Letter from the Library Director:

We Are More Than Just Books

Your St. Johns County libraries are more than just books.

People of all ages use the library to enrich their lives. You and your family come to the library for programs, stop by to enjoy meeting friends and neighbors, and take advantage of our rapidly expanding services available on computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices. The challenge to serve all age groups during this era of swift technological innovations strains our budget. Still, your librarians listen to your needs and work each day to anticipate the next “big” thing.

Library programs, both inside our branches and out in the community, are expanding in number of offerings and attendees. Since October 2023, SJCPLS has offered 1,665 programs with almost 65,000 attendees! We have expanded our programs for preschoolers to teens based on demand, and continue our partnership with St. Johns County School District to offer the very best to our students. We offer free homework help through our website, along with access to trustworthy indexes and full-text sources 24/7 so your students can reach for an A+ with convenience and confidence.

This year’s library budget included funding for additional full-time and part-time employees specifically to increase the number of library programs and classes provided as well as expand public access to our libraries by 32 service hours a week. We are now offering Sunday hours at four of our branches, Bartram Trail, Main, Ponte Vedra Beach, and Southeast, and Monday hours at the Anastasia Island and Hastings branches. Additionally, library visits are up since October 2023 by 16.5% and we have issued 6.5% more library cards this period as compared to last year!

We continue to increase our e-content budget based on the growing usage of those resources, which has increased by 30.25% this past year. We maintain free Wi-Fi connections to make using iPads, laptops, and other portable devices easy and convenient. Our virtual reference questions have increased 31% since October 2023.

The primary goal of SJCPLS remains constant: YOU, our patrons come first, as we continue to offer the broadest spectrum of services while spending your tax dollars wisely and efficiently. We remain vigilant in managing resources, without compromising the quality of library services. We have worked diligently to keep our 2025 budget requests within the recommended guidelines. The County Administrator’s public budget hearings are planned for May 10-20, 2024, at the County Administration building, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine. Please take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the Library System’s budget and the overall fiscal health of the County’s departments and services.

Your support of SJCPLS is greatly appreciated as we continue to do our very best to serve you.

Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System

St. Johns County Public Library System