The Alachua County Library District is the sole provider of public library services for Gainesville and Alachua County. With 12 branches, the library district seeks to help the entirety of Alachua County with information and resources.
Friday, the Alachua County Library District held its biggest outreach event of the year, Reader Palooza. The library district has held this event every Summer at Depot Park for several years, allowing kids to participate in the Summer reading challenge for a chance to win an Ipad. I got the opportunity to interview the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of the Alachua County Library District, Brad McClenny, on the services the Alachua County Library District provides, along with their future plans, and beliefs on censorship.
Q: What public services does the Alachua County Library District provide?
A: One of the biggest things we do is reentry. Reentry is when people are released from jail and have to reenter society. There are a lot of hurdles they have to go through, so we have a program where they can learn about all the services in Alachua County they can access, services that most people have no idea about. We are the connector of the dots, we’re not experts on everything, but we are the experts at connecting the dots for other people. When somebody has a need, we can find someone that will help.
Q: How can the library district help college students?
A: Most of the libraries are geared towards families, although we do have quiet reading and study rooms that college students can use. Additionally, we have a vast database collection. Our database collection that's accessible online is larger than the University of Florida’s database collection, so that is definitely a resource for college students.
Q: Do you have any plans for the future of the library district?
A: Right now, the Archer branch of the library district is under expansion, so that's the main thing we're looking forward to right now. As for Reader Palooza, we hope to increase the size and length in future years to come.
Q: Does the Alachua County Library District have anything to say on recent book-banning legislation being passed in Florida?
A: Our library district does not support censorship in any form. We are a place to provide to everyone, regardless of their age, race, or sexual orientation. Those shouldn’t be barriers to accessing information. The Alachua County Library District supports open access to information.
The Alachua County Library District has additionally issued an official stance on censorship.