State library rankings are out, and your Sanibel Public Library ranks at or near the top of Florida in many areas including materials borrowed, program attendance, and percentage of population with a Library card. The 2020 ratings are based on FY 2018 Florida Library Statistics, which measures 82 libraries/library systems in the state.

The high ranking is due to wonderful support from the Island community and visitors who value cultural activities, reading, and lifelong learning. The library can also attribute success to a publicly-elected Library Board of Commissioners who ensure budget and infrastructure are in place to support strong services; outstanding staff with customer service as its core value; the private Sanibel Public Library Foundation grant support for enhancements to the Library (such as Author Series, cutting edge technology, youth programming, volunteers, and more).

Sanibel Public Library was ranked number one per capita (per 1,000) for: circulation (number of books or items borrowed), availability of print, audio, video, and other material to check out, staff service availability, local and state operating revenue, and square footage availability.

Sanibel Public Library ranks at or near the top in Florida in many areas* including: 

 
Circulation/Checkout #1  
Percentage of Population with Library Cards #1  
Materials in All Formats (availability of print, audio, video) #1  
Collection Expenditure #1  
Local and State Operating Revenue #1  
Square Footage Availability #1  
Library Visits #2  
Youth Circulation #3  
Reference Q&A #3  
Program Attendance #4  

Melanie Congress, Library District Board of Commissioners President, said “Executive Director Margaret Mohundro and the knowledgeable and dedicated staff encourage development of new services, technology initiatives, and staff creativity to help serve the needs of Library patrons. The high state rankings confirm Sanibel Public Library’s high level of service, and it’s another indicator of how much our community values our Library.”

“We strive to provide the resources people need and want, and we are incredibly fortunate our community supports us as we innovate, try new things, and adapt to changing needs of patrons,” said Congress.

Sanibel Public Library has been at or near the top ranking for about 15 years. It has also won national Star Library Awards (top 200 public libraries of 9,000 measured nationally) for five of the last 10 years. The Library has been #1 on TripAdvisor for “Things to Do on Sanibel” many times, has won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2014, earning Hall of Fame status on the site.

*The State Library of Florida based ratings on estimates of population, University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research; Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services; and U.S Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Sanibel Public Library collection focuses on new and bestselling fiction and nonfiction, as well as subjects of particular interest to Islanders including history; travel; lifestyle such as cooking, decorating, and gardening; health, biographies; and current events.

The Library has remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic by offering 24/7/365 download and streaming services, as well as providing assistance via telephone and email regarding readers’ advisory, Library web site assistance, and more. After the State of Florida’s stay-at-home mandate at the end of April, the building reopened to the public in early June, closing briefly in August for a deep cleaning. The Library follows safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, Florida government, and public library national standard practices.

“The Library put into place contact-free curbside pickup service so users could comfortably pick up their print books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and more while practicing social distancing. This service is working very well,” said Candy Heise Library Adult Services Coordinator.

The FY 2020-21 budget, including gifts and grants, is $2,445,881. The Sanibel Public Library District is an independent special district serving Sanibel with a publicly-elected Board of seven members. The Library ranks at or near the top among all Florida public libraries for checkouts, visits, program attendance, Internet use and more; and it is regularly awarded high rankings among the 9,000-plus public library systems in America.

“As Library Commissioners our job is to provide due diligence and ensure our tax investment is being well-spent, and we continually monitor expenses,” said Board Treasurer Linda Estep. “We maintain and expand services and look for efficiencies in all areas, particularly in technology and utilities,” she added.

The Public Library is open for normal hours, and its very popular contactless curbside service continues, with hundreds of bags going out to patrons each week. Call or go online to place a hold, you will be notified when your items are ready for pickup.

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. For more information about the Sanibel Public Library, call (239) 472-2483

Best way to ensure you get Library news? Sign up for the email announcements and monthly newsletter at: bit.ly/SPLnew5.

*Sources: Florida Estimates of Population, University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research; Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services; U.S Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Other Awards, achievements, and accolades: 

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. 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.

Thanks to reviewers, Sanibel Public Library is a 2020 Travelers’ Choice winner from TripAdvisor!  The Library has won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2014, earning Hall of Fame status. Certificate of Excellence honorees are now celebrated on TripAdvisor as Travelers’ Choice winners — selected for placing among the top 10% of all listings on TripAdvisor.

