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New media a big boost to library
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REDINGTON SHORES – E-books, digital accounts, Wi-Fi logins, movie-sharing, subscription databases. Unknown a few years ago, these and other new media are giving the Gulf Beaches Public Library a new relevance in the digital age.

The library, based in Madeira Beach, also serves and is supported by the residents of Treasure Island and the three Redingtons.

In a presentation given at the Aug. 13 Redington Shores Town Commission meeting, Library Director Maggie Cinnella said the library is “in good shape.” That is due in part to its offering of a wide range of digital items and services.

A report by Cinnella on the library’s usage during the first nine months of fiscal 2014 shows the shift to digital media. The report showed the circulation of physical items, mostly books, while still by far the largest usage category, was down 7 percent. The use of digital items grew by 12 percent during the same period.

Cinnella said that library customers are now using the library’s digital resources for such diverse pursuits as interactive language learning, ancestry searches and job seeking.

Public access catalogs offer entry into a number of databases providing information on an endless variety of topics, she said.

“People are really starting to use the electronic resources,” Cinnella said.

Other popular checkout items offered by the library include DVDs, audio books and electronic materials. The library’s extensive book collection is also much used and is continually refreshed with new books.

Overall, nearly 100,000 items were checked out during the past nine months of this fiscal year. “That’s a lot of traffic,” Cinnella said.

In addition to the items available, Cinnella said the Gulf Beaches library also offers a number of programs. These include computer classes and filmgoer programs. She mentioned a children’s summer reading program, which had just wrapped up, was “a big hit.”

As evidence of the community’s support of the library, volunteer hours logged totaled 812, an increase of 21 percent.

“That’s huge,” Cinnella said. Students are choosing the library to earn needed volunteer hours for school programs and scholarships, she said.

Among the new things the Gulf Beaches Public Library will be doing over the coming year, Cinnella said, will be implementing new fundraising activities.

Food For Thought, a long-running activity that offered samplings from local restaurants, will be “put on the back burner.”

“We’re going to try something new. Go in a different direction next year,” Cinnella said.

Also coming soon, the library will begin the streaming of movies.

“That’s the way a lot of things are going now, and we want to be a part of it,” she said.

The Gulf Beaches library has a budget of just over $500,000 a year, of which a little more than half ($280,000) is paid for by a shared arrangement with the five supporting communities. The rest of the money comes from the county, as well as fines, fees, donations and the library’s reserve funds.

Tennis courts to be resurfaced

The town’s tennis courts will get a much needed overhaul, said Parks and Recreation Commissioner MaryBeth Henderson.

“They are in bad shape,” she said.

A bid to begin resurfacing of the courts was approved by the commission. The work also will include restriping and new nets.

The winning bid was submitted by Florida Courts, Inc. of Hudson. Henderson said the firm “does great work. We have lots of recommendations.”

The bid of $3,960 was $900 lower than the other bid received, she said.

Recycle bins popular

Newly-placed recycle bins on the beach are proving to be “a big hit,” Henderson said. They are getting much more use than the trash cans, she said.

Town clerk gets raise

Town Clerk Mary Palmer followed up a celebration of 30 years employment with Redington Shores by getting a 3 percent salary increase.

“Mary is the backbone of this town,” proclaimed Mayor Bert Adams in announcing the raise.

“I vote yes too,” put in Town Attorney James Denhardt, following a unanimous vote of approval by the commission.

Denhardt added, “What would you do without her?”
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