Miami-Dade Public Library System

Miami-Dade County Public Library System / Courtesy

The Miami-Dade Public Library System is trying to find a way to stay relevant in the digital age.

It’s getting a bit of help from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which recently awarded it a $35,000 grant to prototype a co-working space.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

By setting a few soliloquies from Hamlet to a beat, Oscar Fuentes - also know as the Biscayne Poet - showed that the poetry in rap songs is not all that different from Shakespeare.

It was part of the Hip Hop Shakespeare workshop at the Arcola Lakes branch library in Liberty City. 

“Shakespeare has always been like a highbrow of literature and the language,” Fuentes says, “and today you have amazing writers, amazing hip-hop writers that are not given the credit they deserve as intellectuals.”

Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The Miami-Dade County commission voted eight-to-four to approve a $54 million budget for the county's public libraries Thursday night.

Terry Murphy, board member with Friends of the Library, says it was an 81-percent increase from what Mayor Carlos Gimenez first proposed in July.

"This is a real symbolic victory that says when the community speaks out and says what the priorities are, the county commission listens," he said. "This was a tremendous victory for the people of Dade County tonight."

Creative Commons

Several of the biggest libraries in Miami-Dade may stay open seven days a week in October.

The interim director of the libraries has released a tentative library schedule based on what county budget commissioners tentatively passed in June. It gives the libraries almost 53 million, more than last year.

The extra money will allow the five largest branches to add Sunday service, meaning they’ll be open every day of the week.

William Rolle / YouMedia Miami

Over the past few months, we've been covering the efforts of Miami-Dade library supporters to keep libraries fully funded. Advocates say libraries are more than just books -- they're major learning centers. One popular library program is YouMedia Miami where teenagers learn about technologies like coding, graphic design and music production.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Phillip Pessar

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is slated to reveal his proposal for next year’s budget tomorrow and lots of eyes are on how much he will allocate for county libraries.

John Quick, president of Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Libraries, has fought cuts in library hours and personnel as the county is forced to dip into reserves to keep them afloat.

 

For Quick, $64 million is the magic number.

 

Kelley Mitchell

It was the Everglades that brought out the poet in Coral Gables High School student James Lachterman.

And in under 20 lines of rhyme, the then 15-year-old was able to capture a prize in the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s contest for teen poets.

And now, with April and National Poetry Month upon us again, the search is on for the next winners. Young adults from the ages of 12-19 are eligible, with a valid library card, of course.

This year’s theme is technology.

Richard Etienne

Dylan Etienne was in Publix with his mom when a random woman came up and asked if he likes to write. "Yeahhhh," he said, in a tone that indicated he really, really does. You gotta listen to the audio to hear him in his own words.

The woman in the store handed him a flyer for the Miami-Dade Public Library's young adult writers-in-residence program. 

Miami-Dade County Public Library System / Courtesy

Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library will host a book sale Dec. 11 through Dec. 14 at the Main Library branch at 101 West Flagler St.

Thousands of donated books, CDs and DVDs will be for sale. Guests are invited to "go green" and bring reusable bags to carry their books.

This summer, Miami-Dade libraries faced budget cuts which threatened to close down dozens of branches across the county.

Who's Saving Miami-Dade Libraries? These Guys

Oct 30, 2013
MARICE COHN BAND / Miami Herald Staff

A special task force charged with figuring out how to fund and run Miami-Dade County’s libraries officially started work Oct. 30.

Even though a grassroots campaign to save county libraries from massive funding cuts prevailed this September, county commissioners exhausted their reserve fund in the process.

That means the county’s library budget faces a projected $21-million short fall next year.

Is Florida Back To Work Yet?

Sep 13, 2013
Flickr

Touting his job-creation record, Governor Rick Scott says it’s time to cut taxes. But with questions about both the state's unemployment rate and education spending being lower than before the Great Recession, Democrats say the Governor’s priorities are off. 

In Miami-Dade, an active social media campaign and vocal supporters at town halls have saved public libraries from budget cuts - for now - after the county commission decided to raid its reserves. So was Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrong to declare that the "age of libraries was probably ending?"  

Arianna Prothero/WLRN

After an 8 1/2-hour public hearing, Miami-Dade County commissioners found a way to keep its library system essentially intact early Wednesday morning while also not raising taxes.

In July, commissioners voted to hold the line on taxes, but that meant laying off firefighters, abandoning plans for a no-kill animal shelter and cutting hours, services and jobs from the library system. In the weeks that followed, all three became hot issues, but it was the libraries that dominated Tuesday night's public hearing. Librarian Jennifer Lopez said patrons would be devastated.

Save the Miami-Dade Public Libraries / Facebook

Hoping to soften the blow of expected library closings due to county budget cuts, the Miami-Dade School Board may open some of the district’s facilities after hours to fill at least part of the coming void.

Some 14 Miami-Dade libraries are slated to close as County Mayor Carlos Gimenez grapples with tight finances.

The issue has been among the most scrutinized aspects of Gimenez’s 2014 budget proposal, which won’t be set until September.

Marice Cohn Band / Miami Herald Staff

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who on Tuesday will hold the first in a series of town hall meetings about next year’s budget, says three county fire-rescue ambulances that were slated to be eliminated for cost savings have been saved.

The Fire Department still faces a $15 million budget deficit, so some firefighters are still likely to get pink slips, the mayor said. But the number could be about half of the 149 positions originally projected for elimination to plug the hole.

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