Jon Bednerik, former Englewood-Cape Haze Chamber director, has been named executive director of the Johann Fust Library Foundation.
"This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the next phase of the Foundation's evolution carrying out the mission of being the intellectual and cultural focal point for this unique community," said Bednerik in a press release. "This library with its beautifully and lovingly done restoration and its location at the entrance to the Boca Grande town center makes the Johann Fust Library an ideal representative for our community."
2013 Fust Foundation President Chris Cowperthwait announced the Punta Gorda resident's selection. The Library Foundation has entered an agreement with Lee County to combine collections and library resources to provide expanded library services at the historic 10th Street location where a $1.4 million renovation is nearing completion.
An informal re-opening is expected around May with the Lee County Reference Room moving into Fust Library from the Community Center.
The upgrade followed a 2010 community survey where islanders indicated they loved Fust Library but checked their books out at the Lee County Recreation Department reference room at the Boca Grande Community Center.
Alice Gorman, a Fust Library Board member, said the upgrade allows the library to remain relevant in offering an important community service.
"We need a community resource where people can go and talk about books and meet authors," Gorman said in a November interview with the Gazette. "It's like going back to a source. There will always be a place for that on Boca Grande. It makes a difference."
Bednerik, with 40 years experience in not-for-profit management, will help the Foundation run physical facilities housing Lee County library personnel. The Foundation will continue to handle private events such as receptions and weddings and develop community programs and presentations at the library.
Bednerik graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park and completed three years at Vanderbilt University School of Law. He has been a newspaper reporter, worked for a regional book publisher and was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He has been executive director of several trade and professional associations and served as managing director for a Washington, D.C.-area multi-association management company's Orlando office overseeing four associations.
He was elected president of the Florida Society of Association Executives in 2002 and served as chairman of the FSAE Foundation in 2007. He has been a peer reviewer for the American Society of Association Executives and was designated a certified association executive in 1989.
A long-time sailor Bednerik said he would like to find a slip on Boca Grande to visit when sailing here.