There are few places I love more than the library.
Some of my best memories growing up are at libraries — well, with the exception of one librarian in Massachusetts who told 6-year-old Kristina she couldn’t take out every book in the Berenstain Bears series at one time. I was an ambitious reader. What can I say?
So I was excited to hear the Palm Beach County Library System’s Wellington branch, 1951 Royal Fern Dr., was celebrating its 20th birthday last Friday. The branch opened in 1997, then closed in 2006 for a remodeling and expansion, reopening the following year.
In that time, Palm Beach County’s libraries have expanded their offerings to include dozens of events and more multimedia in addition to books.
“There’s something really for everyone,” Wellington library branch manager Margaret Barry said at Friday’s event. In addition to the traditional story-time events, the library now hosts STEAM activities — standing for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math — for students. “We’re really proud of our offerings,” she added.
Wellington’s library is one of the top three libraries in the county when it comes to circulating children’s materials, Barry said. The branch sits next to Elbridge Gale Elementary School, with students flocking to the library after school each day.
Dozens of students walked to the library on Friday to partake in cupcakes, cookies, cheese and crackers and sign a birthday card as part of the library’s celebration. They grabbed treats and sat at tables to eat before heading into the children’s book area to grab a volume or work on homework.
They were joined by several longtime library volunteers and library patrons who traveled from around the county.
Laura Michaels drove from Delray Beach for Friday’s event. She said she loves Palm Beach County’s libraries — but Wellington’s is special.
“It’s a beautiful library,” she said. “They have some great events.”
Dorise Smith of West Palm Beach said she comes to the Wellington library two or three times a week, even though she lives in Century Village next to the Okeechobee Boulevard branch.
“I just find the vibes here are so much better,” she said. When she was looking for a job a few years ago, Smith was at the Wellington library when she got the call that would lead to her next position as a live-in medical aide. “This is a special place,” she said.
Eddy DaSilva has lived in Wellington for 26 years and used to volunteer at the library. She said she remembers when there was “nothing” along Forest Hill Boulevard in the village.
“This library has brought so much to the community,” she said.