1963 – 1972
Library activists Barbara Cooper, Joyce Gardner, Dr. Clint Hamilton, Robbie Kurland and the League of Women Voters, led by Mary Rose Lawson, establish a Library Study Committee to improve Library service in the County. The committee's report received wide media attention and support from County Commissioner Robert Hubener.
The Broward County Commission approves the establishment of a county library system on January 9 and directs county administrator Robert Kauth to move forward with plans to hire a county library director. Consultant F. William Summers produces a plan for countywide library service that recommends a large central information facility and neighborhood branches.
Broward County Library is established as a division of county government with a budget of $1.5 million and a collection of 270,000 books. Stephen Whitney is the director. The new library system begins issuing cards on June 17. There are four library branches: Fort Lauderdale, Riverland, Mizell and Hollywood. During the first year, the city libraries in Lauderdale Lakes, Coral Springs and Miramar join the county system. The Friends of the Broward County Library are formed to create public interest in the new library system.
View the first Broward County Library brochure.
Read the story of the bond issues.
The 14-member Library Advisory Board is established, with Barbara Cooper as chair. Pembroke Pines city library joins. A South County library is opened in leased space in Hollywood. The library system's annual budget is $1.7 million. Bookmobile service began in areas of the county without libraries.
Library outreach service to economically disadvantaged people, called Library-in-Action, is established, headed by Tyrone Bryant and funded by a LSCA grant of $155,736. The library receives another LSCA grant of $29,715 to provide service to blind and physically handicapped people.
A branch is opened in Tamarac. The city library in Lauderhill joins. Former state librarian Cecil Beach is hired as director following the departure of Stephen Whitney.
The city library in Hallandale joins. Talking Books and Books-by-Mail are established. A public improvements bond issue, which includes $31.8 million for libraries, is passed. The Friends of the Library spearheaded the bond issue promotion, called Libraries Don't Grow on Trees. People Build Them.
The city libraries of Dania, Margate and Sunrise join the county system.
The new Collier City and Rock Island branches open, funded by a federal block grant to serve economically disadvantaged areas. The Deerfield Beach city library joins the library system.
North Lauderdale city library joins. The new Hallandale Branch opens, funded by the 1978 bond issue. Von D. Mizell Branch moves to larger leased quarters down the street in a new community center. The Tamarac, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, and Fort Lauderdale branches are expanded and renovated with bond issue funds. The literacy program is established.
The new Century Plaza Branch opens in leased storefront. New bond issue libraries for Coral Springs and Davie/Cooper City open. The new Carver Ranches Branch opens, funded by a federal block grant. The Miramar, Pembroke Pines, and South County libraries are closed to make way for new facilities. The Broward Public Library Foundation is established enhance the library system's collections, programs and services beyond the means of public funding.
New bond issue libraries open: West Regional Library, South Regional/Broward Community College (BCC) Library, Lauderhill City Hall. South Regional/BCC Library is the first joint-use public-college library in the state of Florida.
The new 260,000 square-foot, $49 million Main Library, funded by the 1978 bond issue, opens in April. The eight-story multi-purpose building is hailed as a symbol of the resurgence of business, government, and cultural activity in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area. Florida Center for the Book, the first affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, opens. The library system celebrates its 10th anniversary in October with Book Bash, a huge used book sale and street fair, and a birthday bash with entertainment and activities for all ages.
The library system's collection now has one book for every single county resident.
Lauderhill Mall branch opens in leased space with assistance from the city. Riverland Branch is expanded and renovated with bond issue funds. Document delivery by fax service begins with fax machines at all branches. An annual Staff Development Day is launched.
The Automated Library Information System (ALIS) is upgraded. Main Library begins service to students and faculty at the nearby Florida Atlantic University (FAU)/Florida International University (FIU) University Tower. BCL’s first docent program begins at the Main Library.
The new Imperial Point Branch opens, partially funded by the 1978 bond issue. The Rock Island Branch is renamed in honor of Tyrone Bryant. The Century Plaza Branch moves to larger leased quarters in same shopping center.
The library celebrates the Year of the Young Reader with a Love Me, Read to Me campaign and the first annual Children's Reading Festival. A Listening and Viewing Center, funded by the Broward Public Library Foundation, opens in the Main Library. Services for deaf and hard-of- hearing people are upgraded with a federally-funded state grant that provides TTY devices for selected branches, TV decoders for loan, and closed-captioned videos. The library's annual budget is $22.2 million.
