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Sanibel library ranks No. 1 within the state

By SPL - | Jan 20, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Public Library District Commissioners Linda Estep and Melanie Congress review the budget at a board meeting.

The state library rankings are out, and the Sanibel Public Library ranks at or near the top 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. 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; local and state operating revenue; and square footage availability.

The high ranking is due to 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; staff with customer service as its core value; and private Sanibel Public Library Foundation grant support for enhancements to the library, such as Author Series, cutting-edge technology, youth programming, volunteers and more.

“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,” board President Melanie Congress said. “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,” she added.

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Public Library staff Ian Wainwright, Cathy Cameron, Wendy Lambrix and Duane Shaffer.

The 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 No. 1 on TripAdvisor for “Things to Do on Sanibel” many times and has won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2014, earning Hall of Fame status on the site.

The state based ratings on estimates of population, University of Florida’s 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 FY 2020-21 budget is $2,445,881, including gifts and grants. 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 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,” board Treasurer Linda Estep said. “We maintain and expand services and look for efficiencies in all areas, particularly in technology and utilities.”

The library continues to offer contact-less curbside service. To use the service, put items on hold online or make requests by calling 239-472-2483. You will be notified when your items are ready for pickup. Patrons have three days, excluding Saturday and Sunday, to pick up items. Hours are Monday to Friday from noon to 3 p.m.

“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,” Adult Services Coordinator Candy Heise said. “This service is working very well.”

Library cards are available to residents of Sanibel and Lee County at no charge.

Visitor library cards are available for a $10 annual fee.

The Sanibel Public Library is open Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit online at www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is at 770 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.