On April 24, 2014 the Society for Advancement of Poynter Library (SAPL) held its annual reception from 4:30-6:00 in the Poynter Corner of the Library. The Society was established in 1984 with the “primary function the providing of direct financial aid to the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg … for the purchase of books, periodicals, library equipment and furnishings for use in the Library, capital improvements, [and] program support.” Over the years, the generous support of SAPL members has helped the library obtain books, furniture and equipment, and has occasionally subsidized specialized training and workshops for library staff when other funds were not available. SAPL donates funds for the yearly purchase of notable new fiction for the Poynter Library collection and contributes as well to the library’s Special Collections. SAPL also serves as an advocate for the library with the broader community.
The featured speaker was local historian and Special Collections Librarian, Jim Schnur, who regaled the group with a whirlwind presentation of “Memories of St Petersburg through Time.” His presentation and the 200 historical and current images he selected told the story of the development of St. Petersburg from the earliest days, through the troubled Jim Crow days, to today’s strong economic and cultural development.
Jim discussed his upcoming book, the proceeds of which are designated entirely to support the Poynter Library’s digital collections fund. (To see the Library’s current digital collections, visit the USFSP Digital Archive at http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/ ) While Jim entertained and educated the audience about the treasures in our Special Collections, I ended the evening by observing that the real treasure of the Library was Jim and his passion for history, archives, and helping USFSP students grow and succeed.
The audience – which included members of the family of library namesake Nelson Poynter – was enthralled and asked Jim if he was going to teach a class on local history. The Library has considered offering more such events but must rely on the contributions of donors to make this possible.
Anyone who would like to help the library in its mission to serve the students of USFSP is encouraged to visit the Library’s fundraising pages maintained by the USF Foundation at https://usfweb2.usf.edu/foundation/asp/ssl/adfdn/funds.asp?group=PL