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Pinellas Public Library Cooperative
 p. ;
c 28 x 22 cm.
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative
Library cooperation --
z Florida --
Public libraries --
t Florida Library History Project
Florida Library History ProjectPinellas Public Library Cooperative. The Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, Inc. was established based upon the passage of a referendum in March 1989. This referendum offered residents in the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County the opportunity to vote to tax themselves up to .5 mills for library service. The referendum passed by a 75% majority and thus began the legal work to set the Cooperative in motion. Prior to that time the librarians throughout Pinellas County sought ways by which they could open their doors to people outside their legal boundaries. The directors presented their ideas to the Council of Mayors and to the Pinellas County Commission which authorized the County Administrator to further explore the possibilities. Administrator Fred Marquis appointed his Chief Deputy Dora Harrison to work with the Library Directors and other interested parties to develop a plan. A broad public relations effort was begun led by the Library Directors and several Friends of the various libraries. The public relations effort culminated in the success of the referendum. Then the variety of paperwork and structural design began. The Interlocal Agreement was the first of several documents created to describe the Cooperative, its legal basis, leadership and operations. This lengthy document included funding as a major component. A formula was developed whereby the County would allocate monies collected in the unincorporated areas to be used to operate the administrative unit and to support member libraries. These funds are allocated to the libraries to be used for operations -staff, materials purchases, supplies and services. Another portion of these funds has been used to support buildings new or renovations. The Interlocal Agreement was signed by sixteen cities (five for the Gulf Beaches Library), the Palm Harbor taxing district and the County in 1989. Clearwater held out but finally joined in 1994.
In 1995 the document was revised to increase the Board to nine (9) members and to correct language pertaining to State and Federal funds. The revised document was signed by all members. A supporting document is the Agreement between the County and the Cooperative Board which gives the Board greater authority for budgeting and funding allocations. It was determined early on that a not-for-profit corporation should be established to administer the Cooperative. Under Florida law such an entity can be empowered to receive State and Federal funds for library services. It was further decided that a Board of Directors would be set up for the Corporation whose members would be residents of various areas of the county that belonged to the Cooperative, that these Board members would not be employees of any library in the county or elected officials of any Cooperative member city, town or district. The County solicited nominations for this seven-member Board with the understanding it would appoint the first three who would serve as interim officers, It then fell to those three to review and appoint the remaining four members. This first Board of Directors was composed ofl Elizabeth B. Mann, Ph.D. Tarpon Springs Retired University Professorl Lawrence Lyons Seminole Bankerl Patricia Bauer Dunedin School Media Specialistl Joan Friedman Pinellas Park Co-owner, Air Conditioning Companyl Orchid Rogers Oldsmar Real Estate Agentl Homer Still St. Pete Beach Retired State Veterans Affairs Official The first duty of this Board, in addition to developing its Bylaws for approval by all member entities, was to hire an Administrator. An advertisement for the position was placed in national as well as state professional media. Responses were received and the list of candidates was eventually narrowed to three. Bernadette Storck, career employee of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System, was offered the position and began work on May 14, 1990. As stated earlier in this narration, Clearwater Library System did not sign the original Interlocal Agreement. In 1994 Clearwater applied for membership and
became a member effective October 1, 1994. Thus all of the existing public libraries are participants in Florida's first countywide public library cooperative. Among the early goals of the Cooperative were the establishment of an Answer Center, the Talking Book Library and interlibrary courier service. A team of library directors proposed the Answer Center and wrote a grant which was funded by LSCA monies. The Answer Center was designed to provide back-up reference service for member libraries utilizing a variety of more costly, in-depth reference tools. The Center has operated from the Largo Library and is presently housed in Clearwater's Main Library. The Talking Book Library was established in 1992 and opened to the eligible public in May 1993. It is housed with the Cooperative offices and provides services to all Pinellas County residents who are eligible regardless of whether they live in the Cooperative service areas or not. This subregional library works with the Regional Library in Daytona. The Pinellas Talking Book Library is staffed by two professional librarians, three full-time readers advisors/clerks and a part-time receptionist. It is also staffed by a devoted cadre of volunteers. Courier service began in January 1991 with one volunteer who used his own truck, two days a week. His duty expanded to three days almost immediately. It soon became apparent a pick-up truck would not do the job so the Cooperative leased a cargo van. In 1996 the budget was expanded to allow for two couriers and two vans. Service is daily with the couriers each serving half the county with stops at the Supervisor of Election office twice a week, the School Board once a week and Hillsborough and Pasco Counties once a week. In 1996 libraries in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties with the cooperation of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium decided to take interlibrary cooperation to a new plateau. The various libraries agreed to honor the library cards issued to residents with cards in their home counties. This means a resident of one county working in another has access to the collection in the neighboring library at the moment, not by waiting for interlibrary loan. Several residents are taking advantage of this system. With the success of tri-county interlibrary cooperation another program was initiated in 1997. St. Petersburg Junior College and Pinellas Public Library Cooperative libraries have agreed to accept adult learners wherever they may be.
This is another step toward cooperation in which Pinellas County has taken a lead. The member libraries share resources, programs and talents. By purchasing some costly materials and databases through or by the Cooperative even smaller libraries are able to offer their readers access to more in-depth information sources. The library directors meet monthly and share committee work, planning and concerns. This networking has resulted in policies and procedures which are accepted countywide to the benefit of all clientele. Brief histories of Pinellas county's public libraries offer an interesting review of some of the oldest of Florida's libraries and some of the newest. Small or temporary facilities have been replaced with new or newly renovated ones in the several years since the Cooperative began. Library staff numbers have increased and more professional librarians are available to serve the public. Friends and volunteers have increased in number and enthusiasm. The libraries and their readers all benefit. Plans for the future include new main libraries for Clearwater and St. Petersburg, enlargement and renovation of Pinellas Park and a new headquarters for the Cooperative and the Talking Book Library. These projects should be on the way by the year 2000.Member libraries and their current addresses (as of May 1998) are as follows: Clearwater Library System Main Library and Offices 100 N. Osceola Avenue Clearwater, FL 33755 Beach Branch 40 Causeway Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33767 Countryside Branch 2741 S.R. 580 Clearwater, FL 33761 East Branch
2251 Drew Street Clearwater, FL 33765 North Greenwood Branch 1250 Palmetto Street Clearwater, FL 33755 Dunedin Library 223 Douglas Avenue Dunedin, FL 34698 Gulf Beaches Library 200 Municipal Drive Madeira Beach, FL 33708 Gulfport Library 5501 28th Avenue South Gulfport, FL 33707 Largo Library 351 East Bay Drive Largo, FL 33770 Oldsmar Library 101 State Street West Oldsmar, FL 34677 Palm Harbor Library 2330 Nebraska Avenue Palm Harbor, FL 34683 Pinellas Park Library 7770 52nd Street North Pinellas Park, FL 33781 Safety Harbor Library 101 2nd Street North
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 St. Petersburg Library System Administrative Offices 280 5th Street North St. Petersburg, FL 33701 Main Library 3745 Ninth Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33713 Azalea Branch 7801 22nd Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33710 James Weldon Johnson Branch 1111 18th Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33705 Mirror Lake Branch 280 5th Street North St. Petersburg, FL 33701 North Branch 861 70th Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33702 South Branch 1201 Country Club Way South St. Petersburg, FL 33705 St. Pete Beach Library 365 73rd Avenue St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 Seminole Library 9199 113th Street North
Seminole, FL 33772 Tarpon Springs Library 138 E. Lemon Street Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 Pinellas Talking Book Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped 12345 Starkey Road, Suite L Largo, FL 33773-2629