The Selby Public Library serves the Sarasota community, offering programs and resources to all ages. The library works with Friends of the Selby Public Library (Friends) — a sister organization whose mission is to partner in developing services, providing programs, raising funds, and advocating for resources. Friends achieves this by raising funds through the Friends Bookstore and annual fundraisers.
Connected to the “special collections” department of the library is the Sarasota Music Archive — one of the leading reference collections in the field of music. The Archive contains several hundred thousand recordings, tapes, books, sheet music, and memorabilia. The collection varies from classical to opera, jazz to popular, folk to international music, and also includes video recordings of performances, musicals, and the like. Each year, recordings and music scores not needed for the collection are sold to the public.
Like many organizations in Sarasota, the Selby Public Library, Friends, and the Sarasota Music Archive depend greatly on a group of dedicated volunteers. Many of the volunteers for each of these branches can be found here at Plymouth Harbor.
As a former professional librarian, the first thing resident Charleen Sessions did when she moved to Sarasota 20 years ago was visit the Selby Public Library. After finding there was no book club, she offered to start one, and it was then that the library’s “Books and Coffee” program was born, eventually attracting often more than 100 people. Still in practice today, this free, monthly program invites various guest speakers to review thought-provoking literary works. Charleen spent more than 12 years researching and recruiting speakers for the program before mentoring someone to take it over. She also served many years on the Friends Board of Directors.
Residents John Goodman, Joy McIntyre, and Chris and Margo Light have each dedicated much of their time to the Sarasota Music Archive. Chris and Margo have been involved with the organization for 25 years — with Chris being one of the longest serving members. Together, the two have helped with data entry, stocking the shelves, and converting materials. Margo is a current Board member and Chris a former Board member.
John Goodman serves as the current President of the Sarasota Music Archive and has been a volunteer since he moved to Sarasota in 2002. He has also served as a member of the board and as a program coordinator. Today, in addition to his responsibilities as president, he leads a popular weekly music series that alternates between concerts and educational lectures. Joy McIntyre became involved with the Archive shortly after John — the two were colleagues at Boston University and moved to the Sarasota area at the same time. Joy currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors, and has also been involved in other aspects of the organization, including compiling the newsletter, giving lectures, and more. “The library offers many original materials, in a time where a lot of research is done online,” Joy says. “The Sarasota Music Archive is so important because it’s helping to preserve the history of music.”