Recent News from the Winter Park Public Library. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WinterParkPublic Library.NEW
Free Tax Assistance at the WPPL
Free Tablet Computer Lending at the WPPL
WPPL to Launch Central Florida’s First Public Library Bicycle Lending Program - February 10, 2014
Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer's Annual Report to the Library Board of Trustees - January 14, 2014
New York Times Historical Archive Service Discontinued - November 15, 2013
New Service: WPPL Residents Can Borrow from Rollin’s Library - October 25, 2013
Winter Park Library Board Names Shawn Shaffer as Library's Next Director - March 21, 2013
Library Director Announces Plan to Retire
Director Bob Melanson's Annual Report to the Board of Library Trustees - January 8, 2013
The Winter Park Public Library and AARP are once again partnering to provide free tax preparation assistance to people of all ages this tax season.
Tax-Aide volunteers, trained and certified by the IRS, will provide
personal tax return preparation assistance beginning Tuesday, February 5
and continue every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. -
3:30 p.m. through April 15 in the Library’s second floor Literacy
Assistance is available for
basic tax forms including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and other standard
schedules. No appointments are accepted; people will be taken on a
first-come, first-served basis. There is no age requirement or limit to use this service.
Required documents include: a photo I.D., last year's tax return, and a
social security card for each person being claimed on the return. Call
our Reference librarians at 407-623-3300, ext. 103 for more info about
Free Tablet Computer Lending at the WPPL
The Winter Park Public Library joins the effort to make Winter Park the healthiest community in Florida when it launches its Checkout Bikes program Tuesday, February 11. The ribbon cutting will take place at 11:45 a.m. near the newly installed bicycle shelter on the south side of the library’s building, 460 E. New England Ave. The WPPL is the only Central Florida library loaning bicycles to its borrowers.
In addition to a ribbon cutting, the event will include a short ceremonial “first ride” of the bicycle that will include vice mayor Sarah Sprinkel, assistant city manager Michelle del Valle and members of the Library Board of Trustees.
“This is our way of give our residents another free, convenient way to be mobile, to get moving and to be healthy,” said Library Programs Coordinator Ruth Edwards. “Whether someone wants to simply ride up to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning or spend a day riding on the Cady Way trail, we want to offer them that opportunity.”
The library’s Checkout Bikes program will initially stock seven cruiser-style bicycles and one tandem bike that can be checked out from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The bikes will be free to all resident card holders of the WPPL and will come with a basket, lock and helmet.
The shelter protecting the bikes from sun and weather resulted from the work and fundraising efforts of Winter Park teen, Andrew Stine, who chose the library as the beneficiary of his service project on his way to becoming a third-generation Eagle Scout.
“I wanted to be able to give back to this wonderful organization, and I knew that people would be able to enjoy the results of my project for years to come,” Stine said.
The bicycles and accessories were paid for with grant money from the Healthy Central Florida initiative of the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital. Additional support and bicycle maintenance is being provided by local cycling retailer Breakaway Bicycles.
The Winter Park Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing the highest quality library materials, programs and services to those living in Winter Park and the surrounding communities. Founded in 1885 with a few dozen titles stored on the front porch of an early resident, the Library has evolved based on residents' changing needs for information, education and entertainment. It now provides books, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, music, videos, video games and software, as well as downloadable materials for use on smart devices and computers. In addition it offers hundreds of programs each year for patrons of all ages. For more information about the WPPL, visit www.wppl.org or call 407-623-3300.
As I reviewed past annual reports I noticed Bob started his by acknowledging our beginnings.
This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the generations who have come before us:
-- from the women who started it on Miss Lamson’s front porch,
-- from those who gave dimes and nickels to build the first one-room building on Interlachen Avenue,
-- from residents throughout the decades who have shown their support and appreciation by donating to ensure that Winter Park has a wonderful library today,
-- and from the many staff, volunteers and members Board of Trustees who gave and give of their time, talents and treasure to assure a wonderful Library for tomorrow.
I appreciate the vision of those who saw the need for a public lending library for the people of Winter Park, and those whose varying visions have propelled the library from the front porch to the horizon of the future where we stand today.
A significant chapter of the Winter Park Public Library’s history closed this year with Bob’s retirement. In his 25-year year tenure he brought technological innovations to the library, added a third floor and help build a sizable endowment. He left an important legacy and stepping stones on which I have been able to build.
