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Free Music at Parks and on Buses Courtesy of the Library!
- Library director forms partnerships to deliver services -
BROWARD COUNTY, FL - Broward County Libraries Director Kelvin Watson, who took the helm in February 2017, is forming unique partnerships with other divisions in Broward County Government to bring library services out of the branches and into the streets – quite literally, with Broward County Transit (BCT) and the Parks and Recreation Division.
“Today’s public libraries are not just places for customers to check out books, attend a book discussion, take a child to a story time or conduct research,” says Watson. “They are also content providers comparable to in-demand, for-pay services such as Netflix, Apple Music and Spotify.”  
Working collaboratively, Director Watson, Dan West, Director of the Parks and Recreation Division, and Chris Walton, Director of BCT, were able to give Broward County residents triple value for their tax dollars but providing a single resource in multiple venues. Through the ‘Fresh Air + Fresh Music’ program, in a joint venture proposed by Broward County Libraries (BCL) to BCT and the Parks Division, BCL provided access to free music and spoken word, bringing its digital resource Freegal to BCT customers, and to visitors of two of Broward County’s most popular parks, Reverend Samuel Delevoe and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee).
An early priority of Director Watson was to expand the Libraries’ service range to reach unengaged, potential customers outside of libraries, particularly those who were not traditional library users. In keeping with an objective to “invite the uninvited,” BCL extended its privileges, together with an invitation to library membership, to those using other County services but unaware of the treasure trove offered by a 21st century public library.

Beginning in September 2017, a BCL partnership program was in place with Mass Transit and its success was recently replicated in April 2018 with the Parks and Recreation Division. Commuters and park visitors were educated by signage on-site about the amenities offered at the Library, thus piquing their interest in a way that was cost-effective to Broward County and an enhancement of the excellent service they were already receiving in transit and at play.   

Dan West, Director of the Parks and Recreation Division, says about this new initiative, “Collaboration is key to providing new amenities for our visitors. The ‘Fresh Air + Fresh Music’ partnership with Libraries is just one example of how Broward County agencies can work together and engage guests with additional free services – downloading music to listen to while getting a workout in outdoor fitness areas.”  

This new, synergistic manner of delivering Library resources dramatically improved the Transit and Parks customer experience. Commuters and nature lovers were empowered to access free Wi-Fi provided by BCT on its Express and Breeze routes, and in Broward parks, to acquire up-to-minute music releases and creating on-the-spot playlists for traveling, exercising and enjoying entertainment without a price tag.

“Broward County Transit (BCT) welcomes the partnership, with Broward County Libraries, to deliver additional services to our community. Teamwork is paramount to meeting the county’s growing needs. Currently, BCT provides free WI-FI on our Express and Breeze routes which gives our customers access to the Libraries Division free music program.  We are working on installing free WI-FI on all BCT buses and providing additional amenities that create a greater transit experience for our customers,” says BCT Director, Chris Walton.

Participants were surprised to learn that Freegal, accessed online at the BCL webpage or via its mobile app, affords BCL customers access to hundreds of genres of music, thousands of artists, tens of thousands of albums and millions of songs, including 28,000 music labels and 15,000 music videos or that BCL offers unlimited daily streaming and six free song downloads a week that never expire. Non-library users envisioned a collection with a few dusty racks of CDs.

The Library’s efforts to expand access to existing Broward County Library services, develop new intergovernmental collaborations and strengthen current ones is an ongoing process with more innovative connections ahead. “Broward County Library continually strives to exceed their customers’ expectations and to offer them content when and where they want it,” says Watson.


About Broward County Libraries Division
Broward County Libraries Division
, named 2015 Library of the Year by the Florida Library Association, was founded in 1974 and is the largest library system in Florida by square footage and one of the busiest, with more than 7.5 million walk-in customers visiting its 38 locations annually. Broward County Libraries Division provides convenient access to a full range of innovative and cost-effective services that satisfy the changing needs of the people of Broward County for information, education and recreation. Visit our website,
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DATE: April 18, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Catherine McElrath
Libraries Division    
PHONE: 954-357-7402