In 1984, Broward County Library celebrated its tenth year, a decade filled with both tremendous growth and enormous challenges. Broward County Library was coming into its own, expanding physically and increasing its access and services to even more members of the community. Now it was time to increase Broward County Library's visibility on South Florida's - and the national - literary scene. So, the idea for Florida Center for the Book was born.
Former Florida Center for the Book Director Jean Trebbi pursued the idea for a center -- the first center developed outside of the Library of Congress -- that would celebrate the literary heritage of Florida, bring readers and writers together, and to promote books, reading and libraries; and was established in 1984 as the first affiliate of The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Since then, Centers for the Book have been developed in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.
The original Center for the Book was established in 1977 in Washington D.C.'s Library of Congress as a focal point for promoting the legacy of books and the printed word. Outside of the library, the center works closely with other organizations to foster understanding of reading, books, and literacy in society. On behalf of books, the Center for the Book serves as an advocate, a catalyst and a source of ideas, both nationally and internationally.
Located at the Broward County Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, Florida Center for the Book strives to bring enriching literary experiences to readers throughout Florida through various avenues, including linking networks of individuals and organizations interested in books as well as developing and presenting a wide range of literary programs. In the years since its inception, it has offered a dazzling array of presentations including:
- Letters About Literature Writing Contest, a national contest that invites students to write to an author and explain how the authors' book changed the student's life.
- Evenings with the Author, where nationally renowned authors discuss their work with readers in a casual setting.
- Writers Workshops for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more.
- Florida Literary Landmarks, seventeen important Florida literary sites designated by the Friends of Libraries U.S.A., many of which are sponsored by Florida Center for the Book.
Along with these in-house programs, Florida Center for the Book has free traveling exhibits that can be borrowed. The two current exhibits are
- Hemingway in Florida and Cuba, a 16-panel framed exhibit that features photographs of Hemingway's life from 1929 to 1960, illustrated with text highlighting key events of this time.
- Tennessee Williams Retrospective, a 16-panel exhibit highlighting the life and work of Tennessee Williams through text and photographs.
Additionally, Florida Center for the Book has published the guide Florida Literary Landmarks as well as other books, both in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the State Library of Florida.
For more information contact Michael Bryant at Mdbryant@broward.org