Dear Friends,

I hope 2021 has begun on a positive note for all of you as it has for the Friends. We welcomed a new board member, Brenda Townsend, last month. Some of you may know Brenda from the Friends bookstore and now we on the Friends board look forward to working with her on future programs.

The Friends are looking into ways to broaden our outreach in the community this year and we need your help. It has become increasingly important to communicate with our members via email. Having the correct contact information is vital for the programs that we would like to present now and in the future. While reviewing our membership lists, we have found that many of our members’ email addresses are either incorrect or missing.
I am asking all members to update their contact information by sending us an email with your full name in the subject line. You can email us at info@friendspg.org.

We have postponed our Literary Luncheon until it is safe to hold this type of gathering again, but we are in contact with literary agents in order to keep up with changes in author engagements and to present another program as soon as possible.

Charlotte County’s centennial is in full swing with many events scheduled throughout the year including one at the Punta Gorda library; we invite you to listen to the Stories of Charlotte County on March 20th. Read more about this storytelling program in this issue. Remember to explore the centennial website, CharlotteCounty100.com, and Facebook page for current information and upcoming events.

Friends always,


The Friends Bookstore remains closed. The bookstore will reopen when it is safe for both the volunteers and the patrons to work and shop in the confined space. The Friends Board has always appreciated the support the community has given us through their purchases in the bookstore as well as their donations of books in new and nearly new condition. We look forward to welcoming you back to the bookstore in the near future. Thank you for your understanding, interest and support.


In 1967, the late Vernon Peeples chaired a meeting to propose a Friends of the Library Group. The meeting was held at the old Punta Gorda Library that was located at the corner of Retta Esplanade and Cross Street.

Kenton Haymans, local attorney with Farr, Farr, Haymans, Moseley and Odom, was chosen by acclamation as the temporary chair to form a Friends of the Library group. Included in the meeting were the Punta Gorda Librarian, two Charlotte County Commissioners and the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Punta Gorda. In 1967, the Friends of the Punta Gorda Library was given unofficial auxiliary status with the intention of being used to “promote the library and to bring it before the community in the most favorable light and to aid the library in funding for books and other items and perform other unofficial acts on behalf of the library.”

When the library moved from the small, cramped quarters downtown, to the building on Henry in 1974, the Friends were there helping. They donated the flag pole and were honored at a dedication ceremony.

In 1977, under the leadership of Chairman U. S. Cleveland, Vice-Chairman Robert Wilford, Secretary Deanna Patterson and Treasurer Robert Eliott, an application for incorporation was made to the State of Florida. On August 9, 1977, the Certificate of Incorporation as a non-profit under Florida Statues was issued to the “Friends Library of Punta Gorda, Inc.” making the group no longer an unofficial auxiliary group, but a bonafide non-profit giving the group the standing and recognition it deserved.

In 1999, the Friends bookstore started as just a small shelf in the Henry Street location and it eventually grew to the full store that is staffed 100 percent by volunteers. In 2016, at the first public planning meeting for what would become the new library hosted by the architect and the county, the overwhelming consensus of the public was that the Friends bookstore needed to be included and it needed to be bigger. Both wishes were granted and the space at the library on Shreve is beautiful and a reminder that the community appreciates the hard work and dedication of the Friends.

The Friends raise money through events like the literary luncheon that brings in world class, best-selling authors. They collect membership dues from the thousands of Punta Gorda residents who became Friends. There have also been several generous legacy gifts that help fund the Friends’ mission. Through these fundraising efforts, the Friends have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the library for everything from youth and adult programming to landscaping and equipment and furniture in the Mary Knowlton Teen Room. If one were to consider the time spent by the thousands of volunteers over the years would be well into the millions of dollars if those hours had been paid.

The Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library have been actively helping the community grow for over half a century and they plan to stay involved for years to come. Their impact on the library in particular and on the community as a whole is immeasurable. As long as there is a library in Punta Gorda, the Friends will be there, helping to make sure, they can be the center of the community.


Cecil Castellucci

Visit by Tony Farina, Friends Director

In the fall of 2021, the Friends, with the gracious support of the Shively Foundation, will once again bring an author to speak to and inspire the students at Punta Gorda Middle School. This year, we have invited the New York Times bestselling young adult novelist, punk rocker, and comic book legend, Cecil Castellucci.

Her latest graphic novel from Little Brown, The Plain Janes features four young women, all of whom have a version or spelling of Jane in their names, who band together to use art to help each of them through some difficult times. The book focuses the value of art in all forms be it visual art, music, writing, or works of creative science and engineering.

