For the fifth 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.
“Sanibel has earned the Star Library award for so many years that it’s easy to take for granted. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the Library staff and volunteers who make it such a special place, the Foundation for funding our pilot projects and finishing touches, and the patrons who make the award possible,” said Sandy Zahorchak, Library District Board Commissioner.
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 2016. This year, 7,361 U.S. public libraries were scored with 257 libraries receiving stars.
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; Westhampton New York; and Telluride, Colorado.
“This award is a reflection of our community’s use of the library and we can all be proud of the level of quality needed in order to win this award,” said Library District Board Commissioner Melanie Congress.
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. New in 2018, cardholders can download music with the Freegal app.
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, Amor Towles, 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 has also won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year from 2014 to 2018
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 “Your Library Reimagined” project is almost complete at Sanibel Public Library.
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.