CLR Case Studies–Broward County Library

Challenges and Opportunities


There are many challenges for the Broward County Library system, now and in the years to come, not the least of which are the changing nature of the community it serves and the shifting demography in that community. Upgrading the pioneering SEFLIN network from a text-based service to a graphical, World Wide Web-based environment also presents a significant challenge. Although the library administration, which is highly praised in the county for all it has accomplished, has embraced technology as a tool for easing the delivery of information, the profusion of dedicated terminals observed by Council staff in early 1996 suggests that technology may not always be as easy as it seems. Information providers are speaking with different voices and in different tongues. In late 1996, the library expects to begin installation of a networked solution to the problem of multiple information sources on multiple stand-alone machines. The library is on a springboard, ready to take a leap that will ensure that access to electronic information is not limited to those who can visit the main library building downtown. Once Broward’s impressive plan for networking is fully implemented it will have an information delivery system rivaled by few.

A carefully wrought strategic plan is moving the library and its programs forward through 1998. Before the plan is fully implemented, efforts will have to be made to begin a new planning process. So far, the library and its leadership have maintained a balance between traditional services and innovative technological advances. The library, as stated in its current strategic plan, believes that “through technology, libraries can achieve the vision of offering information service when, where and how it is requested by the public.” The library system places high importance on state-of-the-art facilities and technological improvements. The Broward County Library system is moving forward at a fast pace. The next few years, which promise more planning and growth, will determine whether the library system can integrate traditional library services and modern information technology to become what it most desires to be: “Broward’s Information Gateway.”

From the publication Public Libraries, Communities, and Technology: Twelve Case Studies, published by The Council on Library Resources, ©1996. For more information contact
The Council on Library Resources, 1400 16th Street NW,
Suite 715, Washington DC, 20036. Phone (202) 939-3370. Fax (202) 939-3499.

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