In addition to a hugely successful run on Batgirl at DC Comics, she has a touching graphic memoir called Girl on Film which “follows a passionate aspiring artist from the youngest age through adulthood to examine the arduous pursuit of making art, while exploring the act of memory and how it reshapes what we think we truly know about ourselves.”

Castellucci was the songwriter and singer in the 90’s Indie Punk band Nerdy Girl, and was honored twice as a MacDowell Fellow. According to their website, “MacDowell is the nation’s leading artist residency program. MacDowell nurtures the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination.”

As we get closer to her appearance, the BOOKMARK will feature an excerpt from an interview I conducted with her last year. Until then, if you want to know more about the talented speaker please visit https://www.cecilcastellucci.com/. It would be even better if you decided to check out some of her work from the library. There are plenty of options both in the physical collection and the digital one.

Annual Membership

Due to the extraordinary times we are in, the Friends board made the decision to waive the 2021 annual membership dues as well as business patrons membership dues. The annual membership year runs from January through the end of December. We will keep our 2020 membership lists in place and all of you who are currently members will continue as members in good standing in 2021. We appreciate your support. Donations are still accepted and appreciated.

Checks can be mailed to:
Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library
401 Shreve St.
Punta Gorda FL 33950

Amazon Smile

The Punta Gorda Friends of the Library can receive a small percentage of your purchases from Amazon through Amazon Smile. Participation in this program does not add anything to your bill; Amazon will just donate 0.5% of your purchases to the Friends. To participate, simply go to http://smile.amazon.com/ and make your purchases as usual. You will even be able to see how much of your purchases have been


Love Ya, Nancy: In Memoriam—Nancy Vuic

By Joy Dibble, Bookstore Volunteer

Nancy Vuic was a very special lady- a “steel magnolia” as described by her family and close friends. Nancy’s keen
wit and delightful sense of humor made her dear to all who came into contact with her and received the benefit of
the twinkle in her eyes.

I was fortunate to become not only her fellow educator but her friend during the 30 years Nancy was a librarian at
Charlotte High School and Port Charlotte Junior High. Following her career with the school system, Nancy continued
sharing her passion for books as a volunteer at several local libraries. One of those libraries was the Punta Gorda
Library where Nancy served as the first Friends Bookstore Manager. In 1999, my path crossed again with Nancy’s
at the Friends Bookstore on Henry Street. One morning, I stopped by the bookstore and after purchasing my
books, Nancy commented as I almost lived at the library I should volunteer at the Bookstore. Thus, my friendship
continued with Nancy and my bookstore volunteer career began!

Then, 15 years ago, I called Nancy about joining a Book Club as a way of sharing our mutual love of books and
keeping in touch with friends. We called it Cook ‘n Book as we took turns hosting the meeting at our homes and
serving dinner ahead of the book discussion. Despite her hesitation to commit to cooking, Nancy joined and generously
shared her literary insights and her culinary skills! So, in the spirit of Nancy’s caring nature, I will close this
memorial to my friend who was a devoted wife, mother, sister and friend to our community by sharing the last recipe
I received from Nancy which she signed, “Love ya, Nancy.”

Cherry Trifle

1 small Sara Lee pound cake, cut in small squares (diced)
1 large instant vanilla pudding (follow directions on box)
1 large crushed, drained pineapple
1 large cherry pie filling
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts- pecans or walnuts
1 large, 3 cups Cool Whip

Begin with the pound cake, using one half and continue with each ingredient until all is used. Then continue a second
time using the other half ending with the Cool Whip.

Nancy added this note:” I used a Trifle bowl but last time I used a regular round bowl and was just as good! Ha Just
looks prettier in the footed bowl.”

Book Review

The Evening and the Morning—Ken Follett

By Hank Bauman, Friends Director

This novel is the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth and the fourth novel in the Kingsbridge series. The setting is in England at the end of the 9th Century and at the close of the Dark Ages, which were not dark but the transition period between the end of Roman rule and the creation of the nation-state in Europe. At this time, England is a loosely organized entity pressured by incursions on its eastern borders by Viking invasions and by Welsh marauders on its western borders. It is governed by a king more respected for his title than for his authority; where the king’s authority is tolerated but not followed, and where the English people suffer from the autocratic dominance of local lords and bishops.

