Venice resident donates $1 million for Venice Public Library endowment fund

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Venice resident donates $1 million for Venice Public Library endowment fund 
Sarasota County Commissioners, county staff and members of the Library Foundation of Sarasota County are pictured with Dr. William H. Jervey Jr., Ph.D., fourth from left, after Dr. Jervey’s $1 million donation to the new Venice Public Library.

SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County, along with the Library Foundation of Sarasota County, are excited to announce that a $1 million donation has been made to support the new Venice Public Library, by Venice resident William H. Jervey Jr., Ph.D.

The endowment is intended to support the library in perpetuity, as part of Dr. Jervey’s commitment to, and recognition of, the value of public libraries to the community. As such, the new library located on the Venice cultural campus will be named after Dr. Jervey, and will officially be named the William H. Jervey Jr., Venice Public Library.
Dr. Jervey, 73, lived in Washington D.C. prior to his family moving to Hawaii when he was in middle school. He later graduated from the University of Hawaii, and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate in economics and political science from the University of Arizona. He was 8 when he first visited the City of Venice while on family vacation.
A retired professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, Dr. Jervey has been a Venice resident since 2009. As a member of both the Venice Area Historical Society and the HistoricPreservation Board, Dr. Jervey has a long history of philanthropy and civic involvement, and views his donation as an opportunity to give back to the community he loves and calls home. He also committed $250,000 as an estate gift to the library foundation that will benefit the entire county library system.
“For as long as I can remember, libraries have played an important role in my life. While other kids were out playing ball, I was combing library shelves and reading everything I could get my hands on. It was there I learned about finance and the stock market, which became a life-long avocation,” Jervey said, adding, “It’s especially rewarding that I am able to establish an endowment fund for our beautiful new library in Venice, a city I first visited in 1953. Hopefully, this endowment will keep our library state-of-the-art for many years to come, and relieve some of the burden on the good tax-payers of Sarasota County.”
The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the endowment and official naming of the library during their meeting on Tuesday. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new William H. Jervey, Jr., Venice Public Library is set for Oct. 30.
According to County Administrator Tom Harmer, the new library project demonstrates the Board of County Commissioners ongoing commitment to promoting quality of life, enhancing infrastructure and providing excellent customer service.
Harmer added that public outreach, workshops and community input have been crucial to designing and planning the new library. And that the community’s passion for their local library is clearly reflected in Dr. Jervey’s generous donation.
“We’re excited as an organization to begin construction on this new facility, and look forward to opening the doors and sharing it with the community. It is gifts like Dr. Jervey’s that will assist Sarasota County in operating at the highest level for years to come,” Harmer said.
Libraries and Historical Resources Director Sarabeth Kalajian, who started her career as the youth librarian at the Venice library, said the Venice community has a special connection to their library, which serves as one of the most popular in the entire library system. Part of that popularity is the relationships that have been built between library staff and the many patrons who visit each day
Kalajian added, “Dr. Jervey’s endowment is a testament to the hard-working staff, the engaged citizenry and the impact that libraries can have on an individual’s life.”
Library Foundation Executive Director Sue Seiter said the endowment fund will foster outstanding programs, exhibits, services and technology.
“The best part has been creating a way to share Dr. Jervey’s love of libraries with his beloved adopted city of Venice. He truly radiates the joy of giving,” she said.
The groundbreaking ceremony is set for 9 a.m., Oct. 30, on the same site as the former library. For more information call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit For information regarding the library foundation, contact: Sue Seiter, Executive Director, [email protected] / 941-932-3536.
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