Broward County Library Special Collections
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Top 100 Artifacts: The Special Collections of Broward County Library coverBroward County Library Publishes new eBook: Top 100 Artifacts

Broward County Libraries Division has published a new eBook, Top 100 Artifacts: The Special Collections of Broward County Library. The Special Collections staff of Broward County Library’s three unique collection areas –the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and the Broward County Historical Commission created a list of BCL’s top 100 artifacts, and it includes some rare and wonderful items. The book includes treasures from the famed shipwreck the Atocha, masks and instruments from Africa and even an 11,000 year-old wooly mammoth tooth.

The free, downloadable book can be found on the Digital Collections page of All eBooks are available in the following downloadable formats: EPUB eBook (iPad, smart phone, NOOK, Sony Reader); Kindle Book or view EPUB eBooks on your computer with Adobe Digital Editions.

The Bienes Museum Catalogs of James A. Findlay eBookAlso from Broward County Libraries Division:

The Bienes Museum Catalogs of James A. Findlay: This eBook is a brief survey of catalogs that provides an exciting look back at publications that Jim Findlay (1943-2010) wrote, edited or contributed to in some capacity. As the first director of the Bienes Museum, Jim and his colleagues produced a varied array of exceptional print pieces, at times in collaboration with expert collectors.

The Special Collections of Broward County Library

Broward County Library’s Bienes Museum of the Modern Book

Broward County Library’s Bienes Museum of the Modern Book is a state-of-the-art facility where rare books and special collections are housed, preserved and shared in conjunction with a space for related lectures, programs and exhibitions. The Museum was made possible through the generosity of Fort Lauderdale philanthropists Dianne and Michael Bienes. Support was also provided by a grant from the Broward Public Library Foundation with additional funding from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council.

The Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library is located on the sixth floor of the Broward County Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Museum opened to the public on December 4th, 1996, with James A. Findlay as the Bienes Museum Librarian.

The 8,300 square-foot facility was designed by Fort Lauderdale architect Donald Singer. The Museum features a stunning combination of glass, granite, ceramic tiles, and a dramatic, curved wood ceiling above slatted-wood walls. The inviting stained-glass entryway, entitled Passages, was created by Shelley Jurs as a commissioned work through the Broward County Public Art and Design Program. Elements of the glass design were inspired by Celtic knot work images from The Book of Kells, a ninth century Irish work represented in facsimile at the Museum.

The Museum has a Lobby reception area, several exhibition cases, a 25-seat Conference Room, and a 60-seat Ceremonial Room that is available for lectures and programs. Customers may view rare and special materials in the Reading Room.

Special Collections and Rare Books: The Bienes Museum houses special collections totaling more than 15,000 items, including rare books, artifacts, manuscripts, and reference materials. The majority of the holdings are secured in a humidity and temperature-controlled storage area. The librarian on duty in the Reading Room provides reference services and retrieves materials for customers.

Using the Special Collections Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: Materials in the collections are accessible in the Reading Room at the Bienes Museum but not available for check-out. To use the materials, customers must present a photo I.D., sign a guest book, store personal belongings in a locker, and present their requests to the librarian, who will retrieve the items. Any photocopies are made by the librarian on duty. The Special Collections are open to the public Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Call 954-357-8692 or 954-357-8243 for information or to make appointments.

Broward County's first schoool bus
Broward County's first school bus (Image courtesy of the Davie Historical Society)
Broward County Historical Commission

The Broward County Historical Commission, created in 1972, is committed to preserving records and artifacts of the County’s heritage and raising awareness of local history. The mission of the BCHC is “To recognize, protect and support the historical interests of the communities of Broward County and to serve as an advisory board to the County Commission of Broward County, Florida.”

This task is achieved by the agency through:

  • Archive and Research Services
  • Historical Education
  • Cultural Resource Protection
  • "Pioneer Day" and "Heritage Celebration" events
  • Broward Legacy Historical Journal
  • Exhibits
  • Must see historical sites

African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

African-American Research and Cultural Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
African-American Research and Cultural Center (AARLCC), Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


A Sampling of a Few of AARLCC’s
Special Collections

For more information on other collections not listed, visit the
AARLCC Special Collections page.

  • Dorothy Porter Wesley Collection provides scholars with more than 2,000 books to conduct research on African-Brazilian history and culture, the history of early African-American families, women and gender studies and historically black social organizations and publishers.
  • Charles Mills Collection provides an outstanding collection of books relating to the art and music of the Harlem Renaissance cultural movement during the 1920s and 1930s. Accompanying this collection are jazz music recordings on CDs, audiocassettes and record albums.
  • Alex Haley Collection includes eight unfinished manuscripts, multiple letters and postcards from prominent individuals and fans, photographs of cast members from the film Roots and several photographs of the Juffure in the Gambia, West Africa, where Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte was born.
  • Niara Sudarkasa Papers contains nearly 200 archival boxes of documents, correspondence, news clippings and other printed materials relating to Sudarkasa’s research as an Anthropologist, her career as a Professor and Associate Vice President at the University of Michigan, and her tenure as the President of Lincoln University. These papers also provide research on Yoruba language and culture, minorities in higher education and the Black Power Movement in the U.S.
  • Esther Rolle Collection focuses on the life of this Pompano Beach, Florida native. Included are artifacts, news clippings, books, photographs and a record album by Rolle titled In the Garden of My Mind.
  • Kitty Oliver Oral Histories contain more than 100 interviews of individuals discussing race and ethnic relations in Broward and Palm Beach counties during the 1960s and 1970s, the New River community, the historical community of Liberia and women in Ghana. Printed transcripts.

 Books, eBooks and Other Resources About Libraries and Museums:

Book Jacket
Local History Collections in Libraries, by Faye Philips More...
Book Jacket

American Author Houses, Museums, Memorials and Libraries, by Shirley Hoover Biggers More...

Book Jacket

Book Arts Collections: A Representational Spotlight, by Edward Rippley-Duggan More...

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Florida’s Museums and Cultural Attractions, by Murray D. Laurie More...

Book Jacket

Visiting the Art Museum, by Laurence Krasny Brown (Childrens) More...

Book Jacket

The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collections, by Jan Mark (Childrens) More...