A new CD-ROM catalog, called SunCat, is introduced. Samuel F. Morrison becomes the new library director after the promotion of Cecil Beach to Broward County Public Services Department Director.
Pompano city library joins the county system, adding three branches: Beach Branch, Northwest Branch, Pompano Beach Branch.
Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center opens in leased space with assistance from the city. The school board's FDLRS media center moves to the Main Library.
Deerfield Beach Branch is expanded and renovated with assistance from a state construction grant. A new online catalog, called WiseGuide is launched. The school board's professional collection is integrated into the Main Library collection.
The library system kicks off its 20th anniversary with an appearance by Maya Angelou at the Collier City Branch. The Hollywood Beach Reading Center opens in a community center with assistance from the city. The West Atlantic Branch and the Weston Reading Center open in leased spaces. The North Regional/BCC library opens the second joint-use public-college facility in Florida. Fort Lauderdale Branch is renovated to add the ArtServe cultural center. Large collections of Spanish materials are added to ten libraries. The SEFLIN Free-Net is launched. The Office of Hispanic Affairs is established.
New Sunrise Dan Pearl Branch opens, partially funded by a LSCA grant. Dania Beach Branch and Century Plaza moves to larger quarters in leased space. The former Sunrise Branch is renamed Sunset Strip. The library's website is established.
Broward County Library wins the Library of the Year award from Library Journal and Gale Research.
A new BIG (Broward's Information Gateway) library card is introduced and the online information system is renamed BIGCAT. The Broward Community Technology Center opens at the Main Library and computer kiosks are open at malls in Pompano and Pembroke Pines. The Bienes Center for the Literary Arts: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library opens on the sixth floor of the Main Library. Funded by the Bienes', the 8,300 square-foot facility has a 5,000-item collection, humidity and temperature-controlled stacks, exhibit areas, and spaces for programs and meetings.
A Women's Resource Center Library opens at Hollywood Medical Center with assistance from Broward County Library.
The Tamarac Popular Library opens in leased storefront space. The Small Business Resource Center opens at the Main Library, a joint venture with NationsBank. The library's online information system undergoes a major upgrade and conversion to frame-relay data transmission.
A $139.9 million bond issue, called Better Libraries for A Better Broward, is approved by 72% of voters. The Pembroke Pines Branch opens, the first joint venture of county, city and middle school. The Hollywood Beach Branch is renamed in honor of Bernice P. Oster, and the Dania Beach Branch is renamed in honor of Paul DeMaio. A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. The library system celebrates it's 25th birthday with the theme Building on a Tradition of Service. The library's annual budget is now $33.5 million.
Read the story of the bond issues.
Southwest Regional Library opens at Pembroke Pines Academic Village. It is the first new building funded by the 1999 bond issue and is a joint venture with the city. The new Web version of the library catalog debuts. New Computer Technology Centers open in seven libraries, and 18 libraries get a total of 97 new computers funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Broward County Library is named Florida's first Library of Promise, part of the Governor's Mentoring Initiative.
Northwest Regional Library opens, funded by the bond issue and the city. The Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center is expanded and the Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Branch and Weston Reading Center both move into larger quarters funded by the bond issue. After many delays, construction begins for the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. The state-of-the-art $43 million Library Research and Information Technology Center opens at Nova Southeastern University. It is the first public-private library partnership in Florida and the state's largest library, with 325,000 square feet. A Cultural Information Center opens at the Main Library, funded by the Cultural Affairs Division.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center opens at a cost of $14 million.
Read the story of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.
The library's annual budget is now $51.1 million.
The new Stirling Road Branch, a capital project, opens. Robert E. Cannon becomes the new library director after the retirement of Samuel F. Morrison. The new Tamarac Branch, funded by the bond issue, opens. The Tamarac Popular Library moves into the old Tamarac location. The Collier City Branch reopens after extensive expansion and renovation, partly funded by Jim and Jan Moran, and is renamed the Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library.
The Hallandale Beach Branch and Deerfield Beach Percy White Branch reopen after renovations funded by the 1999 bond issue. The new Lauderhill Towne Centre Library opens. Construction starts on the new Margate Catherine Young Branch expansion and renovation. Construction starts on the Carver Ranches expansion and renovation, funded from the bond issue. Construction starts on the new Northwest Branch Library, funded from the bond issue. Groundbreakings of new replacement libraries from the bond issue include: North Lauderdale, Weston, Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Tyrone Bryant, West Regional, and South Regional.
