenes from the original construction of the Library, which began in 1949. It’s hard to believe this barren landscape would turn into the beautiful building we all now enjoy. The library opened its doors on January 1, 1950 and has been in continuous operatation since then.
Do you recognize this pretty face? Until 2002, when she retired, Pansy Cost was the friendly face at the library for over 50 years. Pansy Pauline Polk was born in Wachula, Florida in 1921, and grew up on Boca Grande. After she graduated from high school, she travelled to Birmingham, Alabama where she attended college and met her future husband, Tommy Cost. When Tommy was discharged from the military, the young couple came back to Boca Grande. When Boston banker Roger Amory and his wife, Louise, decided to build a community library, they asked Pansy if she would help manage the operation. Pansy was standing next to the Amorys when the front doors of the Johann Fust Community Library were opened on Jan. 1, 1950.
Heading North? Stop by and pick up one of these stylish new canvas bags before you go. They’re the perfect size for library books, and you’ll be reminded of your favorite Library every time you use it! Available for $20 Monday through Friday, during JF Library Foundation hours (9:30am - 4:00pm).
Roger and Louise Amory and Wyman “Mac” Miller reviewing documents on the steps of the library circa 1950. Mac was briefly groundskeeper at the Library before Tommy Cost took over. He was Bayard Sharp's brother in law, and later opened and ran Millers Marina.