When I came on board last May, it became evident that the economic downturn that started in 2007 had taken its toll on the WPPL. Out of necessity, so much of the organizational thinking and processes had focused on maintaining the status quo with the pared down staff and downsized resources. My goal has been to engender an organizational culture that is patron and community-focused, aiming to be as relevant, user-friendly and accessible to them as possible.
In 2013 we implemented the technology funded by the “Innovation 127” campaign, an effort started in 2012 and which was generously supported by the City of Winter Park over and above their usual funding for operations. The implementation of “Innovation 127” brought new RFID technology to the WPPL, allowing us to fully implement self-service circulation. The five new Self-Serve Stations empower patrons to avoid lengthy lines by checking out and renewing their own materials as well as paying fines with a credit card. Additionally, it honors many patrons’ desire for greater privacy with regard to their library accounts. To further support our Self-Serve goal, we made it possible for patrons with items on hold to retrieve their own items by moving the Hold Shelf to a patron-accessible area.
At the beginning of the year, about 14% of our circulation was Self-Serve; today it is over 50%. This has allowed us to consolidate circulation activity to one service point, ending circulation services on the second floor. This change has freed the Youth Services staff to spend their time helping children with homework, literacy skills and allowed them to be able to spend more time helping their enthusiastic and reluctant readers to find their next great read.
In response to patron feedback, we changed our circulation procedures to give them more time to enjoy their books, audiobooks and music and increased the number of items they can put on hold.
These changes in technology and service points led us to our next stepping stone, a shift in spaces. Public Service Desks were altered to serve patrons better. A simple move of a desk on the second floor has made the desk much more visible allowing patrons to find staff to help them. The Reference Desk was moved to a corner where staff and patrons can better concentrate on receiving the information help they need. Collections were shifted for easier access and consolidated so that whenever possible, like items are all in one place, rather than require patrons go on a scavenger hunt. We made the third floor a quiet space for those who are studying, working on projects, etc. We moved public computers to a quiet room on the third floor for those who found the noise of the circulation desk, café and people coming and going too noisy for their work. When meeting rooms aren’t in use, we have offered those spaces for small groups or tutors who come to the Library to work.
After 10 years of operating the Library’s Lifelong Learning Institute, we are transitioning to a different programming model. The landscape of learning opportunities has changed greatly over the last decade and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are flattered indeed. Many community organizations have emulated our original model and now that those needs are being filled for the community, we are conducting surveys and focus groups to determine what the next generation of community-centric learning opportunities will look like.
Celebration, our annual donor event, was relocated to the Library this year. It was a perfect end to our first-ever compressed Annual Fund drive which ran February to April and exceeded the goal of $145,000. The compressed campaign was designed to avoid “ask fatigue” in donors as well as to avoid intruding on other Library fundraising effort throughout the year.
As staff reviewed the 2013-2014 budget, we decided to put greater effort into acquiring grant money or other targeted funds to fulfill needs and innovations the general operating budget could not support. To this end, we applied for and received a grant from the Winter Park Fund of the Central Florida Foundation that funded the purchase of 20 tablet computers, some of which will be used in our training efforts and others will be checked out to patrons for home use beginning in February 2014. Also starting in early 2014 will be a bicycle checkout program funded by a grant from the Healthy Central Florida initiative. Our year-end fundraising effort was gear toward replacing our broken and too-small drive-up bookdrop with a durable new model that will also prevent breakage of audio-visual materials by separating them from books.
Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, Board members and staff, we again enjoyed another successful Bash for Books fundraising and friend-raising event, which raised over $54,000 in support of the Library. It was also another banner year for the Friends of the Winter Park Public Library and their New Leaf Bookstore, which generated over $62,000 selling 100 percent donated books, music and movies by a devoted team of volunteers.
We gained a new neighbor this year when The Alfond Inn opened in August. In partnership with the New Leaf Bookstore, we stocked their library. They helped us host a very successful lunch for the Lamson League, and we are looking forward to an amazing Books and Cooks at “the neighbor’s house” in March of this year.
We worked with our other neighbor, Rollins College and forged a new reciprocal agreement for the benefit of both institutions. We began including Rollins, Maitland and Orange County libraries in staff development and programs.
We had our first all Staff Development Day. The staff developed our first-ever customer service philosophy, which created goals for service to patrons and also for service to each other as staff members.