The website www.broward.org/library is re-launched. The library’s first electronic newsletter is launched is November 2004.
A new logo design is created for the Libraries Division. The Broward County logo now includes the branding of the word LIBRARY under the logo in all library publications. The Hallandale Beach Branch Youth Services Section is dedicated in honor of Joanne and Arnold Lanner. The Margate Catherine Young Branch Library, funded by the bond issue, reopens on February 25 after a renovation and expansion adding 5,000 square feet totaling 15,000 square feet. The new South Regional/Broward Community College Library broke ground on May 12. This new building will be the first green building in Broward County. Meeting standards from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System set by the U.S. Green Building Council. The new Northwest Branch, funded by the bond issue, is re-opened on July 19 with a special “ribbon-pulling” by local pre- schoolers.
In January, Broward County Library premiered the first streaming video fully produced in-house on its Web site www.broward.org/library.
The new Weston Branch opened on February 16. The new two-story, 50,000 square-foot building was funded by the bond issue. The Carver Ranches Branch opened on March 30 with six-day-aweek service. The refurbished building is funded by the bond issue.
In April, downloads of the online version of the library’s monthly magazine, Bookings, exceeded the print version.
In June, Broward County Library opened two branches in just a few weeks. The new Hollywood Branch Library also funded by the bond issue opened on June 8. The new building is two-story with a forward thinking design that will allow the building to increase to four stories in the future.
The new North Lauderdale Saraniero Branch opened on June 24. The new building is funded by the bond issue. The 20,000 square foot library offers service six days instead of five.
In Fiscal Year 2006 (October 2005 – September 2006), the traffic for Broward County Library’s website reached almost 1.8 million electronic visitors and almost 5.7 million page views. In comparison, in Fiscal Year 2005, 894,296 electronic visitors and 1.4 million page views were recorded.
On February 1, 2007, Broward County Library opened the first green building in Broward County -- the new South Regional/BC Library.
On October 26, 2007, the new West Regional Library opened to the public with almost 500 people at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
On March 22, 2008, the ground breaking ceremony for the new Lauderdale Lakes Library and Community Educational and Cultural Center took place. The new library will be located in the mixed-use BellaVista Community just east of 441 and Oakland Park Boulevard.
On September 4, 2008, the new Tyrone Bryant Branch Library opened to the public. The new library is almost double the size of the old facility with 10,000 square feet. The library can hold 40,000 items, offers public access computers, and a multipurpose room.
On September 25, 2008, the new Miramar Library and Education Center opened to the public. The library offers a collection of 65,000 new materials with total room for 100,000 items. The new library also features a multi-purpose room, a conference room, a children's storytelling and program room, tutoring areas, and quiet study spaces. Overall, 61 public use computers are available including a computer classroom with 24 computers.
The library offered Broward etutor, a free online one-on-one homework assistance tutoring service available to all Broward County library card holders especially for students and lifelong learners. The service is available seven days a week; it's confidential and available in Spanish and English. In addition, four new online databases were added and three significant service improvements to enhance the library's website, www.broward.org/library, were designed and implemented. These included a new left side Navigation Bar with subject-related materials under expandable headings, a Single Search capability, whereby customers can search multiple databases and catalogs at the same time and a new Best Seller web page and service. The E-Newsletter was expanded and E-Updates were added. Several additional special collections were digitized.
A Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant established four Literacy Help Centers at four branch libraries, a fifth branch, Lauderhill Towne Centre Library, received a literacy program through a grant from the Ann Jacobs Trust and the City of Sunrise funded an after school program for middle school students in Sunrise. These literacy programs complement and expand the eleven after school programs funded at eleven other branch libraries through a grant from the Children's Services Council of Broward County.
Customers with limited vision will now have the option of using large screen monitors and large print keyboards at all libraries.
"Cybrary" a 72 public Internet computer station facility opened on the seventh floor of the Main Library in December and by the close of 2009, the design and construction drawings for the new 55,000 square foot Children's Reading Center and Museum (Broward County Libraries and Young at Art, Inc.) and the new Dania Beach Branch Library were completed.
In 2009, Broward County Libraries surpassed then million visitors and circulated over eleven million items, the later, an all time record.
