eNews • December 20, 2017
BCL eNews

2017 at Broward County Library – It Was a Very Good Year!

With a new director at the helm and a host of new projects and initiatives, we celebrated 12 great months of success and innovation in 2017!


Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library expands its operating hours by opening on Saturdays from 10AM to 6PM, one of 20 library locations that have increased service hours or days since June 2016.

book "the namesake"The 2017 NEA Big Read, a community-wide reading project, explored the novel The Namesake by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, with a full calendar of events including book and film discussions, lectures, writing and visual arts workshops, Indian cultural programs and other fun, family-friendly programs.


kelvin watsonWe welcome Kelvin Watson, our new library director. Prior to coming to Broward, Kelvin was the Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President for Queens Library in New York City, which serves 2.3 million people and circulates among the highest numbers of books and other library materials in the country. Watson is credited with innovative community outreach to establishments whose clientele have not been active patrons of the library such as community centers, hospitals and jails. His background in addressing the digital divide helped library customers understand how to use technology and realize how these tools can impact their lives.

The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center’s amazing exhibit, The Harlem Renaissance - The Great Expression, opens. This large-scale exhibit celebrates the creativity and cultural impact of the Harlem Renaissance with museum-style displays, a motion sensor avatar experience and a virtual reality trip through the Harlem Renaissance with the aid of an Oculus Rift headset.

The Pembroke Pines Library/Walter C. Young Resource Center increases its service days by opening on Saturdays.


Laura Vaccaro SeegerBrian PinkneyThe Annual Conference on Children’s Literature and Ashley Bryan Art Series at Main Library celebrates its 30th and 15th anniversaries, respectively. Guest speakers for this milestone year include award-winning, New York Times bestselling children’s book author Laura Vaccaro Seeger and award-wining children’s book illustrator Brian Pinkney.


What's your wowIn celebration of National Library Week (April 9-15), we create a new public awareness campaign that asks our customers – What's Your WOW?  We encourage customers to let us know via social media or email how we’ve have transformed them or improved their life in some way. 


summer learning program 2017Our Summer Learning Program kicks off with the theme of “Build a Better World.” The community is invited to enjoy exciting activities, register for our learning program and meet reading and learning goals to win fun prizes.

The Coffee and Conversation with a Librarian program which is held at Main Library is recognized by the National Association of Counties for Achievement and was chosen as one of the Country's top 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work. Coffee and Conversation is a weekly program that builds bridges with the homeless community. It offers an opportunity for persons experiencing homelessness and other customers to informally meet with a librarian and social service providers to discuss topics or concerns over a cup of coffee. Plans are also made to expand this program in 2018 to other libraries throughout Broward.

Stirling Road Library begins opening on Sundays. We now have eight library locations open seven days a week.

We launch Veterans Connect Hotspot Program, an innovative initiative that provides 450 free WiFi hotspots to local veterans, active military members and their dependents. The free hotspots provide unlimited access to T-Mobile's 4G LTE network and increase access to information and technology for their users.

creation station businessCreation Station Business begins hosting free networking socials on the third Tuesday of the month that bring together entrepreneurs, industry professionals and small business owners.



The South Florida Book Festival at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center celebrates "Book Life" with an exciting line-up of authors, journalists, speakers and presenters. This three-day event features writing and natural hair-care workshops, book signings and presentations, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, panel discussions, guest speakers and more.

active learning centerMain Library’s Active Learning Center (ALC) opens. The ALC is a free, educationally-rich children's play space that provides developmentally appropriate play activities to promote school readiness. Designed to look like a seaside village, it provides children up to age five the opportunity to cook and clean in the playhouse, shop at miniature stores, play on a boat in a Big Blue Ocean, cuddle sea animals in Baby Bay, ride a train downtown, perform shows on a stage and explore countless bins of books and building and play materials.   


bcl fitBCLfit: Broward County Library Wellness Resource Centers, a new family health and wellness initiative, open at the African-American Research Library & Cultural Center and North Lauderdale Saraniero Branch Library. BCLfit offers free weekly appointments with a nutritionist, fitness instructor and fitness trainer. The program also includes fitness equipment such as pedometers, fitness trackers, jump ropes and Frisbees that participants can check out from either BCLFit location.

The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is selected to serve as one of two pilot sites in a three-year study called Project BUILD (Building Using an Interactive Learning Design). The Space Science Institute's National Center for Interactive Learning, the University of Virginia and the American Society of Civil Engineers were awarded a $1.1 million-dollar grant. This grant provides funding to develop and implement programs that helps engage students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). This includes meetings between families, librarians and engineers as well as a series of engineering-related children’s events.  



Library staff lend a helping hand before, during and after Hurricane Irma. They manage and support emergency evacuation shelters, work at the County Call Center, hand out ice and water to the public, help customers connect with FEMA, lend tablets and mobile internet hotspots and reopen libraries as quickly as possible.

