The Palm Beach County Library System is the public library system of Palm Beach County, Florida. It has its headquarters in the Main Library located in an unincorporated area near West Palm Beach, the county seat. The System was established in 1967 and serves Palm Beach County through the Main Library and 17 branch libraries. Unlike neighboring library systems in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, most municipalities in Palm Beach County continue to operate their own libraries, thus pushing most county system libraries to western suburban communities. Instead a cooperative system model is in place to allow interoperation between county and municipal libraries.
During the fiscal year 2012, the Library System circulated over 9 million items to over 555,000 cardholders and answered more than 2 million questions. The library hosted over 7,100 special programs, and trained over 10,000 patrons on computer and Internet use.
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The Mission of the Palm Beach County Library System is to make available to the public, free of charge, a myriad of materials, in a variety of formats. The System seeks to serve patrons of all ages and backgrounds, and connect users to varied informational needs. "Encouraging children to develop a love of reading, learning, and libraries," as well as "promoting community enrichment, economic vitality, and individual achievement through reading and lifelong learning" are additional goals featured in the library's mission statement.
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The Palm Beach County Library System provides a number of services to area patrons. Adult Literacy Project provides those learning English as a second language with free, informal conversation sessions. Project members encourage community participation in the program, educational materials, sponsor tutor and student workshops and cultural events. The Palm Beach County Library System provides on and off-site story time service to local child centers, as well as workshops to assist teachers in storytelling technique. The library also offers Books-By-Mail, Deaf Resource Center, and Talking Books services to those in special populations. Book Club in a Bag is another service offered which facilitates the selection of titles (English and Spanish) for local book club meetings. Multiple copies of the title and discussion notes are included, making it simple to start and maintain a book club. The Palm Beach County Library System also will help solve the problem of figuring out what to read next. Through their "What to read next" page, a patron can access a variety of different websites and blogs, such as NoveList Plus, Library Reads, LibraryThing, and Goodreads which will supply them with information needed to find their new book. The library system also offers a Speakers Bureau, where library staff will visit civic organizations, homeowners associations, and volunteer groups to present on the services and opportunities available at the library.
The Writers LIVE! series provides patrons access to best-selling authors. Talks are held at various Palm Beach County Library System branches, and have included writers such as James Grippando, Debbie Macomber, Brad Meltzer, and Jodi Picoult.
Since February 1, 2008 the Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County has been headquartered at the Main Branch of the Palm Beach County Library System. GSPBC counts among its assets over 13,000 books, hundreds of CDs, many microfiche and microfilm, a sizable surname file and a large periodical collection. Ancestry Library Edition, as well as additional online databases are available onsite for patron use.
Other special collections are housed at the System's Main Library. The library's Government Research Service assists county entities and patrons alike with research, information, and document delivery services. The Consumer Health Information Service provides access to reliable health and medical resources. The Audubon Collection provides patrons with valuable ornithological information. The Business Resource Center assists small business owners, job seekers, investors, and consumers with any research requirements. A collection of business and consumer magazines, and newspaper and journal articles are also available through their special collections online. The library also maintains one of the System's largest collections of foreign language books in Spanish, Creole, French, German, Japanese, and Portuguese. The Professional Collection contains materials pertaining to Information Science.
On February 24, 2014 the Palm Beach County Public Library System opened its CreationStation located at its Main branch in West Palm Beach. The CreationStation allows users to work with a variety of digital mediums including video, music, podcasts, and photos. Users of the CreationStation can film their own videos, record podcasts and work with software such as Photoshop. Technology in the CreationStation includes: iMac computers, a green screen, a video tripod, scanner, digital cameras, camcorders, a MacBook, sound recording, and editing equipment. Additionally, the CreationStation includes software such as: iPhoto, iMovie, Adobe Photoshop, Garage Band, Dreamweaver, Adobe Creative Cloud and Illustrator. This allows the public access to many forms of creative technology and media. Additionally, users can upload and share their content on the CreationStation website. The CreationStation is available for use by members of the public in two hour sessions. Library staff also offers appointments and orientations to help users utilize the technology in the CreationStation. Work on the CreationStation began in the spring of 2013 with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties to the Friends of the Palm Beach County Library. CreationStation is the first free digital media lab in Palm Beach County.
Happenings and Books and Bytes are published monthly and distributed free of charge by the Palm Beach County Library System. The publications lists events and programs taking place throughout the System's 16 branches. Users may also register for one of nearly twenty other available monthly newsletters on genres such as mystery, manga, graphic novels, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and business. Titles include Drawn to Comics, Teen Scene, Books on the Air, and Book Sizzle.
The Palm Beach County Bookmobile offers a selection of over 3,000 books that include adult and children's fiction and non fiction, regular and large-print. Bookmobile staff help patrons find books onboard as well as helping out with any research questions. The Bookmobile's patrons are asked to check in advance or call to request any items that are not found in the Bookmobile's catalog. Up to four items can be requested each week. The Bookmobile makes several stops a week around various locations in Palm Beach County.
eBooks and audiobooks
With over 5,700 eBook and almost 5,000 audio book titles available, library patrons can download titles in a variety of formats including: EPUB, PDF, Blio and Kindle. Library patrons just need a personal computer and/or tablet with Internet access to download eBooks and audio books. Patrons have the option to choose 7-day, 14-day or 21-day rentals for eBooks and audio books.
Palm Beach County Library Association
The Palm Beach County Library Association (PBCLA) is a professional organization that advocates for and supports libraries, librarians, and the advancement of each. The organization hosts a variety of events and fundraisers. They support professional development of librarians and library science students by providing Professional Development Awards. Membership is not exclusive; it is open to students, librarians at all levels and areas, and supporters of libraries.
Friends of the Library
The Friends of the Palm Beach County Library System is a non-profit organization, acting in support of Palm Beach County Library System missions. The Friends of the Palm Beach County Library seeks to provide assistance to staff and patrons by funding a variety of programs and educational activities. The Friends of the Library also funds an annual scholarship award named for founding Friends member, Ingrid A. Eckler. Ingrid A Eckler Scholarships assist Palm Beach County Library System staff pursuing educations in Library and Information Science.
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