Coordinator, Special Projects and Grant Services
Deaf Literacy Coordinator at Safety Harbor Public Library
Born to Read Program Consultant
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Annual Report 2011
From the Executive Director
The Pinellas Public Library Cooperative serves its members through the coordination of services and activities that benefit all of our libraries and enhance the overall quality of library services countywide. Heightened expectations and the demand for new and expanded service areas further demonstrates the increased importance of members coming together for the efficient sharing of resources. When possible, operational functions are centralized to maximize the benefit to the membership. The Cooperative continues to manage contracts for the library automation system that serves all of our members, for the delivery service that moves library materials throughout the county and for electronic resources that are made available to eligible users countywide. The Cooperative is also instrumental in providing the resources needed to introduce new services to library users such as Freegal downloadable music and the OverDrive eBook and audio book collections. We continue to look for opportunities to assist our members in reaching their goals as they seek to meet the needs of library users throughout the county.
To be successful an organization needs to be focused on a common goal and have a plan to achieve that goal. The Cooperative adopted an updated Long Range Plan for 2011 — 2013 that reflects the organization's desire to become more self-sufficient, be better known in our community, and to assist our members in providing essential library services. A primary focus during the upcoming year will be working with the Cooperative membership to update the current Interlocal Agreement in preparation of its upcoming renewal in 2013. An Interlocal Agreement Committee (IAC) consisting of city managers (or their designees), Pinellas County Deputy County Administrator Mark Woodard, the Palm Harbor Community Services Chair, the PPLC Board Chair, and the PPLC Executive Director began meeting in January 2011. The committee reviewed the completed governance assessment that was funded by PPLC, and the current Interlocal Agreement. Robertson Consulting facilitated several meetings and prepared and conducted a survey to assess the current Interlocal Agreement and identify areas to address. All Cooperative members were provided with the opportunity to schedule a presentation by the PPLC Executive Director to review the programs and services provided by the Cooperative as well as the timeline and issues regarding the renewal of the Interlocal. All agencies received a presentation with the exception of one member city which is scheduled for May 2012. A preliminary draft of the 2013 Interlocal is expected in winter 2012.
The management of funds received from governmental agencies (local, state, and federal) and private sources are the responsibility of the Cooperative. In 2011 the Cooperative distributed $4,405,325 in funds collected through the millage assessment to residents of unincorporated Pinellas County to eligible member libraries. State funds received in 2011 totaled $640,008 and were used to support programs and services countywide. In addition, over $81,000 in grants and awards were received and were used to provide programs and services over and above those being funded at the local level. The Cooperative board's Fund Development Committee implemented its first fundraising campaign in support of the Talking Book Library. The direct mail campaign generated over $10,000 in donations. Efforts will continue in the upcoming year with the added focus of the Deaf Literacy Center.
Providing support for countywide programming continued to be a strong initiative in 2011. Member libraries provide a wide range of programs for adults, young adults, and children. Some of the programs enhanced through PPLC's efforts include the following: Hire Me! A teen job skills workshop, Plug in at Your Library for teens, the Young Adult Author Visit, the Florida Library Youth Summer Reading Program, Reading with the Rays, Chipotle Teen Programs, and the Adult Summer Reading Program.
The Cooperative submitted and received a number of grants through local funding sources such as Bank of America, Volunteer USA Foundation, CSDVRS, Florida Humanities Council, Target, Read Pinellas, Early Learning Coalition, and other local agencies. These grants enhanced our literacy and programming efforts and helped establish new partnerships for the Cooperative.
The Cooperative entered into the second year of a three year contract with Polaris Integrated Library Systems for the provision of automated library system services. The Cooperative manages the contract and acts as the primary point of contact with Polaris staff. The Cooperative expended $ 201,219 in FY 11 for Polaris system support and maintenance fees. The delivery of materials throughout the county is a key component of the success of the countywide automation system. The Cooperative is in its third year of a contract with Velocity Express for the provision of this service. Fees covered by the Cooperative in 2011 totaled $113,486.
