A public reception celebrating Destin Library Director Jurate Burns’ service to the city of Destin and the Destin Library will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 8 in the Calhoun Room at the Destin Library.

Burns, who has been library director since 1999, will achieve 19 years of service to the city of Destin on April 26. Her retirement date as director will be May 4.

During Burns’ tenure, she has overseen the library’s growth from a small facility on Stahlman Avenue, primarily staffed by volunteers, to a 13,500 square foot architectural gem at 150 Sibert Avenue with five full-time and five part-time employees.

Artist Kim Heartsong said Burns has also created a gallery and hosted art shows for many artists in the surrounding communities as a way to bring art and the community together. All who have had the opportunity to display their art in the Library’s Gallery, as well as those who have enjoyed that art, are asked to attend and acknowledge her contribution to the arts.

The transformation of the Destin Library from a quaint little community library to a state-of-the-art community resource was the brainchild of Burns, who was instrumental in securing state grant funding that allowed for the design of a unique facility, nestled among live oak trees on Destin’s west end.

The new Destin Library interior space boasts a breath-taking open area, meeting rooms, the county’s only public library with a dedicated computer lab, a digital media lab and a unique children’s area named after library benefactor Willie Mae Taylor.

In addition, the grounds adjoining the Destin Library is a horticulturalists dream come true with flower beds, scrubs among the distinctive 100 year old live oak trees.

Sponsors of the reception are Fort Walton Beach artist Kim Heartsong and staff members of the Destin Library.