Kelvin Watson receives DEMCO awardBroward County Libraries Director Kelvin Watson wins the Demco/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship. The award recognizes significant accomplishments that promote the status of African American librarians in the profession, or the development and implementation of resources and services for the African American community.



your id is your keyWe partner with Broward County Public Schools to provide all public school students with a new BCL Digital Direct Library Card. Students can now use their student ID number as their digital card and access a world of free educational resources including free online, live tutoring and test preparation. 



guys using mobile devicesCustomers can now check out the GoChip, a small, rechargeable device, the size of a mini-flashlight, loaded with a full season of binge-worthy TV shows including Breaking Bad, Outlander, The Shield and more. Content is beamed to personal devices without an Internet connection and up to eight people can watch different episodes on eight different devices simultaneously. We are the first library in Florida, the first in the Southeast and one of the first 12 libraries nationwide currently offering the GoChip to customers.



A collaboration with Broward County Transit allows bus riders to download free music from Broward County Library. Riders can use their Broward County Library card to access the library’s collection of millions of free songs, download them their phones or other devices and keep them forever


Meet Super Fan Philip Abrams

phillip abramsPhilip Abrams is not a man to be idle at any age…even at 95-plus-years-old! Ask any of his awestruck customers at Weston Library, where he has volunteered for the last decade.

Over the course of his long and healthy life, Philip Abrams has always looked for a way to be of service to others. Daughter Carolyn Krimer describes him as “just a very good man.” As a youth, he graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and took that expertise to the front in World War II, serving in an Army medical unit at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Attached to the 7th Army Division, Abrams was awarded a bronze star for his willingness to do whatever was needed during that epic encounter.

After his military service, Abrams owned a pharmacy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, outside Harvard Square, where he served customers and trained pharmacy students from around the world until he retired to Florida. When his wife of 60 years passed away, Philip Abrams went in search another type of connection, becoming a Weston Library volunteer.

As someone who has always been a reader and loves books, working at the Friends Bookstore at his local branch seemed a perfect fit. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Abrams can be found at the bookstore making change, suggesting titles and keeping the shelves stocked. His own reading material these days runs to fiction titles for pleasure, much of which he reads on his Kindle. He also enjoys reading articles from The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, which he discusses with his son every morning.

His daughter Carolyn considers her dad’s time volunteering at the library to be “a very important aspect of being mentally well” and staying sharp. Abrams is self-sufficient, drives himself around town and enjoys a close family connection, which includes dining with his daughter’s family for lunch and dinner – which he sometimes makes himself. He is the proud patriarch of his extended family, with five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, including his great-granddaughter, who is studying to be a physician’s assistant at his alma mater.   

His prescription for a great life? Walking every morning, serving country and community, reading and staying engaged as a Broward County Library Friends volunteer!  

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Hours Update

Beginning January 1st, Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library will be open from 1 to 9PM on Wednesdays.  

Broward County Library branches with regularly scheduled Sunday hours will close at 6PM on Sunday, December 24th and remain closed through Monday, December 25th. For New Year's Day, those Broward County Libraries with regularly scheduled Sunday hours will close at 6PM on Sunday, December 31st and remain closed through Monday, January 1, 2018. The NSU-Alvin Sherman Library will be open on Sunday, December 24th and Sunday, December 31st from 7:30AM until 8PM; they are closed Monday, December 25th and Monday, January 1, 2018. Customers can visit the County Library's website or download the Libraries' free mobile app, BCL WOW, to search the online catalog, place holds, and renew selected materials.

Save These Dates...

  • Chalk Lit: Broward County’s Inaugural Chalk Art Festival and Big Read Kick-off Event: Free, family-friendly event featuring music, interactive art, children’s chalking, crafting and live street chalk art, January 13th, 10AM-5PM, Main Library
  • LitLUNCH! The Broward Public Library Foundation welcomes author and entrepreneur India Hicks as the guest author. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased online at BPLFoundation.org/LitLUNCH-2018  or by calling 954-357-7382. February 2nd, 11:15AM-1:30PM, Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale
  • #DestinationFridays – Mardi Gras: Celebrate the sights and sounds of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festival, February 2nd, 6:30-9:30PM, African-American Research Library​​ & Cultural Center

public artwork

(click image to enlarge)

Art Spot: Can you name the library branch where this public art is located?


  • Artist:  John Pitman Weber & Nina Smoot Cain
  • Titles: “Tomato History of ---” and “Animal Tales”
  • Medium:  Mosaic
  • Year Installed:  2009

The entrance to the branch is spanned by two free-form mosaics depicting leaves, vines and tomatoes, one a nod to the city’s agricultural history as “The Tomato Capital of the World,” the other a representation of local mangroves. The children’s area displays three arresting mosaics, portraying characters of fables from many cultures. The tales of Aesop, Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Mother Goose and Native American legend are shown against a colorful, geometric background. 

Come back next week for the answer!


public artwork 

The answer to last week's Art Spot, Grus Pacifica by Harry Reese, is located at... Hollywood Library.



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