We completed the design and construction drawings for the new Children's Reading Center and Museum (with Young at Art) as well as for the new Dania Beach Branch. Ground breaking ceremonies for the new Dania Beach Branch will occur in January, 2010; for the Children's Reading Center in May, 2010.
With a third fewer staff positions and only a slightly diminished work load, an adaptive, stalwart, creative and highly efficient and productive Broward County Library staff continues to deliver library services to tens of thousands of library customers every day.
9.4 Million Walk-In Customers -- 90% Service Satisfaction Rating
In spite of reduced library hours and the elimination of Sunday service last year, except for partner library, the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center at Nova Southeastern University, library customers report high satisfaction with library services. The library staff gets the credit for this amazing success.
585,000 Customers Participated in 20,000 Library Programs
Library programs of many kinds serve our children, teens and adults annually. One extremely fine 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, this year featuring the works 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 total number of items checked-out. DVD use is 37% of total check-outs and downloadable e-books as a public 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 financial resources for new acquisitions have been flat for five years, public use of library materials continues to be strong.
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 twenty-one literacy, English learning and after-school programs for the children, teens and adults of Broward County. In addition, through other grants and the assistance of many volunteers, the library offered hundreds of free computer classes to over 14,000 library users. All of these efforts are part of the library’s commitment to improve the quality of life in Broward County, by helping our citizens learn, advance in life and in many cases, enter Broward County’s workforce.
Three Ground Breakings for New Libraries/
Davie began construction in the summer and the new 10,000 square foot Lauderdale Lakes Branch library opened. In November, ground breaking was accomplished for a new library in Lauderhill, which will be adjacent to the new Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, replacing the Lauderhill Mall Branch, another leased facility. We are also working on a replacement of the old Pompano Beach Branch. The new library will be on City property adjacent to City Hall and construction should begin in 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.
One New Library/One in Design
Beginning with the opening of Cybrary, a seventy station computer lab on the Main Library’s 7th floor in December 2009, and 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 a long held expensive lease. The new 57,000 square foot Young at Art Museum and Children’s Reading Center in
Library Technologies Advance
In mid- 2010, the library upgraded its library automated system to new software and hardware platforms, a system that handles over fifty million transactions annually. The system 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 presenting its best capabilities and features will appear in early 2011. With over 3,000 desktop 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, thirty e-book units were purchased for five branch libraries for public use.
Support Groups Make a Difference
Under extreme duress for years of declining County property tax and other revenues, the Broward Board of County Commissioners must be commended for keeping the entire Broward County ship afloat, as well as the Libraries Division. We also thank our hundreds of volunteers, the Broward Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library groups for supporting many library programs, services, collections, as well as making strong commitments towards employee training and employee conference attendance. These groups, in consort, have helped the library stabilize and continue to innovate.
What Will the Future Bring?
Main Library has been going under several renovation projects for the last pair of years, including a new roof, new elevators, new air handlers on one side of the building, replacement carpeting, ceilings, exterior and interior tile, fountain renovations and currently, replacement of the escalators. But the largest project will occur in 2011. By means of a federal grant, in addition to local funds, all of its windows will be replaced, bringing all windows and exterior doors up to the latest hurricane standards. This project will disrupt the operations of Main Library for one to two years. Also, a consultant was hired in mid- 2010 to assist the County and Libraries Division identify additional ways to become “more efficient” and reduce its funding level if that is determined to be necessary. The consultant report will doubtless impact the library and its budget for 2012 and beyond. Lastly, the Board of County Commissioners as part of the FY11 budget adoption, voted to consolidate the services, programs and collections of the Historical Commission with the Libraries Division.
Historical Commission Merges with Libraries Division
As part of the FY11 budget, the Board of County Commissioners voted to merge the Historical Commission with the Libraries Division. All three displaced employees of the Historical Commission were placed into County positions either in the library or another County agency. Existing programs, exhibits and events will continue as they were, including the annual Pioneer Days celebration which will be held next fall. The annual publication “Broward Legacy” will continue as well.
The Historical Commission facility houses exceptional collections related to the history of Broward County, including a 2,000 volume library, city directories dating from 1918, one thousand reels of microfilm, including early Fort Lauderdale newspapers, census schedules, aerial photographs and Seminole War records.
The collection also includes government documents, voter registration records from 1900, over 20,000 photographs, 300 oral history tapes, 1,200 maps and copies of the Historical Commission’s publication “Broward Legacy” back to 1976. There are also thousands of archeological artifacts.
