State library rankings are out, and Sanibel Public Library ranks at or near the top of Florida in many areas including the amount of items to borrow in different formats – print books, audiobooks, DVDs, BluRay and music CDs; access to the new online archives; and programs for adults and children. The 2021 ratings are based on FY 2019-20 Florida Library Statistics, which measures 82 libraries/library systems in the state, grouped by population.
Sanibel 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, website visits per capita, and square footage availability. 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) in five of the last 10 years.
Sanibel Public Library ranks at the top in its population group, in many areas* including:
|Materials in All Formats (availability of print, audio, video)||#1|
|Website visits per capita||#1|
|Local and State Operating Revenue||#1|
|Square Footage Availability||#1|
|Library Visits per capita||#1|
Melanie Congress, Library District Board of Commissioners President, said “Executive Director Margaret Mohundro and the knowledgeable staff strive to provide the resources people need and want. During the pandemic the Library was an important resource—providing services such as curbside pickup, tech resources such as loaning WiFi hot spots, and access to online tutoring services for children to assist them with at-home learning.”
“We’re all very proud the Library continues to receive such high rankings; it is testament to the community support of the Library and highlights how often locals are using Library services and borrowing books or other material,” said Congress. The SPL was also ranked at “Top 2 to 5” for digitized library collections, programming for adults and children, and Friends/Foundation expenditures per capita.
In addition to high state rankings, the Library has won many annual Star Library awards from Library Journal. It has been #1 on TripAdvisor for “Things to Do on Sanibel” many times, and earned many TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awards. The high ranking is due to support from the local 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).
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. Other highly-ranked libraries on the list include North Miami Beach Public Library, Maitland Public Library, North Palm Beach Library, as well as Collier and Lee County Library systems.
The Sanibel Public Library collection focuses on new and bestselling fiction and nonfiction, as well as topics of particular interest to locals including mystery fiction; history; travel; lifestyle such as cooking, decorating, and gardening; health, biographies; and current events.
The Library has remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic by increasing the 24/7/365 download and streaming services, as well as providing assistance via telephone and in person.
The Library’s annual budget, including gifts and grants, is about $2.4 million. 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.
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. Population Groups = Over 750,001, 8 libraries; 100,001-750,000, 30 libraries; 25,001-100,000, 25 libraries; 25,000 and under, 18 libraries. 81/88 Florida public libraries reporting.
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
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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.
eBooks, Apps, and Other eShelf Services:
Sanibel Public Library card holders can download magazines, 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.
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 is now offering a “Computer Coach” service. Bring in your device for technology assistance with Hoopla, Kanopy, Libby, and other Library apps. For one-on-one tech help go to www.sanlib.org/techappointment to register.
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. Download eBooks, audiobooks and magazines Libby app from OverDrive. 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: