The Context

The Broward County Library system, unlike many other case study sites, is relatively new. It grew out of a handful of municipal libraries only 20 years ago and has been able to establish itself and plan for the future without the encumbrance of old systems, structures, and expectations. The library system’s buildings and technologies are new, but more striking, its general approach to the community is innovative and creative.

The main library occupies a central site in downtown Fort Lauderdale in the midst of bank and office buildings. The branches serve diverse neighborhoods throughout the county, and the Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN) regional network–which links Broward with three other counties in south Florida–provides a connection with the Internet and the World Wide Web. The library’s mission is stated simply: “to provide in a cost efficient manner a full range of quality library services to its diverse community.” Reflecting that mission, the library is committed to providing “free, convenient and equal access to information in useful formats; creating environments which foster life-long learning, personal enrichment and a literate society; [and] strengthening information partnerships through resource sharing and actively promoting library services, programs and materials to the community.”