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.

Contactless Curbside Service Continues:

Sanibel Public Library encourages and welcomes use of its collections and services. The Library has remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic by offering 24/7/365 download and streaming services, as well as providing assistance via telephone and email regarding readers’ advisory, Library website assistance, and more. After the State of Florida’s stay-at-home mandate at the end of April 2020, the building reopened to the public in early June, closing briefly in August for a deep cleaning. The Library follows safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, Florida government, and public library national standard practices.

“The Library put into place contact-free curbside pickup service so users could comfortably pick up their print books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and more while practicing social distancing. This service is working very well,” said Candy Heise Library Adult Services Coordinator.

The Library is continuing the very popular Contactless Curbside Service for materials requested on hold. More than 5,000 items have been placed on hold since May 1. About 40 to 50 bags go out to the tables for pickup each day.

You can place item(s) on hold online, or make requests by calling the Library at (239) 472-2483. You will be notified when your items are ready for pickup. Patrons will have three days (excluding Saturday and Sunday) to pick up items. Pickup time is weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. If you are unable to pick up your hold(s) within those three days, please call the SPL at 239-472-2483, or email reference@sanlib.org.

There is a table set up outside the first sliding door entrance of the Library’s parking garage. The bags are in alphabetical order. Items will already be checked out and in a green bag with patron’s name on it.

The Library has many copies of new fiction, you can place a hold online in the Library catalog: Click here to search the catalog.

Patrons may return items to a book drop; one is located outside the west front entrance, the other is located in the second parking garage. Returned materials will be quarantined for a minimum of 24 hours.

The Library loans cooking kits for patrons to check out and take home, click here to borrow a Cooking Kit.

Interlibrary Loan is available. All user fees have been waived at this time, there will be no overdue fines assessed.

eBooks, Apps, and Other eShelf Services:

Sanibel Public Library card holders can borrow eBooks and audiobooks via the OverDrive Libby app. Your PIN should be the last four digits of your Sanibel Public Library card number. Check out the “Hints & Tips” for OverDrive Libby here: https://sanlib.org/2020/03/01/libby_overdrive_hints_tips/

The Hoopla Digital app also allows users to stream movies, TV shows, comics, and music. With Hoopla all material can be accessed simultaneously (no holds).

The Library also offers Mango – an online language learning tool. Mango has more than 70 languages and dialects, including English. Mango can be used on a desktop or offline on a mobile device.

More than 70 choices of downloadable magazines are available through the RB digital app where you can access newspapers via the PressReader app.

Library cardholders can also use the popular on-demand video streaming service Kanopy. Kanopy showcases more than 30,000 documentaries, indie films, and classic movies.

The Library’s own SanLibMobile app helps you search the Library’s catalog, manage your account, place a book on hold, and more. The app works on all iOS, Android, and other major smart phones and tablets.

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. These services are offered to Sanibel Public Library cardholders at no extra charge. 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, more than 13 millions songs available.

For Sanibel Public Library cardholders there is no charge to use Library apps.

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.

To access all of the Library’s online services, choose “eShelf” from the homepage menu. Your PIN is the last four digits of your Library card.

Library staff has been creating “how to” videos to help patrons remotely. To see the videos, scroll through the news blog at https://sanlib.org/blog:

Click here for Sanibel Public Library’s video with staff explaining the steps to place a hold online.

Click here to see Beth from Sanibel Public Library video, reviewing how to use Freegal music.

Click here to see Margie from SPL explain how to grow food at home, and also access RBDigital magazine app.

Pandemic Precautions:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic some changes to collections and Library services are in place. In keeping staff and users safe as the goal, the following procedures are being practiced:

Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, hand washing, hand sanitizer, and gloves, when appropriate are used by all staff.

Following City of Sanibel guidelines, the Library requires that everyone in the building wear masks and follow social distancing practices.

About half the furniture has been removed, self-checkout service is encouraged, social distancing guidance floor tape is in place, and public hand sanitization stations are available at all entrances.

Many shared resources are available including newspapers, magazines, puzzle tables, cooking kits, area museum passes, and more. Children’s manipulatives, book kits, and other items in the youth collection are in temporary storage.

Youth Services Librarian, Deanna Evans, posts online storytimes each week, her videos can be found on the Children’s Page at sanlib.org/children.

