If challenges are considered opportunities, then Broward County Libraries Division had many opportunities the last four years. With a third fewer staff and only a slightly diminished work load, an adaptive, stalwart, creative and highly efficient library staff continues to deliver library services to tens of thousands of library customers every day. This report will attempt to provide some of the highlights of a very busy, challenging and ultimately forward-looking year 2010.
9.4 Million Walk-In Customers -- 90% Service Satisfaction Rating
Hours have been reduced and Sunday service was eliminated except at our partner library, the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center at Nova Southeastern University. However the same amount of work has impacted the remaining staff. Work load has condensed into the remaining public access hours, so this makes every hour even more intense and stressful for library staff. In spite of this, library customers report high satisfaction with services. The library staff gets the credit for this amazing success. Library staff deserves praise and thanks – they alone enable services to public to continue mostly as they have been in the past despite greatly diminished resources.
585,000 Customers Participated in 20,000 Library Programs
Library programs of many kinds serve our children, teens and adults year-round. A great example of one of our many children’s programs is the StoryBook Festival held at the Southwest Regional Library, delivered with the help of many partners but underwritten by the Broward Public Library Foundation. Thousands attended. And for the seventh year, the library’s Center for the Book applied for grant funds, organized and presented The Big Read, which this year featured the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Again, the library worked with many partners, including libraries, schools, cultural and civic organizations and reached thousands of participants throughout Broward County.
10.7 Million Items Were Checked Out
Book use is now about half of the number of items checked-out. DVD use is 37% of check-outs and downloadable e-books as a service continues to grow. The Broward County Library still manages to add new titles to its 3.4 million item collection in a variety of formats. And even though resources for new acquisitions have been flat for five years, public use of library materials continues to be strong. For every single item checked out, it returns and library staff must handle it and prepare it for the next check out. That means that library staff actually handled over 20 million items in 2010.
Literacy and Computer Instruction Programs for Adults, Teens and Children
Through grants from the Florida State Library, the Broward County Children’s Services Council, the Ann and Albert Jacobs Trust through the Broward Public Library Foundation and the City of Sunrise, the Broward County Library provides 21 literacy, English learning and after-school programs for Broward County residents. In addition, through other grants and assistance of many volunteers, the library offered hundreds of free computer classes to over 14,000 customers. These efforts are part of the library’s commitment to improve life in Broward County by helping our residents learn, advance in life and in many cases, enter Broward County’s workforce.
Three Ground Breakings for New Libraries/One New Library/One in Design
Beginning with the opening of Cybrary, a 70-station computer lab on the Main Library’s 7th floor in December 2009, several important capital projects got underway or were completed throughout 2010. Last January, the library participated in ground breaking ceremonies for a new library in Dania Beach, replacing an expensive lease. The new 57,000 sf Young at Art Museum and Children’s Reading Center in Davie began construction in the summer and the new 10,000 sf Lauderdale Lakes Branch library opened. In November, ground breaking for a new library in Lauderhill located adjacent to the new Lauderhill Performing Arts Center will begin, replacing the former Lauderhill Mall Branch, which was a leased facility. We are also working on replacing the old Pompano Beach Branch. The new library will be on City property adjacent to City Hall and construction should begin late 2011. This final project completes all the library projects from the $139.9 million library bond initiative passed by Broward County voters in 1999.
Library Technologies Advance
In mid-2010, the library upgraded its library automated system to new software and hardware platforms, a system that handles over 50 million transactions annually. It manages and controls the 3.5 million item database, over 1 million library card accounts and millions of processes to enable the check-out and check-in of materials, capturing reserves and holds and alerting customers of overdue items and accounts, including contacting customers by automated phone calls or emails. The library also migrated its web page software to a new platform and a new format that presents its best capabilities and features – look for it in early 2011. With over 3,000 desk top computers for public and staff already in use, the library has completed the installation of wireless capabilities in all libraries and has acquired, through grants, more laptops for customer use. New online reference databases and resources were added as in past years and through a commitment made again by the Broward Public Library Foundation, 30 public use e-book units were purchased for five branch libraries.
Support Groups Make a Difference
As property tax rates and other revenues plummet during this tough economic period, the Broward County Board of Commissioners must be commended for keeping Broward County, as well as the Libraries Division, afloat. It’s a demanding job for a County Commissioner to supervise programs and meet the needs of 1.8 million residents in the best of times, but in the worst of times it is extremely difficult to make everyone happy. We are grateful for the level of support we have been given and pledge to provide the best services we can within whatever level of financial resources we have been provided. We also thank our volunteers, the Broward Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library groups for supporting library programs, services, collections, and making strong commitments towards employee training and employee conference attendance. Together these groups have helped the library stabilize and continue to innovate during these troubled times.