Most importantly this year, the Board of Trustees had a strategic planning retreat. We took a day to evaluate what the library does, reflected on the Board’s role and developed a new mission, a new vision and strategic goals for the next three years.
The stepping stone from this planning session was a unanimous decision to pursue a new library building for the 21st century. The Board has taken this assignment seriously as has begun to visit other libraries, share information about new public libraries and strategically think about what Winter Park residents need for their public library of the future.
As we look ahead to 2014, many innovations are already on the horizon. In the next few weeks we will check out bicycles, iPads and Kindle Fires. Books and Cooks, Celebration and Bash for Books will be huge successes this year. I am looking forward to the Valedictorian luncheon where we honor our future leaders. In 2014, you will see us out in the community more -- offering services to residents, telling our story and just being present so that all residents will know of the many services, programs and materials the Winter Park Public Library offers.
None of the present or future accomplishments would have been possible without our dedicated Board of Trustees and your time, talent and treasure. Thank you for choosing me to lead this library into the future. I hope you all feel it is your public library, because it is.
We are sorry to announce that we have discontinued our subscription to the online New York Times Historical Archive and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our users. When examining all of the premium online research tools we provide, the NYT Historical Archive had very few searches while being one of the more expensive research tools we offer -- so the difficult decision was made to cancel the service. The good news is that thanks to our new reciprocal use agreement with Rollins College's Olin Library, Winter Park residents can get free access the NYT Historical Archives from computers at Olin Library after becoming reciprocal borrowers. For more about reciprocal borrowing with Rollins, see below.
Do you ever need a book that is more academic or in-depth than what we usually order for our collection? Now all Winter Park resident card-holders at the WPPL have FREE borrowing privileges at the lovely Olin Library on the Rollins campus. All you have to do is present your current WPPL library card and a photo ID to the Olin Library Circulation Desk and you will receive a year of access to its amazing collection.
Things to know:
Winter Park Library Board Names Shawn Shaffer as Library's Next Director
The start of a new year is traditionally the time to reflect on the Library’s past accomplishments and challenges. But this year, I’d like to instead focus on the Library’s future.
This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the generations who have come before us—from the women who started it in 1885 on Miss Lamson’s front porch, from those who gave dimes and nickels to build the first one-room building on Interlachen Avenue, from residents throughout the decades who have shown their support and appreciation by donating to ensure that Winter Park has a wonderful library today, and from the many staff, volunteers and members Board of Trustees who have given of their time, talents, and treasure to assure a wonderful Library for tomorrow.
The Library is able to build on a very strong tradition. We have an incredibly devoted staff. We are financially sound with an endowment that is the envy of many non-profits. We have a strong tradition of community support, both financial and through volunteer efforts. We have a great relationship with City elected officials and staff who understand the benefit of the Library to the community. And we have a strong tradition of excellence that will hopefully continue.
The near and long term future provides many opportunities to build on our past successes. The first is obviously to choose a new Director who can balance the many aspects of the position: running a small business, navigating City politics, working with an administrative Board, boosting the morale of the staff, recognizing and implementing community Library needs, and seamlessly integrating new technologies into the traditional role of the public library.
Another pressing opportunity is to work with the Board to develop and approve a new strategic plan. Our current plan expires September of this year. A new plan will need to be in place by September 30 in order to receive state aid in 2014. This gives the new Director an opportunity to immediately put his or her imprint on the Library’s services and collections.
A third opportunity is the technology systems for both internal operations and the public’s use need to be upgraded and integrated into existing services and collections. This can also hopefully aid in an analysis of the efficiencies of staffing.
But the primary intent must be to accomplish our Mission which is to improve the quality of life of Winter Park residents by responding to their changing needs for information, education, and entertainment. As one of the top libraries in the state, it is imperative that future administrations and Boards anticipate the changing needs of the Library’s users and stay ahead of them.
Critical to the Library’s ability to do these things is adequate funding. We have a great relationship with the City Commission and staff. The Library is financially sound with a strong endowment of both restricted and unrestricted funds. We weathered the great recession fairly well in terms of providing services and collections. The endowment has recovered much of its lost principal. But additional funding is needed for technology, staffing, and collections in both paper and electronic formats.
The foundation is strong. The future is bright. The opportunities are endless.
Library Director Announces Plan to Retire
Text of the Library Director's Annual Report to the Library Board of Trustees - posted January 11, 2012
The start of a new year is traditionally the time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and challenges and hopes for the future. This is the result of my reflections.
