About the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book

Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library

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 Facility

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

Materials in the collections are accessible in the Reading Room at the Bienes Museum but not available for checkout. 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.

Open to the Public

Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10AM-6PM
Tuesday and Wednesday: Noon-8PM
Sunday: Closed

Call 954-357-8692 or 954-357-8243 for information or to make appointments.

A variety of exhibitions and programs related to the collections have been offered at the Bienes Museum. Over the years, the Museum has featured lectures on topics such as book collecting and book histories and mounted exhibitions ranging in scope from Works Progress Administration publications to book-jacket art. New
digital technologies have enabled the Bienes Museum to create online exhibitions that celebrate the printed book as an art form; these online exhibitions have garnered attention from customers and researchers from around the world.

Donations and the Future of the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library

The Bienes Museum collections began through the generous gifts and contributions of individuals and organizations. With the support of a community that recognizes the cultural importance and value of the written word, the size of the collections and scope of the services at the Museum will increase.

Donated collections and prized volumes enhance the variety, quality and significance of the materials available at the Museum.

Cash gifts guarantee that important works and collections will be acquired when they become available. Often these gifts can be used as matching funds for grants to promote the collections and related exhibitions and programs.

For more information about Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library, and how to contribute to its future, call 954-357-8243; e-mail bienes@broward.org.