The Facts: Residents Love Our Libraries
Sarasota County has an outstanding library system, which is heavily used and widely loved by its patrons. Nearly 78% of the residents of Sarasota County have library cards. More than 10,000 visit our ten libraries in person each day. In the last 10 years, the Sarasota County population increased 11.8% and the County responded by opening two new libraries. In 2012, Sarasota County libraries were named Florida Library of the Year.
Today, our libraries are so much more than books and helpful librarians.
• They are visited 15,000 times online every day by people seeking free internet access, informative databases, and music, movies and audiobooks to download at no charge.
• They offer free homework help and assistance with electronic devices – and guidance to find reliable online and print sources.
• They engage our children in story hours and after school enrichment; they offer adult literacy and English as a Second Language classes. In 2017, more than 46,000 children and adults participated in summer reading programs.
• They provide free tax preparation help and are the portal to many government benefit programs.
• They also serve as summer food distribution centers for kids and offer a warm welcome for seniors seeking companionship and a newspaper to read.
Sarasota County libraries are the only free reading resource for people with visual disabilities. They provide large print books, audio books and computers with adjustable font sizes. They deliver books for free to the homebound. They are especially important for our students who no longer have professional librarians in the Sarasota public schools.
In a box on page one, on the right midway down the page Our libraries are a vital community resource that require adequate and sustained public funding to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of Sarasota County residents. We request no further reductions in the libraries’ 2019 proposed budget.