For the fourth time, the Sanibel Public Library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the country. America’s Star Libraries presents an overall indication of how a library’s performance stacks up to peers, measuring computer usage, circulation, program attendance and library visits. “The Library is an excellent organization and on behalf of the Board, I want to thank the public and staff for making it so,” said Tom Krekel, Library District Board Vice President.
Sanibel Public Library has also won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year from 2014 to 2017. The Florida Weekly rated it ‘Best Library’ in their 2012 ‘Best of Southwest Florida’ issue.
“The award is a result of several things working together: the welcoming volunteers and staff, community support, and the strong leadership of the Library Board,” Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro said.
The LJ Index rates U.S. public libraries based on selected per capita output measures, from data released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for fiscal year 2015. This year, 7,409 U.S. public libraries qualified to be rated in the Index, but only 259 received three, four, or five-Star designations. Three of the Star Libraries are in Florida– Sanibel, New Port Richey, and Lake Park.
LJ Index scores measure the levels of library service delivery relative to peer libraries nationally. Sanibel Public Library’s expenditure category peers include the Star-award winning libraries in Darien, Connecticut and Telluride, Colorado.
This year Library Journal also based the star rating on circulation of electronic materials. Sanibel Public Library’s eShelf was originally funded in 2010 with a grant from the Sanibel Library Foundation, to provide bestseller eBooks and audiobooks. The following year the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club provided funds for an eBook business collection. Since 2011 the eShelf usage has grown by 20 percent every year, and more than 43,000 eBooks have been checked out in the past six years, including 9,000 audiobooks. Sanibel Public Library offers several e-reader apps; including Hoopla for downloadable eBooks, movies, music and audiobooks as well as Libby from OverDrive.
The Library also offers Mango – an online language learning tool. Downloadable magazines are available through the RB digital app. Library cardholders can also use the popular on-demand video streaming service Kanopy. Sanibel Public Library was the first public library in the State of Florida to offer “Tech IT Out” service—a kiosk where patrons can borrow MacBook Air and Dell laptops for use in the Library. These eShelf services are offered to Sanibel Public Library cardholders at no extra charge. Major funding for new technology is provided by the Sanibel Public Library Foundation and its generous donors.
The Library, partnering with the Sanibel Public Library Foundation, is also celebrating ten successful years in bringing high caliber, best-selling authors to Sanibel. Past guests of the Author Series include Joyce Carol Oates, Sue Monk Kidd, Jodi Picoult, Clive Cussler, Lee Child, Dennis Lehane, and Margaret Atwood. Sanibel Public Library Foundation President Ken Nirenberg was awarded the 2013 Library Advocate of the Year Award for his support and advocacy for the Library.
Sanibel Public Library loans cooking kits for patrons to check out and take home. The Library’s reference area offers general research help, as well as access to many databases, including Morningstar investment services, NewsBank, Consumer Reports, and Ancestry.com.
The first phase of the “Your Library Reimagined” project is almost complete at Sanibel Public Library. During the project, a portion of the building is closed to the public while the infrastructure is updated. The Library will provide service through the renovation period, but will occasionally have to close for a day or two when there is utility work. The project has been in planning since 2015, with public input gathered via focus groups and public meetings. The Library Board has set a budget of $5.9 million, the cost for this project will be covered by Library reserves, grants, and gifts.
Sanibel Public Library cards are available to all residents of Sanibel and Lee County, Florida, at no charge. Visitor library cards are available for a $10 annual fee.