Marion County — On January 5, 2021, the Marion County Commission entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Ocala for branch library services at the Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place. The memorandum states the library would be responsible for furnishing and equipping the space, with funding assistance from the Friends of the Ocala Public Library.
Since the new library will be an official branch of the Marion County Public Library System, on December 21, 2021, the Marion County Commission approved a request to begin the process of naming the library.
Commission Policy 14-02, the policy regarding the naming and renaming of county properties, states that the county shall solicit name suggestions from “schools, community groups, a press release to the media, neighborhood or community newsletter and other means to inform the public of the need for a name.”
This policy also provides guidelines for forming a naming committee to discuss and choose a name from the list of suggested names. This committee would then present their discussions and research in a report to be presented before the commission.
The naming committee consisted of members from around the county:
Michelle Stone, Marion County Commissioner
Angel Roussel. Assistant County Administrator
Julie Sieg, Marion County Library Director
Tom Schmitz, Historical Commission member
Rhodia Berry, Friends of the Ocala Library board member
Ramona Williams, City of Ocala representative
At the Marion County Commission meeting on September 7, 2022, the naming committee submitted its report with the top three names the committee was considering for the new library, narrowed from a list of more than 150 names provided by the community.
The committee recommended these names for consideration:
Sankofa Public Library
Champions Public Library
West Ocala Public Library
Marion County Library Director Julie Seig delivered the committee’s report before the commission, and she explained that the committee unanimously agreed on Sankofa as its top choice.
Seig explained that Sankofa is a West African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana which literally means “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Sankofa is derived from San (return), Ko (go) and Fa (look/seek/take). According to Wikipedia, Sankofa is described as “symbolizing taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge.”
At the commission meeting, Seig acknowledged that Sankofa is a word most people may not be familiar with, but her reasoning was that the library would be a perfect place to learn the definition and the meaning behind the word.
Following Seig’s presentation, the commission unanimously voted on the name “Sankofa Public Library” for the new library inside the community center.