His choice to wear a formal dress shirt and a tie is, first of all, so far from his easy-going, down-to-earth manner. He sees it as symbolic. It is a way to emphasize to all of us in Boca Grande that the Fust Library is keeping the beloved traditions of the past, while bringing in the necessary modern technological advances of Lee County Library Systems.
Toni Vanover and Mary Vickers are employees of Lee County and will be responsible for all the library services that will move from the Reference Room at the Community Center to the Fust Library. Jon will be responsible to the board of directors of the Fust Foundation.
Once the renovation is finished — the target date is late spring of 2013 — Jon’s job will be to oversee everything at the library that pertains to the building and grounds and events, including annual fund-raising. You can bet he will not have on a tie every day.
Jon Bednerik’s experience with non-profit management, his first-hand knowledge of effective government relations, his financial expertise and media savvy, including communications and marketing skills, made him extremely qualified for the position of executive director of the Foundation. His previous job as executive director of the Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce gives him a familiarity with Boca Grande, as well as all of Southwest Florida.
Of greatest importance, Jon showed a deep appreciation for the role of libraries in today’s world and, specifically, for the advantages of the public/private partnership between the Fust Library and the Lee County Library System.
Born in New Jersey and raised in North Carolina, Jon Bednerik has lived and worked all over the country. He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park in 1965 and completed all his course work for a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tenn. He worked as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. and as executive director of the Western Independent Bankers Association in Oakland, Calif. Several years ago, he made a lifestyle choice to move to Sarasota to become executive director of the Florida Swimming Pool and Spa Association. He was responsible for 17 chapters of the trade association. Today, he and his wife, Darlene, live in Punta Gorda. Besides his passion for books, he is an avid sailor.
In anticipation of his new job, Jon said, “This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the Foundation’s evolution carrying out the mission of being the intellectual and cultural focal point for this unique community of Boca Grande. This library with its beautifully and lovingly done restoration, and its location at the entrance to the town center makes the Johann Fust Library an ideal representative for our community.”
The first order of business for Bednerik will be the coordination of the public phase of the capital campaign to fund the necessary renovation of the Fust Library. Since last spring the board of directors has worked privately with generous individuals in Boca Grande to raise the majority of the $1.4 million goal.
During that time, many other people in Boca Grande who love the library have asked how they can contribute. Contributions may be sent directly to the Fust Library at P.O. Box 309, Boca Grande, 33921. They can also be delivered personally to Jon Bednerik at his temporary office at the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center.
It is the hope of the board that everyone in Boca Grande will want to be a part of this worthwhile project. The newly combined Johann Fust Library and Lee County Library System will be a great asset to our community for many generations to come.
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