Serving the Community
Broward County Library has grown quickly in a relatively short period of time. Twenty years ago, there was no system, and only 14 libraries existed in the county. As the population has grown, the library system has too. In 1994-95, the library’s holdings totaled 2,165,163 items. More than 3,138,197 reference questions were answered, and 309,819 people attended programs held at the library and its branches. Although annual circulation had actually been dropping slightly in recent years, the circulation for 1994-95 (6,831,601) represents an increase over the previous year’s statistics. Most of the library’s annual budget comes from county tax dollars, but approximately five percent of its annual revenue comes from other sources, including state aid, and federal and municipal monies. Per capita support for the library is significant–$22.78. The people of Broward County like and use the library and are willing to pay for it.
Samuel Morrison, the library’s director since 1990, takes pride in the fact that the library is viewed as a cultural center. “Libraries,” he says, “have become more than buildings with books; they are exciting places with unlimited future possibilities.” The Broward County Library looks to the future aggressively, and programming reflects the library’s commitment to serving the county’s diverse cultural heritage. Throughout all of the branches, design and architectural consideration is given to space for programs, meetings, and social activities. When the library decided to construct the main building downtown in 1984, the decision was considered controversial because the downtown area was small and in decline. The city center is now flourishing, with tall buildings and busy streets. Downtown has become the nexus of commerce and culture, and people credit the library with helping to make that possible.