Sanibel Library Ranked One of the Top in Florida

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

State library rankings are out, and your Sanibel Public Library ranks at or near the top of Florida in many areas including the amount of items to borrow in different formats – print books, audiobooks, DVDs, BluRay and music CDs, access to the new online archives, and programs for adults and children.

Sanibel Public Library has been ranked one of the top in Florida. SC photo Chuck Larsen

Sanibel was ranked number one per capita (per 1,000) for: circulation (number of books or items borrowed), availability of print, audio, video, and other material to check out, website visits per capita, and square footage availability. The 2021 ratings are based on FY 2019 Florida Library Statistics, which measures 82 libraries/library systems in the state. Sanibel Public Library has been at or near the top ranking for about 15 years. It has also won national Star Library Awards (top 200 public libraries of 9,000 measured nationally) in five of the last 10 years.

The high ranking is due to wonderful support from the Island community and visitors who value cultural activities, reading, and lifelong learning. The library can also attribute success to a publicly-elected Library Board of Commissioners who ensure budget and infrastructure are in place to support strong services; outstanding staff with customer service as its core value; the private Sanibel Public Library Foundation grant support for enhancements to the Library (such as Author Series, cutting-edge technology, youth programming, and more).

Melanie Congress, Library District Board of Commissioners President, said “Executive Director Margaret Mohundro and the knowledgeable staff strive to provide the resources people need and want. During the pandemic the Library was an important resource—providing services such as curbside pickup, tech resources such as loaning WiFi hot spots, and access to online tutoring services for children to assist them with at-home learning.”

“We’re all very proud the Library continues to receive such high rankings; it is testament to the community support of the Library and highlights how often locals are using Library services and borrowing books or other material,” said Congress.

Library staffers seated: L to R: Candy Heise, Wendy Lambrix, Margie Klein, stand: Cathy Cameron, Florinda Patterson, Vivi Whalen, Maureen Tesoro

In addition to high state rankings, the Library has won many annual Star Library awards from Library Journal. It has been #1 on TripAdvisor for “Things to Do on Sanibel” many times, and earned many TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awards.

The State Library of Florida based ratings on estimates of population, University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research; Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services; and U.S Institute of Museum and Library Services. Other highly-ranked libraries on the list include North Miami Beach Public Library, Maitland Public Library, North Palm Beach Library, as well as Collier and Lee County Library systems.

The Sanibel Public Library collection focuses on new and bestselling fiction and nonfiction, as well as topics of particular interest to locals including mystery fiction; history; travel; lifestyle such as cooking, decorating, and gardening; health, biographies; and current events.

The Library has remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic by increasing the 24/7/365 download and streaming services, as well as providing assistance via telephone and in person.

The Library’s annual budget, including gifts and grants, is about $2.4 million. The Sanibel Public Library District is an independent special district serving Sanibel with a publicly-elected Board of seven members. The Library ranks at or near the top among all Florida public libraries for checkouts, visits, program attendance, Internet use and more; and it is regularly awarded high rankings among the 9,000-plus public library systems in America.

Sanibel Public Library cards are available to all residents of Sanibel and Lee County, Florida, at no charge. Visitor library cards are available for a $10 annual fee. For more information about the Sanibel Public Library, call (239) 472-2483, or visit online at

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