Best Item to Keep in Your Wallet (2004)
Broward County Library Card
The Broward County library system offers a zillion free resources in its one main, five regional, and 33 branch libraries. There are also three reading centers and four bookmobiles. If you're not into, like, reading, man, then try the 35,243 DVDs and 184,539 VHS tapes, which give you a selection that makes Blockbuster a real bust. Then there're the CDs -- everything from Frank Zappa's Jazz from Hell to a recording of Dr. Phil's Self Matters. And the guys who run this joint have balls. They recently turned down thousands of dollars in federal aid that they might have received if they had agreed to install pornography filters on computers with Internet access. Library Director Bob Cannon claimed that doing so would block users' access to sensitive material on abortion, gay issues, and safe sex. Then there are the librarians, who often double as babysitters and therapists. "I have regulars," says one librarian from the Hollywood branch who talks about her workplace with evangelical zeal and carries library card applications in her purse when she goes out. "I can tell when people have had a bad day, when they're falling in love, when they're heartbroken." One persistent customer calls almost daily for help with her crossword puzzles, and the librarians oblige. And don't even get us started about the free computer classes, puppet shows for kids, art exhibits, and the Small Business Resource Center at the main branch. The only thing this place lacks is beds; otherwise, we'd suggest you move in.