January 26, 2021

South Florida Libraries Write the Book on Reinvention

From the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Last year Palm Beach County’s 17-library system set a circulation record, with 9.1 million transactions, almost double the number from 2006, according to director John Callahan.

At the same time, said Callahan, “libraries have become gathering places. I see people come in with their laptops, people who could stay home, but they come because they want to interact with others in a pleasant environment.”

A year ago, the Broward County library system began rebranding itself as BCL-Wow, or library without walls, open around the clock. The makeover includes a sunburst logo featured in print ads, on bookmarks and brochures, bus station signs and library cards.

“Our goal has been to let people know we are more than just books,” said e-services manager Stephen Grubb. “Libraries continue to evolve, and anyone who says the library’s dead hasn’t been here for awhile.”

Indeed, a majority of almost any library’s traffic is now electronic. Each month the Broward system gets millions of hits on its website, and 6,000 unique visitors use its smartphone app, said Grubb. The library has seen a 1,000-percent increase in the number of e-book downloads in the last year.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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