The Johann Fust Community Library has been at the core of the Boca Grande Community for decades, and now, after more than 70 years, the Johann Fust Library Foundation would like to share some of its rich history with the community. In the new year, The Foundation will offer docent-guided tours of the building and grounds once a week.
The 45-minute docent-led tours, accompanied by a tour ambassador, will take guests through the library spaces, sharing anecdotes and historical insights along the way.
Advance registration through the Foundation’s website will be required for the tours, and they will be free of charge.
There will be a general-interest meeting for those interested in becoming docents on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 10:30 a.m. in the library’s loggia and courtyard.
The Foundation seeks volunteers who could commit to taking the 6-session docent course with scheduled training sessions at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, December 13, December 20, January 3, January 10, and January 17. Each training session will be about two hours.
The library was given to the people of Boca Grande and the Charlotte Harbor area by Roger and Louise Amory of Boston, Massachusetts. In 1949, the Amorys pledged 68 shares of stock worth $44,200 and a loan of $10,000 to fund the inception of the Johann Fust Community Library of Boca Grande, Florida, Inc.
That same year, the property on West 10th Street was purchased at an approximate cost of $6,500. The prominent Boston architect Henry Richardson Shepley was selected to design the structure, and the library was constructed by local builders, the Griffin Brothers. The structures included the main library building, which contained an apartment on the second floor for a librarian, plus a garage, a potting shed, a garden and loggia. A modest cottage was built next door to the library for the use of Thomas Cost, the library superintendent, and his wife, Pansy, the librarian. Mr. Amory named the library in honor of Johann Fust, whom he thought deserved prominent recognition as the financier of Johann Gutenberg’s movable type printing press.
The first major book printed using this method – The Gutenberg Bible – marked the beginning of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the age of the printed book as we know it today.
The library opened for business on January 1, 1950 as a nonprofit, privately endowed institution.
The Johann Fust Library has a rich history that is woven into the fabric of Boca Grande, and the Foundation wishes to share these stories with Boca Grande residents and visitors.
If you would like to become a docent or would like to volunteer at upcoming events, please email info@JFLFBG.org or call (941) 964-0211.