Continued from page 1.
Our libraries are keeping pace with changes in technology and evolving resident needs. Nearly 30,000 people a day use Broward County Libraries, and check out more than 5 million books per year.
Meanwhile, the explosive growth of the Internet and mobile devices have transformed libraries from the traditional brick and mortar facilities to a 24/7 Broward County Library Without Walls (BCL-WoW). The library website receives 700,000 electronic visitors a month.
A new BCL WoW mobile app for smartphones provides customers with the ability to search for and reserve material, renew books, find the nearest library, browse and download eBooks and audiobooks. Residents can now check out e-readers, and pay library fines and fees online with a credit card.
A Cyber-Commons computer lab was opened at the Main Library, providing customers with access to 120 public use computers. There are now more than 2,000 public use computers available throughout the library system.
Digital collections feature rare books, artifacts, exhibits and special collection materials online. From digitized publications and artifacts, Broward County Library issued three in-house published eBooks.
Libraries received more than $725,000 in grants to continue popular after-school and “Career Connect” programs. To help meet the needs of the growing number of people working from home or running home-based businesses, an extensive offering of free and nominal fee business assistance and support services now includes fax services, free public-use computers for cardholders and residents, meeting rooms, printing/copying, online business resources, business workshops, and assistance for the small business community both online and at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.
The Historical Commission celebrated four decades of honoring Broward County pioneers at its 40th Annual Pioneer Day event. More than 2,000 pioneers have been honored since the inception of the program.
Parks and Recreation
The County’s award-winning network of almost 50 regional parks, nature centers, neighborhood parks and natural areas hosted more than 7.8 million visitors in 2012, a 37 percent increase over 2011.
A needs assessment study was conducted to gather public input, which identified key issues facing parks, along with recommended strategies for addressing these issues.
The Parks and Recreation Division was reaccredited by the National Recreation and Park Association after meeting 100 percent of the national standards for parks and recreation excellence.
In June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission returned management of Everglades Holiday Park to Broward County. Park upgrades and improvements are well underway.
Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium hosted the Digicel 2012 West Indies vs. New Zealand cricket series, the first official professional cricket match in the United States. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out to watch the competition. A business plan for the park and stadium has been completed that explores new strategies for attracting business to the facility.
Working with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, parks staff restored the historic Carpenter House in Hollywood. Ecological restoration of the site is ongoing.
Phase I of the Miramar Pineland design-build project is ongoing and includes pedestrian trails, information kiosks, a playground and picnic facilities.
A Parks Community Partnership and Outreach Program was formed to administer activities involving corporate partners, friends groups, grants and volunteers. One corporate workday resulted in more than 40 volunteers providing 126 hours of service to assist in painting, landscaping and maintenance of park grounds and horse trails.
In a collaboration with municipalities, more than 50 events were offered in support of Bicycle Month in March 2012.