The Cooperative is responsible for three non-duplicated public service programs serving the residents of Pinellas County. The Talking Book Library (TBL) provides free library services to individuals for whom conventional print is a barrier. The program utilizes equipment, materials, and paid postage made available through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Sarasota County renewed its contract with the Cooperative for the provision of TBL services to their residents in FY 12. The Born to Read (BTR) program is continuing with the support of funding received through the Early Learning Coalition. Library card applications continue to be issued to eligible residents throughout the county. Outreach activities were hampered slightly in 2011 due to difficulty in filling the part-time BTR position. The Deaf Literacy Center (DLC) administrative office is located in the Safety Harbor Public Library. The City of Safety Harbor continues to be an outstanding partner in meeting the needs of the Deaf community in Pinellas County. Satellite programs at the Palm Harbor and Pinellas Park libraries also continue to receive vital support from those cities allowing the program to reach families in all parts of the county. Classes are also offered at various library locations throughout the year. The Deaf Family Literacy Academy program continued in 2011 with financial support provided by the Volunteer USA Foundation.
The Cooperative currently has reciprocal borrowing agreements with the participating members of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, St. Petersburg College, and the City of Indian Rocks Beach.
Advocating for libraries and the critical services they provide is a key element of the Cooperative's mission. The Cooperative Board and staff met with local, and state elected officials to encourage their support and remind them of the major impact libraries have on their communities. Legislators were visited in their local offices by the PPLC Executive Director, PPLC Board of Directors, and local library directors. During the 2011 legislative session legislators were also visited in Tallahassee during the FLA sponsored Library Days event.
The next two years will be critical for the long term viability of the cooperative library system model here in Pinellas County. Funding sources have changed and will continue to be in a state of flux for an undetermined period of time. The need to do more with less continues to offer challenges and opportunities as members seek new and more efficient means of providing quality library services. It is my hope that our members will recognize the intrinsic value of working together and that the Cooperative can be a catalyst for continued growth and development. I look forward to working with the PPLC Board of Directors and our PPLC members in this new and ever changing environment.
A Year In Review
- Our member libraries circulated 6,735,647 items.
- Over 1,244,417 reference questions were answered.
- We had over 4,909,448 visits to our libraries from patrons in Pinellas County.
- Our libraries offered 8,713 adult, teen, and children's programs with 222,728 community members in attendance.
- We had 582,081 registered patrons.
- We received over $81,000 in grant funds.
Born to Read
Born to Read is a library literacy program that informs parents about the benefits of reading to their babies. The program encourages reading by distributing developmentally appropriate books to families. This year, approximately 300 new families were enrolled in the program with over 400 new cards issued. The program also provided over 3,600 books and parenting materials that were distributed to Born to Read families. The program received grant funding for these books from community partners including the Early Learning Coalition, READ Pinellas, Friends of the Library, Barnes & Noble, Alpha Chi Omega, and First Book.
Deaf Literacy Center
This past year, the Deaf Literacy Center continued to fulfill its mission of providing basic literacy instruction, life skills training, and library and information services to Deaf individuals and their families. The program received over $35,000 in grant funds including the Volunteer USA Foundation to expand the program's services to include family literacy. Additionally, over 500 Deaf adults and family members attended DLC programs and over 1,500 individuals participated in Sign Language instruction and programs.
Pinellas Talking Book Library
During the past year, PTBL volunteers donated over 2,000 hours assisting in daily operations critical to the organization. The library also received grants and donations including funds from the Northern Trust, the Loebenberg Foundation, the Lions Club and individual supporters. 2011 also marked the first direct mail campaign which generated over $10,000 in donations for the program. In 2011, the PTBL continued the relationship with Sarasota County to provide services to their patrons. The TBL continues with the addition of digital books to add to its collection. TBL also hosts the Low Vision Center and continues its partnership with Lighthouse of Pinellas to broaden the availability of digital download training.