The Libraries Division will work diligently and faithfully to ensure that the merger of the Historical Commission and the Libraries Division is positive and productive.
Dania Beach Branch library closed January 15
The old, leased Dania Beach Branch library closed January 15. The new library will open in the spring of 2011.
Literacy Help Center Expansion Grant $278,741
Broward County Library’s Literacy Help Centers (LHC) address the challenges posed by the swelling numbers of adults and children requesting literacy assistance, English language learning programs and computer access. The LHC’s provide an environment for underserved area youth and adults that offers literacy improvement opportunities and increases use of and access to computer technology. At each site, one part-time certified Literacy Coordinator manages the program on site, assists students in Grades K- 12 with homework, provides enhanced literacy and English language programs for adults, and provides youth and adults with computer technological instruction. The pilot LHC was developed in early 2009 at the Lauderhill Towne Centre Library with funds from the Ann Jacobs Trust and was expanded to four additional sites (African- American Research Library, Tyrone Bryant, Davie/Cooper City and Sunrise Dan Pearl) thru an LSTA grant in FY 2010. The project has been expanded again to four more sites (Lauderhill Mall, North Regional, Tamarac and West Regional) thanks to another $278,741 in LSTA funds for FY 11, bringing the total number of Literacy Help Centers to nine. Grant funds provide support in the form of part-time Literacy Coordinators, laptop computers, and educational software. This access to technology and literacy programming is critical to providing these communities adequate opportunities to develop the skills vital to academic and economic success.
Library E-Book Project
The E-Book Project is part of the Libraries Division’s commitment to demonstrate continuous improvement, technological advancement and innovative service delivery. Since 2009, Sony E-Readers have been available for check-out at the North Regional/Broward College and Miramar Libraries, as part of a Broward Public Library Foundation funded pilot program. Based on the success of this project, the Broward Public Library Foundation provided over $10,000 in additional funding for FY2011 to expand the E-Books Project to four more libraries (South Regional, Deerfield Beach, Northwest Regional and West Regional). Two Amazon Kindles, two Barnes & Noble Nooks and two Sony E-Readers are available at each library. The funding will also allow the libraries to download book titles upon request and market the program to the community. If all goes well, it is hoped and planned that the Library E-Book Project will expand.
Digital Books Significantly Expanded
Broward County Library has significantly expanded its offering of digital books with nearly 13,000 volumes and 9,800 unique titles currently available, including juvenile and young adult. The collection represents many different genres, such as mystery, romance, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, classic literature, biography, self-help, business, humor, history, health, travel, politics, and religion/spirituality. These digital books are compatible with most computers and portable devices with the exception of the Kindle, which is proprietary to Amazon.
New Dania Beach Branch Library
Named for long-time library advocate Paul DeMaio and opening Saturday, April 9, the new Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Branch Library, located at 1 Park Avenue East, in Dania Beach next to City Hall, is 10,000 square feet in size and will house a collection of over 40,000 library materials for public use. Along with a Group Study Room and space for the local chapter of the Friends of the Library, the building has a multi-purpose room that can seat 75 people. There will be 24 public Internet access computers for adults and children and the entire facility has wireless access to the Internet as well. The building was funded by the City of Dania Beach and Broward County. An adjacent parking garage was funded by the City. The new library will be visited by approximately 2,400 library customers weekly. Broward County is responsible for the operational costs of the building. The City is responsible for the exterior of the building including the maintenance of the parking facility. The building will be LEED’s certified for energy efficiency.
Expert staff from the Bienes Center for the Museum of the Modern Book, the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and the Historical Commission selected, assembled, indexed and organized, a new brochure entitled, "The Special Collections of the Broward County Libraries Division and the Historical Commission - An Overview and Guide." The library owns and manages millions of dollars of special collections, including books, printed material, maps, slides, oral histories and hundreds of artifacts. View and read about these collections.
Libraries Begin Using QR Codes
In mid-2011, the library began using QR (Quick Response) Codes to link to library collections, library publications or 15,000 public domain book titles. QR posters were displayed in libraries and in other locations in Broward County.
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.
View a brief slide show of some of the 2011’s activities and programs.
View pictures of all of Broward County Library facilities and partner Nova Southeastern University Library.
See Timeline for 2014
See Timeline for 2013
See Timeline for 2012