Highlights of 2011

The Broward County Libraries Division continues to face and meet budgetary and many other challenges during an extended period of financial duress at the local, state and national levels. But again, as reported last year, an adaptive, stalwart, creative and highly efficient and productive library staff, deliver state of the art library services to thousands of library customers every day, while maintaining an overall high customer service rating.

With 9.4 million library customers entering one of our libraries during the last fiscal year (October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011) over a half million of them attended a library program, 10.3 million library items were checked out and over 17,000 attended a free computer class. During this period about 23,000 people a placed over 100,000 holds on library materials each month. And a milestone was achieved in October 2011, when over 25,000 e-book or other e-titles were downloaded from the library’s website in a single month, a record.

During the last year, the new Dania Beach Branch was opened, the Young at Art/Broward County Library facility was completed, and two other new facilities were underway. Many technological improvements were made including a new main frame computer, many real time online services and a new mobile application. Six Regional Libraries re-opened on Sundays and the library continues to re-organize and change its staffing patterns for increased budgetary savings. The library’s support groups contributed over $700,000 for programs, activities, materials and staff training. The library assumed the management and operations of the Historical Commission the last fiscal year, yet managed to continue basic operations, present new and traditional programs and print special publications. Following are more details:

 New and Renovated Facilities
During 2011 the Libraries Division opened the new 10,000 sq. ft. Dania Beach Branch Library, a Gold rated LEED’s facility, held ground breaking ceremonies for the new Lauderhill Performing Arts Center Library, saw the completion of the construction phase of the new 55,000 sq. ft. Young at Art Museum/Broward County Library facility and entered into the design phase for the new 25-30,000 sq. ft. Pompano Beach Branch. The Division, working in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority, worked on “The Little Green Library”, a LEED’s community information center located in a new public housing venture, which will open in 2012 at no cost to the County, except for the loan of LEED’s library information materials.

Main Library renovations continued throughout the year, including the completion of the long awaited escalator project. The $8 million massive window replacement project commenced. All of Main’s windows and exterior doors will be replaced with current hurricane resident glass and frames.

 Historical Commission
During FY11 the Libraries Division was asked and agreed to administer the operations, exhibits, collections, programs and services of the Historical Commission. The Division is thus responsible for two advisory boards, the Library Advisory Board and the Historical Commission Board. During the last year, the library conducted an inventory of the fixed assets of the Historical Commission and through the Construction Management Division, an evaluation of the Historical Commission facility itself was conducted. Celebrations were held for Historic Preservation as well as the annual Pioneer Day. The Libraries Division rotated several historic exhibits throughout the library system and also produced two brochures, one on the special collections of the Historical Commission, the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book at the Main Library and the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center; the other on the National Register of Historic Places located throughout Broward County.

In conjunction with these efforts, the Division has expended a significant amount of time and resources coordinating its digitization efforts and accomplishments to date as well as planning a comprehensive system for improving and expanding these efforts during 2012. Currently, the library has digitized about 35,000 documents and artifacts.

 The FY12 Budget
As part of its FY12 budget submission, the Libraries Division consolidated the regional or cluster administrative structure, deleting ten associated vacant positions. The library has been charged to develop a program whereby up to twenty additional vacant full time positions will be replaced by part-time nineteen hours a week positions, to staff libraries at peak work load periods and assist in the re-opening of five regional libraries on Sundays. The Division is also committed to expanding and improving the number and duties of volunteers, explore an increase in revenues from merchandising and advertising opportunities and increase fees, including new fees for faxes, non-resident computer use cards and for holds placed but not picked up.

 Technological Improvements
This past year, the Libraries Division upgraded its library automated system, expanded its self-service equipment to eighty units and through our Foundation, provided various makes of e-readers to several libraries for public and staff education and use. Over 1,000 free computer classes continued due to the efforts and support of the Foundation as well as the OASIS senior volunteer program.

The library greatly increased its online services, including a tremendous growth of available digital book titles, maintained one and added another on-line real time tutoring services and provided downloadable music. The library added online résumé and career assistance, test improvement assistance and language learning. In December the library implemented its own mobile application. The library placed QR (Quick Response) Code posters directing customers to free Internet book titles, in libraries, the airport and planned for 2012, bus terminals.

Several publically funded or private grants allow the library to provide twenty-two after school, youth or adult literacy improvement programs – a new high. The library continues its After-School @ Your Library program at eleven branch libraries, funded by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. The State of Florida provided funds for eight adult and youth literacy programs and the City of Sunrise, the Ann Jacobs Trust and the Jim Moran Foundation provide three additional such programs.

For increased services to the public, the Libraries Division received the benefits and administered over $700,000 of donations provided by the Broward Public Library Foundation and the various Friends of the Library groups. To recognize and honor its many service accomplishments, reflecting the many positive services the library provides the greater community, the Libraries Division received nine awards from the National Association of Counties in 2011.