St. Lucie County Libraries Experience Continued Increases in Programs, Visitors
Post Date: 11/17/2016
The St. Lucie County Library System experienced a 5 percent in visitors during the fiscal year 2015-16 with more than 585,900 people stopping by one or more of the five branch locations. Additionally there were nearly 345,000 virtual visits to the St. Lucie County Library through its website.
These visitors checked out 775,538 books, DVDs, music cds, e-Books and audio books throughout the year (a 2-percent increase compared to 2015). While circulation increased slightly, St. Lucie County libraries experienced a 34 percent increase in the use of public computers with more than 100,000 sessions during the year.
In an effort to help bridge the digital divide, St. Lucie County libraries began a new Book-a-Tech program, where patrons can schedule one-on-one sessions with staff who provide assistance in using mobile devices such as tablets and laptops as well as general desktop and laptop computer help. Nearly 24,000 people signed up for these free tutorials where they learned to download free mp3s through the library’s Freegal music subscription service or checked out eBooks with their iPad or Kindle. In addition to individual sessions, several libraries offered group workshops on using social media tools such as Facebook and Pinterest, as well as work-related software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word.
“Our staff is ready to assist residents with these new technologies at whatever point of digital literacy they are at and teach them how to walk those one or two steps further across the digital literacy bridge,” explained St. Lucie County Library Manager Susan Jacob. “Digital literacy means everyone should be able browse for themselves without intervention or barriers.”
This past budget year, the library system received increased funding from the Board of County Commissioners as well as the Friends of the St. Lucie County Library to return to five-days per week service at all of its branches. Because of the increase in hours and additional programing, both the Port St. Lucie and Zora Neale Hurston branches saw significant increases in visitors (22 percent and 49 percent respectively).
“These increase can easily be attributed to the additional hours, but it’s also due to the philosophy of the library staff, which is: “Look for ways to say ‘Yes,” added Jacob. “I’m proud of our library staff and their drive to create new and innovative ways in which to engage our customers whether that is with children’s programs that focus on hands-on science experiments or workshop that teach teens and adults how to create stop-animation videos.”
For more information about the St. Lucie County Library System including hours, locations and programs visit: http://library.stlucieco.gov.
St. Lucie County Adds Free Wi-Fi to Treasure Coast Connector Route One Buses
Riders traveling on The Treasure Coast Connector’s Route One now have free Wi-Fi access, thanks to a pilot program launched by St. Lucie County’s Transit Division.
By contracting with the education broadband company, Kajett, St. Lucie County is able to provide free internet access to its busiest community transit route, Route One, which runs along U.S. 1 from Fort Pierce to Port St. Lucie.
“We hope by offering this service we will enhance the ridership experience on our Route One buses, attract new bus transit patrons and to provide a bus environment that accentuates the advantage of increased personal productivity when travelers do not have to operate their own vehicles,” explained St. Lucie County Transportation Planner David Engel, MCRP.
This one-year pilot program allows the county to monitor the Wi-Fi usage to see if the demand is there to expand it to additional bus routes in the future. St. Lucie County is also currently investigating the possibility of providing free internet access to the Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie Intermodals, as well as the busier bus stops where shelters are located.
Filters has been installed on the buses to control the types of permissible downloads based upon data usage and content. The bus Wi-Fi filters are defaulted to what would be age appropriate for K-12 school students.
St. Lucie County’s Community Services Department works in close partnership with the St. Lucie County Council on Aging to operate the Treasure Coast Connector – St. Lucie County’s public transportation system. For more information about bus routes and schedules visit - http://treasurecoastconnector.com or download the Route Shout app from the Apple or Google Play store.