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 Mosquito Control Completes Repairs to Northern Impoundments; Most South Hutchinson Impounds Remain Closed
St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control District has completed repairs and reopened all of its properties on North Hutchinson Island as well as impoundment areas along the Indian River Lagoon north of the Fort Pierce Inlet. However, most of the impoundments on South Hutchinson Island remain closed at least for the next three to four weeks.
Hurricane Matthew caused more than $2 million in damages and forced the temporarily closure of more than 20 impoundment and natural areas along the barrier islands. Local contractors are working to repair dikes, remove debris and rebuild boardwalks, fishing piers and wildlife observation towers within these preserves.
Pedestrian access is being granted on many of the impoundments as the work is completed. Vehicular access that was allowed previously on a limited number of South Hutchinson Island properties is suspended indefinitely, as the earthen dikes continue to recover from erosion that threatened impoundment operations. The fishing pier, crabbing dock and wildlife observation tower at Bear Point Preserve and fishing pier at Blind Creek Riverside Preserve remain closed as plans are made to replace or repair the structures.
St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control impoundment areas are located in coastal wetlands and marshes and are used to control mosquitoes by flooding breeding areas, while at the same time providing public access to recreational amenities such as fishing, hiking, and bird watching.
For more information about St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control and Coastal Management Department call 772-462-1692. To see all of St. Lucie County’s parks, beaches and preserves, visit the interactive map at http://gis.stlucieco.gov/parkspreserves.