Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Library System offers Internet access, e-books and more

Despite budget reductions of about $2 million over the last three years, the Hernando County Public Library System is continuing to find ways to grow — and evolve — library officials say.

"We've reinvented and rebranded ourselves," said Paul Alford, the system's branch services coordinator.

A bright new logo has been introduced, as well as a redesign of the library system's website. More changes are on the horizon, with the addition of new classes and a planned reconfiguration of library space.

"This is not just a new logo, but a new attitude," said John Wilson, owner of JSW Creative, a local graphic design company that serves national and international clients. The company was given the task of rethinking the look and feel of the county's libraries.

"Libraries are the original search engine, the point of discovery," Wilson said.

The overall design of the brightly colored logo is an exclamation point, "a universally known image," Wilson said. But, if you look closer, the edges of the image form an open book. Inside the open book is a question mark, a squiggly line and then another exclamation point — representing the genesis of learning. The dot of the punctuation mark denotes the circular path of discovery.

The days of a quiet, reflective library are in the past. The library of today is a community "hub" where people go to use the Internet, visit with their friends and maybe see an art exhibit, Alford said.

"It's also a place to fill the digital divide," he said.

He said that patrons often come into the library to use the Internet, but have lots of technical questions.

To better accommodate those needs, the library system has created a new Learning Services Division and hired a new librarian, in hopes of creating a more structured training program.

The division will feature computer classes that focus on patrons' "real-world needs," Alford said, adding that lessons will focus on the Internet, email, social media and the completion of online forms.

Although the library system will never entirely get away from hard-copy "tree" books, the use of e-readers, such as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Nobles' Nook, is on the rise.

While the system has offered e-books for about a year, it recently upped its cache to 15,000 titles. People can check out e-books online from their home computers, and because the e-books expire after two weeks, there are never any late fees.

"We're trying to better meet the needs of the community," Alford said.

This includes looking for creative ways to tighten the system's budgetary belt. The library system's current budget is about $4.4 million. The number of employees is down from about 65 five years ago to about 50 today, and hours of operation also have been reduced.

The system has moved from a proprietary cataloging software to a free open-source service, saving the library more than $20,000.

New technology has freed up staffers to be more available to patrons.

There's talk of a reverse-mentor program, where technology-savvy teenagers would instruct seniors on computer use. And the library is branching out into the community, hoping to partner with businesses and organizations.

"We're trying very hard to keep the library in the public's eye. We have so much to offer," said Betty Geentiens, president of the Friends of the Library.

The volunteer organization raises money for the library through the sale of books at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Spring Hill, and pays for all of the library system's programming. Currently, the group is selling T-shirts and book bags featuring the new library system logo to help raise money for future programming.

"We are one of the few county services that is free to everyone," Geentiens said. "The entire community benefits from the library."


Four libraries

For information about the Hernando County Library System's four libraries, call the main library in Brooksville at (352) 754-4043 or visit the website at

Hernando Library System offers Internet access, e-books and more 11/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2011 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on


    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times