This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the
generations who have come before us:
Each year when I sit down to review the Library's annual accomplishments, I wonder what the big picture will look like. And each year I am amazed by what we were able to accomplish. In 2011, our partnership with the City remained a strong one. The City continued funding of the Library, increasing their support by enough to give the staff a raise for the first time in three years. They replaced the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system on the third floor and will be replacing part of the unit that cools the first and second floors in 2012. They also repaired and repainted the stairwell walls and planted a number of oak trees in the parking lot.
Fundraising was reasonably good. Thanks to Jan Walker's leadership and the efforts of the Library Council members, we had a very successful Bash for Books fundraiser. Endowments increased through additional gifts and increases in the market. Thanks to Chele Hipp for starting the Children’s Fund Endowment. The Annual Fund, while short of its goal, still showed some success in that we added new donors and realized increases in online giving. We had two matching grant opportunities -- thanks to Bruce Douglas for providing the matching funds for the downloadable media program and to the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation for the matching funds that went to the annual fund and paid for crucial computer hardware and supplies. Membership in "The Heritage Society," our organization for planned and major donors increased. And the Teen Advisory Board, our philanthropists in the making, again did their "stuck on the Library" fundraiser.
Two new services were added and several existing services were enhanced as set forth in our long range plan. We added downloadable books and audiobooks that can be accessed on e-readers, tablet computers, smartphones, laptops and other smart devices. We also added Mango, a foreign language learning service that offers hundreds of online lessons in 34 languages. In addition, our Winter Park History & Archives Collections continues to digitize individual collections.
Along with the improvements the City made to the building, a grant from the Winter Park Community Foundation funds of the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. will provide ergonomically correct chairs for our Community Room as well as install a wireless media system to enhance programming capabilities.
While use of the library remains high after the unprecedented increases of the past several years, we continued to eliminate staff positions --- which is somewhat stressing remaining staff as they pick up the duties of the eliminated positions. But work goes on and training of staff is important so that they keep their skills up to date. Many of the staff are taking advantage of free online workshops offered by the state library and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. In addition, our Lifelong Learning Institute offered instruction to staff on downloadable media, infectious disease awareness, and sensitivity training when dealing with aging patrons.
Several additional highlights of the year include:
What will 2012 bring? With nine new Trustees coming on the Board, hopefully some of the longer serving Trustees will step up to the plate and increase their commitment by taking a leadership role. The staff continue to evaluate the impact of digital media and other technology on how we offer services and collections and what impact those changes have on our space needs.
But our primary intent is to accomplish our Mission: improving the quality of life of Winter Park residents by responding to their changing needs for information, education, and entertainment.
Delivered by Library Director Bob Melanson to the Library Board of Trustees on January 10, 2012
WINTER PARK, Fla., an internationally recognized ICMA Excellence Award winner ) – Do you ever wonder how much electricity your microwave, computer, heater or refrigerator uses? Wonder no longer. On Wednesday, February 2, at noon, during the city’s Utilities Advisory Board meeting, the city will donate 10 electlllric usage monitors to the Win ter size="2" Park Public Library for patrons to check out for home use. This meeting will be held at the Winter Park Welcome Center located at 151 West Lyman Avenue.
Just like a book or a DVD, patrons of the library will be able to “check-out” the electricity-usage monitors to actually see which of their home appliances are costing them the most. The monitors are easy to use. Simply plug the meter into the wall, plug the appliance into the meter, enter some electricity price information, and presto! – the large LCD monitor shows how much power the appliance is using and how much it costs!
“Many of us never really think about the appliances we use and how much they cost to operate. We are providing these monitors to help show our customers areas where they can become more energy efficient and reduce energy costs,” explained Jerry Warren, Electric Utility Department Director. “This is all part of the city’s overall effort to encourage energy conservation among our customers.”
Beginning February 4, the monitors will be available for check-out for a two-week period at the Winter Park Public Library located at 460 East New England Avenue. For more information on the availability of the electric usage monitors, please call the library at 407-623-3300. To learn more ways to become energy efficient, visit the Electric Utility Department page on the city’s Web site at www.cityofwinterpark.org > Departments > Electric Utility.
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Library Now Home to James Gamble Rogers II Collection
We are thrilled to announce
that we are now the home of the James Gamble Rogers II Collection, which is
housed in our Winter Park History & Archives. This incredible collection
will contain the plans to 67 of Roger's buildings, including Casa Feliz and
the Barbour Apartments on Knowles Avenue, as well as almost 200 books from
his personal library.
