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​​Broward County Library: A Look Back at 2014

Broward County Library (BCL) celebrated a banner year in 2014 as it continued to offer first-class service to the residents of our community while launching a host of new and exciting programs and services. From cutting-edge hands-on technology to enriching events for all ages, BCL filled 2014 with demonstrations of outstanding service, amazing innovations and a host of advancements designed with today’s customer in mind. 
Here are some of Broward County Library’s highlights for 2014:

January: The year kicked off with the opening of the Creation Station, a makerspace/gadget lab located at Main Library with tools and equipment such as state-of-the-art computers and 3D printers. The Creation Station was one of four United States libraries recognized in a press release on Whitehouse.gov announcing the first ever White House Maker Faire.
February: BCL launched its first Destination​​​ Fridays, a destination-focused networking event that offers the opportunity to network, have fun and learn about new places. The first was held on February 7 at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. Guests enjoyed live jazz, dancing, complimentary cocktails and Cajun food. 2014 Destination Friday events were June 6/ Brazil, September 5/Greek Isles and October 3/Ghana, Africa. The fun continues in 2015. Go to www.Broward.org/Library/Fridays for more information.
March: During 2014, Broward County Libraries coordinated/produced a system-wide campaign, “Broward County Libraries Mean Business!” The purpose was to create programming to assist small business. To promote these events, BCL staff created a dedicated “Broward County Libraries Mean Business!” web portal with upcoming business events and online resources for business. 
In the March 2014 issue of Library Journal, Stephen Grubb, BCL E-services and Marketing Manager, was announced as one of Library Journal’s 2014 LJ Movers & Shakers.
To provide a free and open forum for community feedback, Broward County Libraries Director Skye Patrick hosted a series of Vision Sessions held from March through June 2014. 
April: In celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), BCL presented their annual Children’s BookFest on Saturday, April 26 at the North Regional/Broward College Library in Coconut Creek featuring shows, magic, music and science experiments. Making a Connection with Books! was the theme for Broward County Library's 27th Annual Conference on Children's Literature and Ashley Bryan Art Series held in April at Main Library, which event offered a free learning opportunity to those who encourage children through books.
May: On May 9, Julie Hunter, recently retired Broward County Libraries Division associate director of public services, received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Library Association. Hunter retired from Broward County Libraries in July 2013 after 47 years of distinguished service to the library profession.
June: The themes for this year’s Summer R.E.A.D.ing (Reading, Exploration, Art, Discovery) Program was Literary Elements for adults and “Spark a Reaction"/"Fizz, Boom, Read" for youth and teens. From June 7 through August 2, libraries countywide offered a summer filled with great events for all ages, including amazing science-based puppet shows and experiments, music and theatre performances, engineering activities, arts & crafts, book clubs and story times. More than 50,000 youth and 5,000 adults attended the programs.
BCL received more awards from the National Association of County Information Officers than any organization in the country including Excellence in publications, graphics and community events. From June through August, participating BCL locations, in conjunction with Sisters for Abundant Living, provided free lunch and afternoon snacks for children ages 18 and under.
July: In cooperation, with the Creation Station’s opening, a day-long S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Makers Festival was held at Broward County’s Southwest Regional Library in July 2014 and brought crafters, educators, hobbyists, engineers, authors, artists, and students together to celebrate the makers movement and share their talent and knowledge. 
The South Florida Book Festival returned to the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center on July 25/26 with a variety of authors and events including keynote speaker was Congressman James E. Clyburn. 
August: Broward County Libraries Division celebrated its 40th anniversary in August 2014. Broward County Libraries Division was first established as part of Broward County government in 1974 with four small branches and a collection of 270,000 books. Today, BCL’s 39 locations cover more than one million square feet, host over 10 million visitors each year and circulate nine million items annually. 
September: September 2014 was designated as “Maker Month,” with library locations countywide hosting DIY events offered in conjunction with the opening of the Creation Station. This month also ushered in the age of “virtual” BCL cards. Customers can now show the virtual library card to the librarian at the circulation desk to check out items using the BCL WoW mobile app
October: The “Show Us Your Bookface” contest/exhibit was held in celebration of Teen Read Week™ and offered teens the opportunity to get creative with their favorite books by obscuring or augmenting any part of their body with a book cover. Broward County teen librarians selected the three most creative entries. Winners received gift cards and were exhibited at Broward County Libraries. 100 of the bookfaces are on display at the Main Library in celebration of Broward 100.
November: For 13 consecutive years, Southwest Regional Library has hosted the free StoryBook Festival. This year’s event took place on November 15. Entertainers and theatrical groups shared the history and experience of growing up in Florida through music and drama. 
December: The Broward County Libraries Division celebrated the grand reopening/re-launch of Main Library with entertainment and activities for all ages. Main Library opened in 1984. During the past three years, it has undergone a series of renovations to maintain building integrity. In January 2014, Main Library received a landmark designation for its exterior as well as parts of the interior from the City of Fort Lauderdale due to its architectural significance. 
The number of customers visiting the Main Library has already increased from 11,500 in November 2014 to 14,300 in January 2015.

Amnesty Week: BCL celebrated the Grand Reopening of the Main Library with a system-wide Amnesty Week which gave customers the ability to have their fines waived as well are return overdue (and way overdue) items. More than 18,000 customers had fines waived during the event. In addition, more than 94,000 items were returned and can once again be checked out by the community.
We’re looking forward to another successful year at Broward County Library. Look for more great events, new services and innovative resources in 2015, as BCL continues to provide services that satisfy the changing needs of the people of Broward County for information, education and recreation.