Despite rumors to the contrary, the sun does not shine every single day in Florida. And not everyone can sit on the beach day after day after day. So on your Florida vacation, alternative plans need to be made.

If there’s a bookworm in your group, we suggest planning a special outing to a public library. Fun for all ages (but especially little children), a public library typically offers computer access, comfortable places to curl up and read, and daily entertainment.

We combed through the thousands of libraries in Florida to choose our favorites, listed below. We encourage you to plan a visit to any of the award-winning libraries during your next trip to Florida. Search the shelves for a classic and curl up with a good read!

Best Libraries in Florida To Visit

North Miami Beach Public Library || Miami Beach

In their own words: Lots of fun and serious materials are available for adults, teens, and children: books, magazines, local and national newspapers, DVD’s, book and music CD’s. Materials in Chinese, Creole, French, and Spanish languages, materials for adults just learning to read or whose first language is not English, and E-Z teen books are also available.

You can pick up voter registration, financial aid, and tax forms. Borrow, print, and CDs to learn a new language. Attend educational programs on financial planning, small business development, identity theft, alternative medicine, living wills, and art classes.

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Broward County Library || Fort Lauderdale

In their own words:Broward County Library is your window to a world of learning and fun! We invite you to visit our libraries in person or online and explore the wealth of opportunities that await for all ages. Broward County Library was founded in 1974 and is the largest library system in Florida by square footage. The library system, with its 38 locations, is also one of the busiest with more than 7.5 million walk-in customers visiting annually.
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Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center || Fort Lauderdale

In their own words: The Nova Southeastern University Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center has a unique partnership with the Broward County Board of County Commissioners to provide access to its resources not just for NSU students, faculty, and staff, but to anyone living, working or going to school in Broward County. As a university library and cultural center, the library has something for everyone.

Standing five stories high, the library offers wireless access throughout the building; 23 study rooms; a collaborative study room; the Cotilla Gallery with ongoing exhibits; programs for all ages; the Weiner Holocaust Resource and Reflection Center; 1,000 user seats; and a café. The library environment is spacious, high tech, yet friendly.

Their Mission is to provide convenient access to a full range of innovative and cost-effective services that satisfy the changing needs of the people of Broward County for information, education and recreation.

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Gulf Gate Library || Sarasota

Yelp Review: As far as smaller area libraries go, Gulf Gate Library has it all and then some. The library itself is just great, rather new, immaculate, spotless, great lighting, a super large children’s area, a juvenile area, computer areas and everything well organized. Then, of course being in an area often referred to geriatric ward of Florida, one of the largest collections of large print books I’ve ever seen. And, for myself being well over 70 in age, a very welcomed library addition.  

The library staff here is as friendly, polite and helpful as you’ll find anywhere some of whom appear to be volunteers. There is also a “Friends of Gulf Gate Library” area that has what is posted as a being a “gift shop,” but unless it is a book, I didn’t see any other gifts. However, the deals on books, some of them used but appearing unused are great. I picked up a really good cookbook for $4.00 that would have easily run me $25 or $35 in a retail book store.

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Sanibel Public Library || Sanibel Island

In their own words: The Sanibel Public Library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the country. Library Journal named it a 5-Star Library in its annual America’s Star Libraries survey. The Journal examined the annual number of library visits, circulation, program attendance and public internet computer use for more than 7,000 public libraries nationwide, awarding various rankings to 260 libraries. Sanibel Public Library ranks near the top for service and use across Florida Public Libraries. Sanibel Public Library has also won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the past three years. At the Sanibel Public Library islanders find an oasis within their island – an atmosphere charged with creativity and the lively exchange of ideas. The Library holds an integral place in the community. Islanders and visitors come to read, learn, interact, and stir their souls. Sanibel Public Library has the latest in books, programs, and electronic tools!

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DeFuniak Springs Library || DeFuniak Springs

In their own words: The Walton-DeFuniak Library was established in 1886. It is the second oldest in Florida, with only the library in St. Augustine considered as being older. However, some facts have come to light recently which prove that our library is the oldest in the state that was built as a library and still continues to be used as such. Approximately 25,186 volumes can be utilized today at the Walton-DeFuniak Library.

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University of Florida Library West || Gainesville

In their own words: The libraries of the University of Florida form the largest information resource system in the state of Florida and serve every college and center in the university, including the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and the Health Science Center. UF’s libraries consist of seven libraries; six of which comprise the George A. Smathers Libraries. The Smathers Libraries actively collaborate with the Legal Information Center, which is a part of the Levin College of Law.

The Smathers Libraries include the following:

  • Architecture and Fine Arts Library
  • Education Library
  • Health Science Center Libraries (UF campus and Borland Library in Jacksonville)
  • Library West (Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • Marston Science Library
  • Smathers Library (Special and Area Studies Collections, Latin American and Caribbean Collection, Map and Imagery Library)

The Smathers Libraries have a large and diverse IT footprint, including nearly 600 publicly accessible computers, numerous specialized scanners, 3D printers and other equipment, iPads are available for check-out.

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Jacksonville Public Library || Jacksonville

In their own words: Located downtown near City Hall and Hemming Plaza, the Main Library opened in November 2005, replacing the Haydon Burns Library. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the new library is almost three times the size of the Haydon Burns building. The North Laura facility is 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) with the capacity to hold one million books. A 600-space parking garage across from the library building on Duval Street makes the Main Library easily accessible. State-of-the-art technology offers 250 public computers, satellite, and video conferencing capabilities with infrastructure to support future technologies. On April 18, 2012, the AIA Florida Chapter placed the Jacksonville Public Library – Main Library on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places. In addition to the Library and the Conference Center, the Library building hosts a bookstore and a café.

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