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At Friends of Betty J Johnson Sarasota Public Library, we believe that staying informed is the first step towards creating positive change in our community. Our news and events section is designed to keep you up to date on the latest happenings in the area, and to provide you with opportunities to take action and make a difference. We hope you find our content informative and inspiring, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future updates.

Support Our Schools



WHERE:  Sarasota County Administration (South County)

4000 S. Tamiami Trail
Venice, Florida 34293


WHY:  The Moms for Liberty book banners are at it again.  They’ve banded together with the Republican Assembly Club (which counts Proud Boys as members) to urge the Commissioners to terminate our Sarasota County Public Libraries’ membership in the American Library Association, as a first step towards the banning of books from our public libraries.  Commissioner Moran has included as Item #35, “Association Memberships Discussion” on the agenda for the November 14 Commissioners’ meeting.


These groups have taken it upon themselves to decide which books are unacceptable, so they believe that no one should have access. They believe that they have the right to determine what YOUR children should be allowed to read. It appears that they believe that the only parental rights that matter, are their rights to determine what your children can read.  We disagree.

We believe very strongly that each parent has the right and responsibility to determine which books are age appropriate for their children.  We believe that ALL parents have parental rights and no one else, particularly a political group with an agenda, has the right to determine which books we will be permitted to access.   

This is the first step in the inexorable march towards censorship, book banning and the abrogation of our First Amendment rights.  This attempt must be stopped dead in its tracks. 


  1. Show up and speak during public commentary at the Commissioners Board meeting; it’s at the beginning of the meeting so you don’t have to sit there all day, if you are short on time.  The date, time, and address are listed above.  You will have three minutes to speak and public comments on agenda items are the first item heard on the agenda.  You will be speaking about Agenda Item 35.  Link to the calendar and agenda.

  2. If you can’t show up in person, then send an email to the Commissioners at:

  3. ​Send a letter to the editor of the Sarasota Herald Tribune at:

  4. Sign this petition urging the commissioners not to terminate ALA membership: 



5. Send this document to everyone you know and urge them to do the same. Remember, the loss of our rights is incremental.

Support Our Schools, PO Box 15221, Sarasota, FL 34277, United States

BWIA-Michigan, Inc. is a Community Outreach 501c3 Company

It is collaborating with local supporters to offer a beginning string instrument music program in Newtown, which is a “grassroots” community in Sarasota, Florida. Lois Wilkis is a cellist and is offering to volunteer to coordinate this string program with other interested community organizations. The intent is to offer the program to students who are currently living in Newtown. We will offer beginning, advanced beginning, and intermediate string instruction for violin, viola, cello, and bass.

  • Monthly instrumental fees run about $33 - 55/ month per student

  • Includes a complete instrument outfit, (its case, a bow, rosin, a shoulder pad sponge.)

  • The program will be piloted for 4 weeks on a Saturday.

  • 3rd-grade students - 5th-grade students who live in the Newtown community

  • Students will participate in a showcase concert. (Program TBD)


Supporters who wish to sponsor a student with a pilot scholarship at $250 for the four-week pilot session (4 Saturdays) are encouraged to join us with your financial donation


For Donors:

A contribution of $1,000 would cover the cost of an instrument outfit for 4 students.


Parental and Guardian Inquiries:

If your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students, who reside in Newtown would like to learn how to play a string instrument please contact Lois B. Wilkins, Chair of the African American Cultural Resource Center (AACRC) at the Betty J Johnson North Sarasota Public Library. Ms. Wilkins can be contacted at the website or by sending an email to

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