Author Archives: Brad Ward

State Library Focus Groups

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services invites you to participate in a focus group to discuss your opinion of Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funded programs in Florida and the future needs of Florida libraries. In November 2016, consultants Nancy Bolt and Tom Clareson will conduct eight focus group sessions across the state to gain feedback from all types of libraries.

We invite one person from your library organization to participate in one of these focus group sessions. For ease of travel and for networking opportunities, we suggest that you attend the session closest to your library, but you are welcome to attend whichever session is most convenient.

By November 7, 2016, please register online to let us know which session you would like to attend. A discussion guide will be distributed prior to the focus group sessions.

For your reference, here is a list of the dates and locations of the sessions:

Date Time Location
November 14 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Delray Beach Public Library

100 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach 33444


November 14 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Broward County Library System – South Regional/ Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines 33024


November 15 10:30 a.m. – noon Lee County Library System – Lakes Regional Library

15290 Bass Road Fort Myers 33908


November 16 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Bruton Memorial Library

302 McLendon Street, Plant City 33563


November 16 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Seminole County Public Library System – Central Branch Library

215 North Oxford Road, Casselberry 32707


November 17 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Jacksonville Public Library – University Park Branch Library

3435 University Blvd. North, Jacksonville 32277


November 17 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Columbia County Public Library – West Branch Library

435 NW Hall of Fame Drive, Lake City 32055


November 18 10:30 a.m. – noon (Central Time) Washington County Public Library

1444 Jackson Avenue, Chipley 32428


For further information on these sessions, please contact Bureau of Library Development LSTA Program Coordinator David Beach at 850.245.6630 or



Jennifer says Goodbye

Some of you may have already heard, but I am leaving NEFLIN. I will be heading back to NY to be with my family.

I have accepted a position at Queens Public Library in NY, where I will serve as Director of Community Library Services. It’s a huge system! Last year they circulated over 13 million items and served over 11 million people in person. So please keep me in your prayers!

I am sorry to be leaving you. The past three years have been a lot of fun. You have taught me so much, about your libraries and our field. You also taught me a great deal about myself. I have learned lots of new things, faced fears, made mistakes and laughed a great deal since coming to NEFLIN.

I’ve enjoyed working with Brad, who encouraged me to grow and try new things. Heather who is a great partner on any project. And Jeannie who has tried her best to keep me straight.

But as Member Services Coordinator, I have to say YOU are what makes NEFLIN special. We always say we have the best members and it’s true. You are thoughtful and caring. We frequently receive emails and handwritten notes telling us how much you appreciate us or thanking us for a specific class or project. You come to our events early and leave late to help us.

Our board members work hard, continuing to help us prepare for the future. And when we ask for Continuing Education members and Interest Group Leaders you always step up. Thank you! Thank you!

Please keep in touch! I’m on LinkedIn and Facebook and I would love to stay connected with all of you.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. It has been a pleasure.

Libraries Partner on Makerspace

The Launch Pad at the Daytona Beach Regional Library, a branch of Volusia County Public Library, started as an idea to repurpose an underused area and be able to provide new and exciting technology and programs for our patrons. Months of planning, weeding and hard work allowed the room to evolve into a multi-use, flexible workspace with Wi-Fi, power and a presentation area.

Along the way news about our makerspace idea was shared through a casual conversation between Library staff and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University staff. This discussion lead to the agreement that our goals aligned. We wanted to provide the public with access to technology and equipment that might otherwise be unavailable and to reach out to an underserved population of middle school and high school age students. Sparking an interest in science, technology, engineering and math in these students would in the future provide prospective students for ERAU programs.

Through a Memorandum of Agreement Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University pledged to provide funding for two years. Our technology acquisitions the first year included two high end computers and software, a two color 3D printer and several Little Bits and Arduino kits. Students visiting the Launch Pad are able to explore basic circuits and robotics, create animation through coding, build with legos and learn about controlled flight through the use of drones and flight simulation software.

Our wish list is growing for our second year of funding as we gather ideas from citizens using the new Launch Pad.

The Friends of the Daytona Beach Library also provided ongoing funding to open and sustain the Launch Pad including furniture and supplies.

Launch Pad Maker space at the Daytona Beach Regional Library opened to the public September 21, 2015 and has been a popular location since then. A variety of groups now meet in the Launch Pad including a local Hacker group and several crafting classes. We are currently planning a Teen Tech Summer Camp to take place in the Launch Pad later in July. A growing number of patrons are using our Launch Pad to launch a hobby, education, career or business!


