Monday, November 28, 2011

Sanibel Library Proves Its Value Once Again

Recognized as one of the best libraries in the state of Florida by residents, visitors and other libraries, the Sanibel Library is showing its ability to keep up with the times once again.

In days of old, Libraries were rated on their cataloging systems, their facilities and their special user services.

In these times, a "good" library needs to be up to the latest in technology, and in this respect the Sanibel Library offers some real treats for those who are fortunate enough to use it. In addition to the library offering patrons down-loadable audio and e-books on their Kindle through the use of their library card, the library is currently in the process of a major tech over haul that will positively impact everyone.

The Sanibel Public Library is implementing an upgrade to provide a new library collection management system that includes a self check out stations for patrons.
The upgrade includes installing new radio-frequency identifier (RFID) tags in each of the library’s 70,000+ items. RFID is a combination of radio-frequency-based technology and microchip technology. The information contained on microchips in the tags affixed to library materials is read using radio-frequency technology. Checking materials out and in, and finding materials on the shelves, is easier and more efficient for library users and for staff.

According to library staff : "Patron self-check has always been popular here and now it will be a breeze with new, state-of-the-art stations. Library inventory, a once-dreaded summertime project, will take only a fraction of the time it used to, enabling staff to make sure each title is in its rightful place for patrons."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spotlight On: Sanibel-Captiva Zonta

Every so often we like to highlight an organization on Sanibel that helps to shape the culture and climate of the Island.

These are organizations, comprised largely of volunteers, who go the extra mile to lend a hand. Some, like C.R.O.W. and SCCF, focus on wild life, others focus on the people who live near and on the Island who need assistance and guidance.

Our current spotlight is on the Sanibel-Captiva Zonta Club. The Zonta Club of Sanibel/Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy and funds to strengthen women's lives on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International.

The Sanibel-Captiva Club recently hosted the Zonta International conference for district 11 (District 11 is comprised of the southeastern states from North Carolina to the Caribbean, and includes the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands.)

For Zonta members, these conferences are a rich source of networking, sharing and celebrating successes all while meeting the Zonta International mission of improving the status of women. The chosen theme for this past conference was "Saving the World, One Woman at a Time." The club received valuable support from other clubs in the region, including Sarasota, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples.

There are 42 clubs in the District and 33 of them were represented by delegates and other members. A total of 155 registered for the conference, including 31 "first-timers" and a representative of the Zonta International board, Kirsi Nickels from Finland.

The conference offered several stimulating presentations on global issues. One of these was by Nicole Waid, acting chief U.S. attorney, Middle District of Florida, who spoke passionately about the work of the State Attorney's office and task forces combating human trafficking.

It also offered an opportunity for the Island to strut its stuff. Attendees not only had the opportunity to see and enjoy Sanibel, but were treated to a luncheon talk by Dr. Jose Leal, executive director and curator of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, entitled "Shells and the Stories They Tell Us."

Sanibel Holiday applauds Zonta for all the good work that they do, and has a thunderous ovation for their efforts in bringing in visitors from around the area, state, country and world to the shores of Sanibel. The Island has long been a conference destination for many groups and with the help of chapters like Sanibel-Captiva Zonta, Sanibel will continue to attract such worthwhile organizations as Zonta International.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Protecting the Threatened and Endangered: Sanibel Island

What began as a sandbar is now Sanibel, a barrier island fringed with mangrove trees, shallow bays, and white sandy beaches located off the southwest coast of Florida.

Jay Norwood Darling, a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, was instrumental in the effort to block the sale of a parcel of environmentally valuable land to developers on Sanibel Island. At Darling’s urging, President Harry S. Truman signed an Executive Order creating the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945. The refuge was renamed in 1967 in honor of the pioneer conservationist.

The refuge consists of over 6,400 acres of mangrove forest, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks. Approximately 2,800 acres of the refuge are designated by Congress as a Wilderness Area. Protecting endangered and threatened species has always been an important aspect of Ding Darling Preserve's mission.

There are several species of turtles on Sanibel that are considered threatened or endangered. The loggerhead turtle is the most abundant form among Florida's sea turtles. It is the only species which regularly nests in substantial numbers on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The loggerhead is considered to be a threatened species.

The rarest
and smallest of the sea turtles, the Kemp's ridley, occurs in the region year-round.

This declining species primarily congregates for mass nesting on the Mexican Gulf coast north of Vera Cruz. In the last two decades individual ridleys have nested in Florida, including a documented nesting on Sanibel Island. Because of its drastically reduced population the Kemp's ridley is considered endangered throughout its range.

The leatherback turtle feeds almost exclusively on pelagic jellyfish. This species is a very rare visitor to the barrier island beaches of Southwest Florida, and there are no recent records for the species here. Leatherbacks are infrequently observed offshore. The leatherback is listed as an endangered species.

Juvenile hawksbill turtles are the most rare of all the world's marine turtles. Through time the shell of this species has been highly valued because it is the source of tortoise shell. Because of exploitations, the collection of the shell is no longer sanctioned by most countries in the Americas. Japan, however, continues to import tons of the product from around the globe----from wherever tortoise shell is still harvested in Third World countries. Adult hawksbills resemble loggerheads and it sometimes takes an expert to distinguish them apart in the limited areas where they may utilize the same nesting habitat. The hawksbill is primarily a creature of reefs and hard bottoms where it feeds on coral polyps and sponges. The hawksbill is considered an endangered species.