Libraries offer cool retreat, fun programs

Special to GO — Beat the summer heat while enjoying programs and services at area libraries. Libraries provide information and reference services while also meeting informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of citizens.

Okeechobee County

Some think of libraries as a quiet, dank spot filled with dusty books, but if you have never been to the Okeechobee County Public Library, you certainly are in for a surprise. The moment you enter, the staff is pleasant and helpful.

The building has a light and airy feel. In the summer, there is a flurry of activity with adults at banks of public use computers, patrons exploring the permanent Gordie Peer cowboy display, and others enjoying a good book while seated on a comfortable couch.

The best sight though is the children’s area where there are kids reading or using their own set of computers to play educational games and look up books. Some of these kids can operate computers better than most adults!

The Okeechobee Public Library also provides rooms available by reservation for nonprofit groups. One of these rooms is regularly used by parents who opt to home school their children. Each month they meet with their children at the library to share educational experiences and offer a connection for children to interact with others receiving their education at home.

Okeechobee County Library

A local writers’ group meets at the library each Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m.

A crochet group meets on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Don’t crochet? No problem, they would love to teach you. Many of the participants make layettes for local nonprofit organizations.

If you desire to quit smoking and are looking for help, smoking cessation classes are offered each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

In the fall, when school resumes, there is also story time on Wednesdays. For those in preschool, the time is 10:30 a.m. and each week they read two stories and then work together to complete a craft project. Later in the afternoon, children up to age eight are invited to story time at 3:30 p.m. for similar programming.

There is also the opportunity to join a book club which meets on the last Thursday of the month, with staff posting the Book of the Month in its large informational board as you enter the library. Nonprofit organizations are encourage to provide information on the board as well.

One room at the Okeechobee Library was more recently converted to a book nook, where those who wish to contribute to the library are able to purchase books out of circulation, or other books which have been donated to the library. The rates are very reasonable: $2 per bag or $5 per box. It is truly a booklover’s paradise to explore!

Libraries in Okeechobee, Glades County and Lake Placid are all a part of the Heartland Library Cooperative. This cooperative encompasses five rural counties, with seven partner libraries. By participating as a cooperative, libraries can enhance the quality and quantity of materials available to all of the libraries, using shared technology, resources and a cooperative collection development.

The great part of being a cooperative is that patrons are able to search for products at any of the participating libraries and borrow them through inter-library loan. It’s like having seven libraries in one!

In Okeechobee County, the public library is located at 206 S.W. 16th St. and can be reached at 863-763-3536.

Hours of operation are: Sunday and Monday: closed; Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Moore Haven

The Glades County Public Library, 201 Riverside Dr. in Moore Haven can be reached at 863-946-0744. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. The library is closed on Saturday and Sunday. The Glades County Public Library hosts story time for preschool aged children, each Tuesday from 10 until 11 a.m. when school is in session. On Thursdays, from 10 until 11 a.m. they host Crochet Fun.

Avon Park

The Avon Park Public Library, located at 100 N. Museum Ave., offers kid’s movies every Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and a matinee at 2 p.m. To find out what movie is playing each week, please call 863-452-3803. For more information about the library, visit

The hours of operation for the Avon Park Public Library are Sunday and Monday: closed; Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


The Sebring Public Library is located at 319 W. Center Ave and can be reached at 863-402-6716. They offer an Adult Coloring Group every Friday at 10 a.m., and for the kids, they offer Tyke Tales at 11:30 a.m. every Wednesday.

The deadline for registration for the summer reading program is June 6. On July 6, the library will be hosting Legacy Bicycles Presents Bike Safety.

Hours of operation for the library are: Sunday and Monday: closed; Tuesday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Lake Placid

The Lake Placid Library, 205 W. Interlake Blvd, Lake Placid, FL 33852, can be reached at 863-699-3705.

Hours of operation are: Sunday and Monday, closed; Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday – Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The library in Lake Placid will host a family movie day each Saturday in August at 2 p.m. Thy also offer Storytime every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Find out more about the Heartland Library Cooperative online at:

Hendry County

The Hendry County Library Cooperative is comprised of three libraries, and partner with the Southwest Florida Library Network, enabling patrons the opportunities to borrow among a network of libraries in Southwest Florida.

Each library has a collection of books, magazines, audio books, videos and DVDs available for check out. Additionally, there are reference materials, games, puzzles, computer work stations, quiet rooms and more. Internet is available free of charge.

Hendry County Public Libraries include:
• Clewiston Public Library, 120 W. Osceola Ave., Clewiston, 863-983-1493;
• Harlem Community Public Library, 1010 J Harlem Academy Ave., Clewiston, 863-902-3322; and,
• Barron Library, 461 N. Main St., LaBelle, 863-675-0833.

Hours of Operation for all Hendry County libraries are: Monday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday – Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and, Sunday closed.

The Clewiston Library will offer Summer School classes for grades 2-5 every Monday-Thursday at 9 a.m. for the month of June and the first week of July.

The Barron Branch hosts a weekly preschool story time each Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. The library will host a Book Club on Monday, June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. Access the Hendry County library system’s calendar of activities at:
Belle Glade

The Belle Glade Public Library, 725 N.W. Fourth St., in Belle Glade, can be reached at 561-996-3453. Hours of operation are: Monday – Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday closed.

Children’s programs are held throughout the year. Public access computers for adults, teens and children are available as well as meeting rooms. The library holds a large collection of African American fiction, a Florida and mystery collection, and a growing Spanish collection. Find out more about this library at:

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