Nassau County Public Library System

The Nassau County Public Library System (NCPLS) became an independent library system in 1998.  The main branch is located in Fernandina Beach, and opened in the existing facility in 1977.  In 2011 the facility was certification to process passport applications.  In 2015 the building was remodeled and expanded to double its size and is now 16,284 sq. ft.  Along with the upgraded space we are in the process of upgrading the technology infrastructure in all of the library branches.  We can now offer high speed, business class internet to all of our residents and we are in the process of switching over our staff network to fiber.

We are in the process of converting our libraries to RFID.  The main location will serve as our test site and tagging the collection is almost complete.  We have RFID gates arriving in two weeks along with our first self-check machine.  The Callahan and Hilliard Branches are scheduled to be tagged in 2017.

The Callahan Branch opened in 1989 in the small train depot located in Callahan.  The branch has been relocated twice since then, and now resides in a new shopping plaza.

The Hilliard Branch joined the county library system in 1995, after operating as a small town library for several decades.  The Hilliard Branch Library was relocated to a new facility in 2006.

The Yulee Branch opened in 2001 and is located within the Florida State College at Jacksonville.  This is a shared facility, it maintains a public library collection as well as the college collection, and utilizes the county library’s ILS.

The Bryceville Branch opened in 2003.  This is the smallest of the branches at 525 sq. ft.  It is located within the Community Center and has the largest meeting space of the libraries.

The NCPLS offers free library cards to all residents of the state of Florida and has reciprocal borrowing agreements with St. Johns County Public Library and New River Public Library Cooperative.  We have a full summer program including a reading program for adults with prizes.

UX Update: Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School

Kathy Williams and Mary Karshner-Smith, media specialists at Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School care deeply about their students. Since 2010, the number of students on free and reduced lunch increased from roughly a third of their students to over half.  This only represents students who turned in their paperwork.

The school endured a few traumatic months when multiple students committed suicide or were killed in tragic accidents.  Kathy and Mary considered their students’ emotional needs. They wanted to create an inviting, nurturing place where students feel like they belong.

While brainstorming about the UX project they mentioned that in that part of Clay county kids don’t have much to do after school.  Drug use, pregnancy and poverty are all too common. Kathy and Mary wanted to give the kids something safe to do after school. They were passionate about it. As a result Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School’s library had their first movie night – they invited students to watch Star Wars:  The Force Awakens. About forty kids turned out.

They have also started a makerspace. Right now it’s a creative area with adult coloring books and origami. They have an iMac kids can experiment with to learn music and video creation, and there is a cart of Legos in the works.

They painted the center over their spring break and are eager to put together a charging station or two before the summer. They have also recently agreed on a price to refurbish their existing circulation desk.

They mounted a TV on the wall which they will set up with a laptop and surround sound for teacher use in the classroom area of the center.

They sent faculty a survey to help prioritize their next steps. Additionally they plan to respond to students’ requests for a game night with big screens and gaming systems. They believe keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility and they are playing their part.


Nominations are now being accepted for the annual NEFLIN awards.  The deadline for nominations is Monday, June 15th.


  • Distinguished Career Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Library Champion Award
  • Member of the Year

The awards will be presented on September 23 at the NEFLIN Annual Meeting.

We know that you work at a library with some exciting, dynamic people and ideas.  Let everyone know by nominating them for one of these awards!

Click to access the 2016 NEFLIN Awards site.

Clay County Public Library

The Clay County Library System is comprised of a Headquarters Library at Fleming Island, and four branches spread throughout the county – Keystone Heights, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, and Orange Park.

Located southwest of Jacksonville, Clay County has seen tremendous growth since the original Headquarters Library opened in Green Cove Springs in 1970. Our newest location, the Headquarters Library at Fleming Island, celebrated its Tenth Anniversary in 2015.

Each Branch has its own unique identity, and seeks to serve its community with a blend of traditional library services, innovative new programs, and outreach into the community.  The County circulates approximately  670,000 volumes per year, has 73,000 Library card holders out of a population of  200,672, had more than 26,386 attend  some 798 year round and summer programs, and over 2,663 people attend various programs for adults.

