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The Jacksonville Public Library at a Glance

Our Vision: Start Here. Go Anywhere.

Our Mission: To enrich lives, build community, and foster success by bringing people, information, and ideas together.


The Jacksonville Public Library is an independent agency of the City of Jacksonville, governed by the Board of Library Trustees. The Library Trustees work to ensure the library has the resources it needs to provide quality library services to the community. The board is composed of 12 voting members and at least two non-voting members who serve in an ex officio capacity. Non-voting members of the board are the City Council president, or his designee, and the Superintendent of Schools, or his designee. At his discretion, the Council president may appoint a second member of the City Council to serve as a third non-voting member. Each at-large City Council district is represented by two trustees with another two trustees as citywide appointments. Trustees are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Each trustee serves a four-year term and may serve a total of two consecutive terms. Board and committee meetings are noticed public meetings in accordance with the Florida Sunshine Law. The public is welcome to attend.

Library Director Barbara A.B. Gubbin reports to the Board of Library Trustees; Erin Vance Skinner is board chair.

Library Support

The Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library Inc. (FJPL) has been operating as a nonprofit organization since 1956 for the sole benefit of the Jacksonville Public Library. FJPL operates the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library Bookstore University Park Branch Library, where FJPL also holds Book Warehouse Sales. In addition, FJPL conducts ongoing online book sales and “Meet the Author” events several times a year. While FJPL is a citywide Friends group, several library branches have localized Friends groups to assist with branch-specific needs.

The Jacksonville Public Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit corporation created in 1986. The Foundation’s mission is to provide resources that enhance and enrich the Jacksonville Public Library. To this end, the Foundation encourages investments in the future of our library through a variety of giving opportunities, such as donations, grants, endowment funds, planned giving and memorials.

2016 Library Funding

In order to sufficiently fund library operations, programs and services, the library budget is supplemented with various private, state and federal grants, and private donations through the library’s Resource Development Office, Jacksonville Friends of the Public Library and the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation.

Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget

Salaries and Benefits $18,080,261
Direct Operating Expenses (General Fund)     2,438,170
Library Books and Materials     2,934,849
ITD Allocations     1,772,766
Other Internal Service Allocations     1,242,347
Indirect Costs     5,183,808
Total City Funds*    31,652,201
State Aid FY13 Grant**
(equipment, furniture, books and materials)
Total $ 33,019,923
*Funding source: City of Jacksonville
**Funding source: State Aid to Libraries

Facts and Figures - Fiscal Year 2015

Main Library location: 303 Laura Street North


Locations: Main Library plus 20 branches across Jacksonville, all within Duval County

Collection size: 2,354,787 books, e-materials, periodicals, DVDs, CDs and other materials

Circulation: Library materials were checked out more than 5.9 million times

Library visitors: More than 3.4 million

Library cardholders: 675,186

Website usage: 3.1 million visits

e-Library circulation: 396,548

Program attendance for children, teens and adults: 177,977 individuals

Adult literacy: Nearly 800 individuals were enrolled in literacy and English as a Second Language classes at the Center for Adult Literacy (CAL) last year. CAL services were accessed more than 11,000 times; more than 40 volunteers were trained.

Talking Books: Nearly 2,000 visually and physically impaired customers checked out audiobooks and videos nearly 110,000 times last year; nearly 1,500 individuals attended programs offered through the Talking Books program.

Popular Services

Youth Programs: Children and teen librarians specialize in reader’s advisory and reference services for all youth, offering engaging and enriching age appropriate programming and resources. Last year 142,671 area children and teens attended library programs.

Adult Literacy: The Center for Adult Learning (CAL) offers free and confidential services to people 18 or older who are functionally illiterate. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, that is nearly 20% of the total U.S. population. Students receive instruction in reading, math, life skills and/or English as a Second Language, depending on individual need.

Talking Books: As part of the Special Needs Library, the free Talking Books collection offers a wide variety of reading material in a format for people who have difficulty holding, handling or reading a regular print book because of a visual or physical disability.

E-research: Our reference experts can help customers search across a number of the JPL online resources simultaneously to find exactly what they need quickly.

Ask-a-Librarian: Customers can have reference questions answered through email, live chat online and texting from mobile devices.

