in The News

Sunshine Honors National Library Week by Taking Care of Broward Public Libraries

New County Contract Includes Cleaning 33 Libraries

Sunshine’s new Broward County contract, which includes the daily cleaning of 33 neighborhood public libraries, began just in time for National Library Week (NLW), April 23-29.

First sponsored in 1958, NLW is organized by the American Library Association (ALA), with a variety of libraries participating, including schools, universities, and libraries in special places like the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The goal of this celebration, according to the ALA is to “celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions and promote library use and support.”

The week kicks off with the release of the ALA’s State of America’s Libraries Report, including the list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2022. This year’s theme, “There’s More to the Story,” illustrates the wide variety of resources offered by libraries.

“Library programming brings communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, story times, movie nights, crafting classes, and lectures,” states ALA promotional materials. “And library infrastructure advances communities, providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for businesses, job seekers, and entrepreneurs.”

When this designated week began in the mid-1950s, the ALA leaders were concerned with the reported decline in book reading due to the new distractions of radios, televisions, and musical instruments. Therefore, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee, whose ambitious goals included encouraging people to read more to tying reading to improved income, health, and family relationships. The first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”

Today, the United States has more than 9,000 public libraries. Add public and private schools, universities and other special libraries and the number climbs to nearly 124,000, employing more than 168,000 librarians and nearly 202,000 other staff.

Because libraries are such a strong part of our communities, Sunshine team members pay extra attention to keeping these important neighborhood gathering places clean. To preserve the delicate pages of books, for example, cleaning products are never used on or near the shelves. Instead, highly effective, yet gentle microfiber dusters are used to carefully remove dirt and grime from the shelves, but books are never touched. Another unique aspect of library cleaning is the variety of surfaces. Most libraries have a mix of hard floors, tile, and carpeting, plus desks chairs and other seating areas.

Some libraries are very high traffic facilities, as they host such special events as talks, exhibits, language classes, readings, crafts/arts (even Tai Chi), cultural programs, and lots of kids programming. We must work around these events and ensure that they are germ-free. Our

disinfecting services are highly effective in removing germs from high touch areas used by people of all ages, from children to adults.

A big challenge is in staffing for the libraries, as we required staff willing to work with flexible hours, such as Monday through Tuesday, from noon to 8 p.m. or Wednesday and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to taking care of neighborhood libraries throughout Broward County, we have also provided cleaning services to the Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale for more than a dozen years.