To meet the changing needs of our patrons, the Clay County Library System has launched a thought provoking initiative re-evaluating collections and spaces. Our goal is to update, improve, and launch new services, new looks that create fresh appeal to patrons at all of our locations and do it with limited funds.

It is a work in progress.  We recently added E-Books through Axis 360. Our NEFLIN Innovation grant provided a mobile computer Lab that has allowed branches without a fixed Computer Lab to also offer hands on computer training as well as adult and youth hands on programming. We launched a system wide newsletter, Facebook page, and an online program calendar that advertises and promotes programming at each branch.

What lies ahead? Along with a continued commitment to embrace change comes a continued emphasis on the importance of professional principles:  promoting a love of reading and learning to all our patrons, assuring equal service to all and reaching out to our community to become better community partners/centers.

Coming soon: A new Wi-Fi Café at our Orange Park location; a conference room for patron use at Green Cove Springs; additional computers in the Computer Labs at Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights and Middleburg, and a much needed updated system of PC printing at every branch.


Columbia County Public Library

CCPL has three locations, the Main Library in Lake City, the West Branch Library west of I-75 in Lake City, and the Fort White Branch Library in Fort White. In 1959, the Lake City Women’s Club asked the Columbia County Commissioners to fund a public library and they did so that year, with the library becoming part of the Suwannee River Regional Library. On October 1, 1979, the library became a single county public library and left the SRRL. The library is a department of Columbia County Government and the Library Director reports to the Assistant County Manager. There are currently 25 employees spread over the three locations; four have MLS degrees and one is currently working on her MLS.

Recently, CCPL was selected as one of only eleven public libraries in Florida to participate in a pilot project with the Career Online High School. There are twenty scholarships to be awarded before the end of March and Glennis Pounds, Adult Literacy and Volunteer Coordinator is the Project Manager. Students will earn their high school diploma and a career certificate.

The Friends of the Library provides funding for all children’s and adult programs. Since 2008, CCPL has had a very successful Florida Author Series bringing authors from all over the state to Lake City. The Friends recently purchased a new van and SUV for library deliveries, outreach services, and transportation for staff to training sessions. Children’s programs include story times for various ages, special craft programs, and the Summer Reading Program. The Friends of the Library and the North Florida Art League collaborate each year on a juried art show held at the West Branch Library (2015 was the 9th annual show). They also partner to offer free art classes for children ages 10-14 in the summer.

CCPL recently migrated from Rooms to Enterprise (SirsiDynix) and has a new website. It has a familiar look, but incorporates new features to make patron searching easier.

The Library Director writes a monthly column in the Lake City Reporter called At the Library where upcoming programs are promoted and usually tied to the collection.

Please stop at the Library if you are in Lake City. The Main Library is open 7 days a week.

Three Rivers Regional Library System

From 1960 until 1995, the Dixie, Gilchrist, and Lafayette County Public Libraries were members of the Suwannee River Regional Library System. In 1994 a Task Force began meeting to explore the advantages of dividing the six-county system into two three-county systems. It became obvious that the benefits of dividing the region far outweighed the negatives. Plans were made to formally split into two separate systems at the conclusion of the 1994-95 fiscal year.

A regional library office was established in Mayo, the county seat of Lafayette County. A contest was also held to choose a name for the new library system, and “Three Rivers Regional Library System” (TRRLS), was selected from more than seventy-five entries. Three Rivers represents the names of the rivers that border the three counties: the Santa Fe, Steinhatchee, and Suwannee. TRRLS officially began service to the citizens of Dixie, Gilchrist and Lafayette Counties on October 1, 1995. Taylor County was added to the System in August 2011.

The role of the regional library is to support the member libraries in all aspects of public library service. This includes acquisition of materials, cataloging and technical processing, continuing education and training, library programming, computer and networking applications, and outreach services. The Three Rivers Regional Library System has a nine member governing board appointed by the four counties.

Interesting fact about the libraries:

Gilchrist County Public Library used to be housed in a building that had served for many years as a funeral home. The staff swore it was haunted.

The Lafayette County Public Library and the Dixie County Public Library were both started by local Woman’s Clubs.

The Lafayette Library was housed for many years in the old courthouse which was rumored to be haunted and many of the staff were scared to work alone. The light switch was located in the back of the building which meant a long walk in a dark room to leave each day. That walk was usually a sprint.

Taylor County Public Library was once housed in a building that had served as the County Jail where executions were carried out. As expected, no one wanted to be alone after hours in the building.