Downloadable Media: Nearly 410,500 audio books, e-books and videos are available at no charge to customers with a valid library card. Titles can be downloaded to a computer or smartphone mobile device, transferred to an e-reader, or burned onto a CD.

Internet Access: Computers at all library locations provide customers with access to free Internet and Web-based email. JPL public computers have children’s educational software, an Internet safety training course and Microsoft software including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher.

Nonprofit Resources @ JPL Collection: Customers and nonprofit organizations have access to one of Florida’s finest reference collections for information on philanthropy, grants and funders.

Personalized Services

Personalized Playlists: With this music advisory service, JPL librarians with a passion for good music handcraft playlists for customers based on their unique tastes and interests.

Personalized Booklists: Customers searching for their next favorite novel can receive a personalized reading list suited to their reading preferences.

Book-a-Librarian: Personal appointments with a librarian are available for those looking for in-depth research services.

Special Collections

The Main Library houses many unique reference and research resources to inform, enlighten and educate, including the:

The Conference Center at the Main Library

The Main Library, located in the heart of downtown, features a Conference Center that rents space for community and business meetings, conventions, private celebrations and social gatherings. The conference facility includes an auditorium, multipurpose ballroom, meeting rooms, beautiful courtyard, and a new space–the Lounge at 303 North. Fees are set by the Board of Library Trustees and reviewed regularly. Income from the Conference Center is held in the Library Conference Facilities Special Revenue Fund and is used to offset costs of operation and maintenance.

The Conference Center has been in operation since the Library opened its doors in 2005. Over the years our numbers have risen to an average of 550 meetings and events, with an estimated attendance of 45,000 guests on an annual basis. We’ve been privileged to host numerous events for the Mayor’s Office and City Council over the years, in addition to Presidential primary stops for Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani. The Conference Center has played host to celebrity Chef’s Paula Dean and Mario Balotteli. Throughout the year the Conference team continues to excel by hosting numerous weddings, receptions, proms and private parties for the residents of Jacksonville and beyond. Additionally, we also serve the local non-profit community and local charitable organizations for their meeting and event needs. For more information, call the Conference Center team at 904-630-1947 or email us at

The Lounge at 303 North opened in FY 2014 as the newest rental space at the Main Library. Located just inside the entrance, the Lounge has a contemporary design with sleek sofas and comfy chairs, cocktail and accent tables and chairs, and a generous wet bar area, making it perfect for a party, meet and greet, or reception.

Capacity Plan

Despite its growth and importance in the community and the local economy, the Jacksonville Public Library has faced annual budget uncertainty and significant decreases in its direct expenses—even following a large expansion in 2005 resulting from the Better Jacksonville Plan.

In response, the Board of Library Trustees retained a consultant through competitive bid to determine the capacity of the library to provide quality services into the future. The consultant’s recommendations were developed with input from the library, the community, and stakeholders, and are included in, Past, Present, Future: A Library for the Future for Jacksonville, Final Report of the Jacksonville Public Library Capacity Plan Study.”

On July 15, 2011, the board submitted five recommendations from the report to the mayor and City Council. A brief summary of the recommendations follows. Further details are included in the complete report of recommendations by the board available at

1. Strengthen Information Delivery: Access to information of all forms strikes at the core of the library’s mission. In order to be more innovative, cost effective and responsive to the community’s technology needs, the board recommends the city allow the library to manage its own information technology budget. In addition, a commitment must be made to sustain the library’s collection of physical information in the form of books and other materials.

2. Maintain Buildings Adequately: All 21 library buildings, including the seven libraries built as a result of the Better Jacksonville Plan in 2004 and 2005, are in serious need of a plan to provide better maintenance.

3. Remedy Inequities in Library Service: So that all citizens have equitable access to modern, high-quality library facilities, the board recommends that two new libraries be established in areas of the city that are currently either unserved or underserved.

4. Stabilize Funding: The board recommends implementation of stable, reliable and sustainable funding mechanisms, as well as endorsement of targeted capital investments.

5. Ensure Quality Staffing: The board recommends shifting a number of positions from civil service to appointed positions to achieve maximum hiring flexibility.

Revised 11/24/2015