Library Frequently Asked Questions
Does the community get a good return on the use of its tax dollars?Many states, including Florida, confirm the economic value of their public libraries. For every tax dollar received, Florida public libraries give $8.32 in value, making them an excellent investment as well as an important channel for literacy, education and information. Public libraries are worth a lot more than they cost. You can see the full report here.
Wonít technology make libraries obsolete in the future?With new technologies for downloading and reading books, coupled with the ease of online research, one may wonder what the future holds for public libraries.
Some relevant observations:
1. If most people could afford to buy their own books, libraries would never have come into existence. But thatís never been the case, and likely it will not be in the future. Even with electronic access, there remains value to sharing resources rather than each citizen purchasing their own materials.
2. For those who own any type of electronic reading devise, it probably seems that e-books are quite popular. But for the average person on the street, e-books and especially dedicated e-readers are still a bit of a techno-oddity. In 2010, 5.2% of book sales worldwide were e-books and are predicted to be 16% of the market by 2013 (Outsell, 8-11).
3. Does anybody remember the shelves and shelves of the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature that once existed in reference departments everywhere? Google, Yahoo and other search engines have saved/replaced quite a few dead trees as those volumes have disappeared. Our Reference collection has become smaller.
4. There are still many citizens who do not have Internet access at home. The Library insures that Internet access is available to all. The Library also serves many people who have difficulty finding what they need on the Internet. Library staff guides patrons through both print and electronic resources to find the best information available. As a Beach community library, we serve many residents and visitors who are live here from a few days to six months, and having Internet access is very important to their quality of life during the time they are here.
5. Contrary to popular belief, much information is not available electronically. Less than 3% of the more than 151.8 million items in the Library of Congress has been electronically formatted.
6. There are still large groups of people who prefer a paper book. So, for the foreseeable future, there will still be a constant need for paper titles. Amazon.com got started selling books and it is not worried about going out of business because peopleís interest in more information has increased with this easier accessibility. Book publishers are printing more titles, not less, and self-publishing is becoming more common.
7. The demise of the book has been heard many times and is still waiting to happen. When the Internet became more widespread in the 1990s, speculation was that it spelled the death of libraries. The reality is that libraries are in more demand and use than ever. The Internet has become a great informational resource for many people. The expanded library will make more online services available. Studies have shown that Internet use has not produced a reduction in the use of public libraries. There will remain individuals who want to hold and touch a real book, and that will be true for a long time to come.
8. More shelf space is now given to audio books and Playaways. Audio books serve a variety of uses and are convenient, portable and affordable. More popular audio book formats such as CD, MP3 and IPod are available with more formats anticipated. Adding the possibility of using a Kindle or Nook or other device, the need in libraries is anticipated to grow even more.
9. New technology wonít phase out people. Many library leaders across the United States see the library of the future becoming much more of a meeting center for the community. More room will be needed for discussions, computer space, and increasingly classroom space to teach patrons how to use all this new technology.
Changes are happening. The Board of Directors understands there is a challenge in figuring out the future of libraries. But the one thing that hasnít changed in all that time is that the library as a physical building continues to be important. Many users have found that the library is very good at bringing people and information, people and entertainment, people and inspiration together
How do Beach Library costs compare to the County Library System?
What are the boundaries of the library taxing district?
The Library District comprises all of Estero Island, all of San Carlos Island and these community developments on the mainland up to Pine Ridge Blvd.
How do the tax dollars I pay to the library compare to those I pay to the Town of Fort Myers Beach, or to the Fire District?
Here are the millage rates over the past 11 years:
Is the library board elected by the community?
Every position on the library board is an unpaid elected position. Candidates must qualify for a particular seat and follow the strict procedures of the Lee County Supervisor of Elections. The successful candidate is commissioned by the Governor of Florida.