Krystyl Farmer Library Columns

“Back to School” by Krystyl Farmer

It is almost time for the new school year to begin! Hearing those words might make some parents and guardians tremble with a certain kind of fear that comes from emptying a wallet of dust mites, lint, and the very last red-cent. The thought of meandering through store after store searching for just the right pair of sneakers and the coolest notebooks to show off would make even the most stoic man, or woman, cringe. Lord grant you mercy if you were the procrastinator; trying to appease children with solid-color binders, pencils, and the pair of scissors that don’t have animal print handles is akin to trying to feed a crocodile a head of broccoli minus delicious cheese sauce. Not a successful endeavor, in other words.

I am happy to report to all the groaning custodians out there that Florida has passed legislation to create a 10-day tax free holiday! Let’s all make some noise! I can’t hear you……..!

Businesses throughout the state were mailed a “T.I.P,” or Tax Information Publication, that includes a list of specific provisions and items; main offices of multiple locations were instructed to inform each branch of the business. According to the Florida Department of Revenue website:

during this holiday period, Florida law directs that no sales tax or local option tax (also known as discretionary sales surtax) will be collected on purchases of: clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item, certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, and personal computers and certain computer-related accessories on the first $750 of the sales price, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

For your information, this does not only apply to children’s clothing and shoes! An extensive list of exempt and nonexempt items can be found on Department of Revenue.

Complementary to the tax holiday, several downtown businesses have special back-to-school offers. Kathy’s Consignment, 659 S Commerce Ave, is offering a 20% discount for teacher on non sale items. Linda’s Books, 203 N Ridgewood Dr, is offering a free pencil with each purchase. All month long, Palms of Sebring, 725 Pine St, is having a Back to School Supply Drive and for donating supplies you can register to win 1 of 5 great items via drawing. Scosta Supply and Interiors, 510 Maple Ave, is having a drawing to win a set of 10 colored Branch pencils. (After a quick Google search I found that these particular pencils are made from the sustainable Tamarind Tree with colored lead.) The Gun Rack, 201 Circle Park Dr, is offering a free child safety gun lock with any purchase.

In addition to the tax breaks mentioned above, your public libraries lend you books at no cost to get your go-getter ready to face the wild jungle that has become the school yard. Whether you think starting back with light reading may be in order or you’re the parent that believes the only way to prepare for the rigorous testing and extensive homework is to bribe your sweet little one into reading “The Iliad.” The library can certainly be of service. We happen to have all but a few of this year’s Sunshine State Young Reader Award (SSYRA) Program books for grades 3-5 and 6-8. The purpose of the SSYRA is to lead children to independent reading for leisure instead of requirement, and help them choose books that interest them instead of just meeting a reading level. Books for this program are chosen based on popularity, communication of diversity, complexity and substance of plot, and connections to curriculums.

Run out and buy some tax free clothes and shoes, maybe school supplies if you’re in need, and then come to your local library to start your school-goer on the path to reading success by perusing our collections. In my opinion, if the government is giving everyone a bit of a break when it comes to providing for our school-goers, we should all take advantage. After All, it’s not every day that the Big “G” tells us we don’t have to pay our taxes!

Please keep in mind the Sebring Library’s Children Area is closed until 8/18/15, we have a small selection of children’s books in the foyer by the couches but our full collection is unavailable until the flooring is completely installed. In the meantime, the other six libraries in the Heartland Library Cooperative have children’s materials available for use.