The Pinellas Park Public Library will be renamed to honor Barbara Ponce, the library and recreation divisions longtime administrator who died last summer.
PINELLAS PARK – On June 6, the city of Pinellas Park will celebrate the rededication of its recently renamed Barbara S. Ponce Public Library, formerly the Pinellas Park Public Library.
The rededication honors the service of its past longtime director, Barbara S. Ponce, who served the city for nearly 31 years. Her influence can be seen in many city buildings, but most notably at the library, which was renovated and expanded in 2001 under her leadership.
Ponce joined the city in 1978 as an administrative clerk, and was promoted to the position of assistant library director five years later. She took the library’s helm in 1985 as director, and was later promoted to the position of community activities administrator, overseeing the Parks and Recreation and the Media and Public Events Divisions as well as the library.
During her career, she also served periodically as an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida’s School of Library and Information Science, and was appointed to the State of Florida’s Advisory Council on Libraries from 1994 to 1997.
In addition to the library expansion, Ponce led the construction of the Broderick Recreation Center, the development of the Equestrian Center at Helen Howarth Park and the installation of the city’s first dog park at Freedom Lake Park.
After her retirement in 2008, she joined the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative’s Board of Directors, where she continued to advocate for libraries and their services.
Ponce passed away in June 2013, but her work ethic, positive attitude, creative flair and love of libraries left a permanent imprint on the community.
“The outpouring of memories from both staff and patrons was overwhelming,” said current Library Director Angela Pietras. “Barbara Ponce is somewhat of a legend in local library history. She was able to predict and envision future library needs and she laid the groundwork for many services that remain vital today, both here in Pinellas Park and throughout the county, with the enhanced services that are made possible through the combined efforts of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative.”
The Pinellas Park City Council unanimously approved the renaming of the Pinellas Park Public Library on Dec. 12, 2013. The Barbara S. Ponce Public Library will make its formal debut on Friday, June 6, with the unveiling of new building signage and a reception from 10 a.m. to noon in the library’s meeting room. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m., and a tour of the library will be offered at 11:30 a.m. to showcase the facility and its continually expanding resources.