PALM COAST, Fla. – As libraries evolve with the times in an effort to retain their value in the community, Flagler County’s public library is no different, actively offering a wide swath of programs to appeal to every age group.

On Saturday, the glass blowing workshop hosted by the library in conjunction with the Friends of the Library group drew an overflow crowd for their first demo and added a second one to accommodate demand.

Assistant branch manager, head of adult programming Gemma Rose engaged the crowd with lively discussion and led Q&A with award-winning glass blower David Contreras as he created glass blown turtles, and shared stories about the industry before talking with attendees after the demonstration.

Artist David Contreras ©Flagler News Weekly

Based in Seattle, Washington for more than 20 years working among the world’s most proficient glass blowers since 2001, Contreras hopes to see art play a more prominent role in Palm Coast and encouraged attendees to share their thoughts with the area’s local officials.

“We need to see how to put art on the map,” he said.

“Like I told the morning class, if we want to see more art happen, it’s up to us. Call the mayor, call assistant mayor Danko. I tell them, how can we get our city more involved in art? And that’s really the only way, is we push the narrative. We’re Palm Coast. We’re more than just one-way lanes.”

Gemma Rose and Artist David Contreras ©Flagler News Weekly

A Community Hub

Rose has been instrumental in bringing educational and creative ideas to the forefront as part of the library’s programming, and is excited about the lineup now through the summer.

“I always look for very diverse, unique programs. We’ve done kitten yoga here, we’ve done African drums, we’ve done glass blowing now, we even did candy decorating for Christmas time,” said Rose.

“Our goal always is to be very inclusive, very diverse, and so that’s been our main focus. You have lovely people that come out and we’re introducing sometimes different cultures, different experiences, so that’s kind of how we do our programs here.”

“What’s wonderful is David is a library user here and his wife and his children attend a lot of our programs they reached out to us. We have such a great community, artist community here in Flagler County, and he really wanted to show some of the things they do and really get the word out.”

Artist David Contreras ©Flagler News Weekly

Being able to offer many of the programs at no cost to the community is a testament to the strong support of the Friends of the Library Flagler County, and the residents according to Rose.

“We do offer a lot of great things such as community baby showers, we also offer help with technology, and do computer classes. Even today we have AARP teaching senior citizens driving courses. Tax prep help, we do passports here, along with all of our regular library services,” she said.

“We’re a community center and without our community we don’t exist. We have all sorts of different things and it ranges from age zero up to 100+.”

“(The Friends of the Library) make all things possible. There’s never a time I’ve come to them and they said no. But it really comes down to the support of our community,” said Rose. “We rely on those donations, we rely on the book sales, and the volunteers that work with the Friends of the Library, they’re so amazing.”

For more information on the Flagler County Public Library’s calendar of upcoming events and programs, visit

Shop David Contreras online at or in person, Sundays at the European Village Farmer’s Market in Palm Coast.