Sanibel’s award-winning public library earned another accolade – TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame, for achieving its Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. SPL has won the Certificate of Excellence every year since 2014.
In May 2019 Sanibel Public Library learned it was one of the national winners of Beanstack’s Second Annual Winter Reading Challenge. Beanstack is a web-based or mobile app, where participants can track their reading. Sanibel Public Library received $500 to support its general book budget.
Sanibel’s Winter Reading Challenge was to read at least 3,000 hours over the month of January 2019. The program, sponsored by billionaire investor and Shark Tank personality Mark Cuban, challenged 250 U.S. libraries to meet a collective goal of reading at least 5 million minutes and 75,000 books in January 2019. A total of 46 participants registered locally for the program, reading for a combined total of 30,331 minutes.
In November 2018, Sanibel Public Library was recognized for the fifth time 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.
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 a decade of 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, Lisa Scottoline, and Margaret Atwood.
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 Florida Weekly rated it ‘Best Library’ in their 2012 ‘Best of Southwest Florida’ issue. Sanibel Public Library Foundation President Ken Nirenberg was awarded the 2013 Florida Library “Advocate of the Year” award for his support and advocacy for the 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.