Library cardholders can stream or download eBooks, movies, music, newspapers, magazines, and more through eShelf.

Computers, printers, scanners, and fax machines are available and are sanitized between each customer use. The “Tech IT Out” service offers Library cardholders an easy way to borrow a Dell laptop or MacBook Air for use anywhere inside the building. To make social distancing easier, patrons can sit at any table or chair in the Library, and use the laptop for up to three hours. The Macs offer apps like Keynote, Google Chrome, FaceTime, and GarageBand. The Dells have PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and even games like Mahjong.

Contact-free Curbside Pickup is available for those who are not able to come into the Library. Materials can be placed on hold and picked up outside the building on weekdays from noon to 3 p.m.

WiFi is available throughout the building. Mobile WiFi hotspots are available for checkout.

Many eBooks and several new apps have been added in the past year, including online access to newspapers from around the U.S.

As another safety precaution, the library is quarantining all materials for 24-72 hours between loans to stop the spread of COVID-19. The quarantining system is:

When a library item is returned, a staff member wearing gloves and a mask places it in a designated spot for quarantine. The Items sit for 24-72 hours depending on its format (print, acrylic, plastic, etc.).

During this time, Library materials may appear as overdue on your account. Please do not renew the item if you have returned it. Contact the Sanibel at (239) 472-2483 or notices@sanlib.org for any questions, additional information, or suggestions.

Services for Children:

Children’s Librarian Deanna Evans has recorded storytime videos as well as Baby Bounce videos with songs. Click here for the Children’s page on the SPL website, to hear Miss Deanna tell stories and sing a few songs.

With a gift from Hans and Leslie Fleischer, the Library has added learning tablets, audiobooks, and audio-enhanced children’s books. Launchpad, Playaway’s popular learning tablet, features ad-free educational games for preschooler through ​third graders. The Launchpad experience lets children design a personal avatar and choose an adventure they’re most interested in. From math and monkeys to science and superheroes, every tablet is pre-loaded with different topics. Adults will love that Launchpads are 100% secure, ensuring that children will not be exposed to unintended content. Plus, the amount of playing time on the tablet can be monitored. You can place a hold to borrow the devices for home use.

The six Playaway audiobooks, including Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy can be checked out with or without a print version of the book to read along as you listen.​ Six Wonderbooks were added to the Library’s audio-enhanced book collection. These books will read aloud to the young listener and can even be adjusted to ask the listeners comprehension questions. Children are given cues to turn the page at a specified sound. Titles include We Are Grateful by Tracy Sorell and Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. Place a hold to borrow the devices for home use.

Kanopy Kids has a diverse selection of educational and entertaining content — Movies, TV Series, Animated Storybooks, Live Action, and Animated favorites. Most content is for children age two to eight.

The Hoopla Digital app offers movies, TV shows, comics, and music. With Hoopla all material can be accessed simultaneously (no holds). Click here for Hoopla content for kids. Popular content for kids include Little House in the Big Woods audiobook by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney, and the Mo Willems film, The Pigeon Finds A Hot Dog!

Teens and ‘Tweens:

Stream or download music and music videos via the Freegal app. Freegal offers more than 13 millions songs, including popular artists: Khalid, Sia, A$AP Ferg, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Miranda Lambert, Drake, blink-182, H.E.R., BTS, Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Zac Brown Band, and Harry Styles.

The Hoopla Digital app offers movies, TV shows, comics, and music. Popular Hoopla content includes the comics series Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Hunger Games audiobook series by Suzanne Collins, and the 2017 documentary Hamilton: One Shot To Broadway. Popular music on Hoopla includes artists Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, and the Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording).

Practice your foreign language skills with Mango – an online language learning tool.  The Mango app mixes listening and reading activities to help you pick up basics of a foreign language using conversation. Want to learn Cantonese? Spanish? Croatian? Chaldean Aramaic? Mango has more than 70 languages and dialects, including English. Mango can be used on a desktop or mobile device. The app can be used offline if you’re not on WiFi.

Borrow eBooks and audiobooks via the OverDrive Libby app. Popular YA fiction includes books by John Green, Nicola Yoon, Rick Yancey, and James Dashner. OverDrive Libby also has a collection of books by diverse authors, part of the “Own Voices” collection.

You can  ask for help via email: notices@sanlib.org. The Library’s eShelf and all online services remain available 24/7.

 

 

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