DATE: November 21, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Commission
When you think of Broward County Libraries, free-standing buildings with books, computers and other media may come to mind. In fact, nearly 30,000 people a day use Broward libraries and throughout the year more than five million library books are in circulation. But, behind those library walls is a tale that needs to be told. We call it BCL WOW or Broward County Library—Without Walls.
Broward County provides a virtual library that grows in popularity as our culture increasingly makes use of computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones for just about everything. Broward County has the ability to bring a virtual library right into your own home. Broward’s library website receives 700,000 electronic visitors a month.
“Broward County Library services continue to evolve to meet the information needs of our customers. We need to be available 24 hours a day,” said Broward County Library Director Robert Cannon in his Best of Broward presentation to the Broward County Commission.
Library card holders can renew books online, download e-books and audio books and have instant access to a variety of journals. More than 119,000 e-books and audio books were downloaded last year, a 1000-percent increase from the year before. There is also a wide variety of downloadable music, songs that never expire and students can access help with their homework using their computer, smart phone or tablet. The library also has a free mobile application that allows you to learn 80 different languages while on the go. The virtual library can also help your career. “For those who are looking for a job, there is access to free live expert coaches for every stage of a job search. We provide online interactive resume writing assistance and interview coaching to help someone land that next job,” said Cannon.
Coming soon BCL WOW will offer a free application that will work on all smart phones allowing the customer to search for and reserve material, renew books and find the nearest library. “Our libraries now have capabilities that we never thought possible 20 or 30 years ago,” said Cannon. “You can now bring the library with you wherever you go. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!”
Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger noted that she used the virtual library services to learn a little Portuguese prior to her economic trade mission to Brazil. Commissioner Stacy Ritter described the Library Without Walls as “amazing and fantastic.” As an avid reader, she says she’s saved lots of money.
“I have spent hundreds of dollars on books, but now I have discovered authors I would have never read before, because I can do it for free instead of spending $25 or more for a book,” said Ritter. Commissioner Lois Wexler reminded everyone that while library services are free, in the long run Broward taxpayers do fund the library system.
The “Best of Broward” presentation features a Broward County agency each month during one of the weekly County Commission meetings. Meetings take place the first four Tuesdays of each month beginning at 10 a.m. The meetings are webcast and televised on participating cable channels. For more information, visit broward.org/commission and for more information on Broward County libraries, visit broward.org/library.