The novel is the lengthy story of three characters whose lives become intertwined. The central character is a young and ingenious boat builder and stone mason whose home and first love is lost by a Viking raid on his village. He is befriended by a monk whose ambition is to convert his abbey into major center of learning, and by a Norman noblewoman who finds English law and tradition far different from the ways of the French and where her husband’s family is constantly engaged in plots to enhance their power. The plot narrates the struggles of these three protagonists, either in collaboration or alone, to frustrate, and sometimes overcome, the plots and goals of the noblewoman’s brother-in-law, the local bishop.

Ken Follett is a master story teller and his prose is clear, descriptive and readable. He captures and entertains the reader with each episode of triumph and failure, of each success and ruin, of hope and disappointment, and of love lost and love achieved. While the book is well-written, it is about 400 pages too long. After the 500th page, the story line becomes foreseeable, repetitious, and boring.

For me, an avid Ken Follett reader, the book was enjoyable but a lengthy read. Consider this book for a vacation read, or maybe when your not-so-favorite relatives from up north come to visit.

Stories of Charlotte County

by Neil Durrant, Librarian

On March 20th, the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library will host Stories of Charlotte County as part of the Charlotte County Libraries and History celebration of our Centennial. Our purpose is not just to celebrate this place, but also to celebrate the people who make up our community. We are talking to a wide variety of people from all walks of life, listening to their stories and experiences living here.

We are recording interviews that will be available on our YouTube channel and we are planning on hosting a socially-distanced outdoor live event where we will have people share their stories.

If you are interested in sharing your story please contact us at neil.durrant@charlottecountyfl.gov or elizabeth.lee@charlottecountyfl.gov , or call us at 941-833-5460.

Centennial Memories…This is OUR Charlotte!

Charlotte County Community Services is presenting a Charlotte County memorabilia display on Saturday, May 15th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center.

This is a free event in which community members can register for a table to display their memorabilia. There are no sales allowed. Additionally, entertainers and performers can sign up for a 30-minute time slot to perform.

Registration ends April 23 and space is limited.
Exhibitor Registration: https://bit.ly/3i1aOeM
Performer Registration: https://bit.ly/2KOXpub
Contact Tracy.Herman@CharlotteCountyFL.gov or Marc.Solomon@CharlotteCountyFL.gov for questions or more information.

Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library Centennial Partner

The following are some events going on this month: Visit the Centennial website (CharlotteCounty100.com) for details and more information.

  • 3/10/21 History Spotlight Introduction to George Brown, influential local businessman
  • 3/18/21 Agricultural Tour Visit agricultural sites of interest
  • 3/20/21 All That Jazz Celebration at the Military Heritage Museum
  • 3/20/21 Stories of Charlotte County Storytelling event and artwork display at the Punta Gorda Library
  • 3/27/21 A Garden Extravaganza Plant, yard art and craft sale at the Port Charlotte Beach Park sponsored by the Port Charlotte Garden Club

Update your contact information

Send us an email with your full name in the subject line to: info@friendspg.org so that we may keep you updated with news and upcoming programs.

Thank you!

Friends of the Library Business Patrons

Share this information with your business friends and encourage them to become a Friends Business Patron.

Amberg Insurance Center
Andreae Group at ReMax Harbor Realty
Animal Medical Clinic of Punta Gorda
Avant Construction, Inc.
Bayfront Health Punta Gorda/Pt. Charlotte
Bohall’s Total Comfort, Inc.
C&R Graphics
Chapman Insurance Group
Charlotte State Bank & Trust
Comfort Keepers of Port Charlotte
Copperfish Books
Don Gasgarth’s Charlotte County Ford
Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr & Holmes, P.A.
Florida Cancer Specialists
F.M. Don’s
Friendly Floors
GFWC – Punta Gorda Woman’s Club, Inc.
Gould Family Trust
Graddy Insurance Group
Gulf Island Sails, LLC
Hometown Title & Closing Services
Isles Yacht Club
Jeffrey Joffe, DMD, P.A.
Jim Koinis, Edward Jones Investments
Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute
Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management
McCrory Law Firm
Mike Martin Agency-State Farm Ins. Punta Gorda
Nix & Associates Real Estate LLC
Nolan Family Insurance
Olsen, Lynch & Wright, CPAs, P.A.
Phil’s 41 Restaurant
Pineapple Storage
Presley Beane Financial Services
Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce
Punta Gorda Downtown Merchants Assoc.
Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association
Punta Gorda Symphony
Rivera Professional Plaza
Sanchez, George DMD
SandStar Homes, LLC/SandStar Remodeling
Towles Corp. of SW Florida
Twin Isles Country Club
Village Fish Market & Restaurant
Webb, Lorah & McMillan, PLLC