Annual Report - 2010
History & Archives Collection Can Provide Info on Winter Park Homes
New Rankings Show WPPL Continues to Excel
For the past five years, WPPL was the #1 library in the state overall, but was outscored by 5 points by the Martin County Library System in the 2009 ratings. Several library systems in the state have been nipping at our heels for the past several years, and it was only a matter of time before one of them in a fast-growing area passed us (the population of Martin County increased over 9% since 2000 while Winter Park’s has grown by less than 1%). Martin County's library system has six branches and serves a population of almost 140,000.
While we are sorry to have lost the distinction of being #1, we will continue striving to provide the Winter Park community and all of our patrons with the very best Library materials, services and programs possible.
The rankings come from Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings and are determined by 15 factors including circulation, reference services, funding and staffing.
times have forced the Library to examine all aspects of our expenses and
income. In order to be responsible to our government funders, private
donors and patrons, we realized that we are going to have to do a better
job of collecting the fines and fees that are owed to the Library.
As part of these changes the 800 patrons who have an outstanding balance of $10+ will be sent a Library Billing Notice on June 15. Please do not ignore this notice if you receive one. Doing do will result in additional fees and possibly havings your account sent to collections.
We know that fines and fees are our patrons’ least favorite part of their Library experience, so we would like you to understand both how the fine and fees are structured and how to avoid them.
How Fines Work at the WPPL
Essentially the Library will have four different levels of fines, each with its own set of conditions and consequences.
Level 1: 10 cents to $4.99 – You will be verbally notified (either during a visit to the Library or on the phone when you call to renew) that there is an outstanding balance on your account and will be encouraged to pay the balance at that time. If you are unable to pay the fine at that time, you will have one month to pay your account down to zero. If your account balance isn’t paid down to zero within one month, a block will be placed on your account and you will lose Library borrowing/computer privileges until the account is paid in full.
Level 2: $5 - $9.99 – Your account is blocked. Although you can have the block lifted by paying only enough of the fine to get your balance under $5, you must pay the full amount of the fine within one month of being notified about the fine or your account will be blocked again until the balance reaches zero.
Level 3: $10 – 24.99 –Your account is blocked and you will be referred to our Collection Agency’s “small balance program” if you do not pay your balance within 21 days of receiving our Billing Notice (which will be sent via first class mail). At any time, you can pay the fine down to under $5 to resume use of your account, but if you do not pay the balance within one month your account will be blocked again until the balance is zero. If your account balance is referred to Unique Management’s small balance program you will also be charged a $10 collections fee that cannot be waived.
Level 4: $25+ - Same as above except that balances not paid within 21 days of the Billing Notice, will be referred to Unique Management’s “large balance program” and you will be charged a $20 collections fee that cannot be waived.
Contacting us about Your Account
Bonnie Wright – Head of Circulation – 407-623-3300, ext. 107 or email@example.com
Tom Tarvin – Youth Services - 407-623-3300, ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Evelyn Malles – Head of Youth Services, 407-623-3300, ext. 4 or email@example.com
Bill Johnson – Assistant Director, 407-623-3496 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The realities of the economic times in which we are living have come to the WPPL. Except for the City of Winter Park, which gave us a 3% increase, all other categories of income have been reduced or are expected to be more difficult to achieve. State aid has fallen for the last several years—this year by 20%. Income from our endowment has declined as the principle is being effected by the decreasing market valuation. Grant funds from foundations are also shrinking as their endowments are reduced. Contributions from our usually generous individual and corporate donors are being more carefully considered as the economy impacts family incomes.
When it came time to make reductions in collections and services to get a balanced 2008/09 budget, we tried to do it in ways to least impact levels of services. So many of the changes we’ve implemented may be invisible to you as we work on new ways to do things more efficiently. But some of the cuts that will effect you include:
- We’ve cut the materials budget, which means we
reduced the total number of materials we buy, most notably fewer copies
of best sellers and high demand books and movies.
Due Date Reminder
E-mails to Your Inbox
New Fee Effective
Save Time By
Using Library Self-Check Machines
New Limit on Video Games
Something Special for Fiction Readers!
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Winter Park Public Library -- 460 E. New England Ave.-- Winter Park, FL 32789 -- (407) 623-3300.