My name is Eileen Fischlschweiger, and I’ve been the Fort Lauderdale PTRC Representative for fifteen years, having worked at the PTRC in the capacity of Patent and Trademark Librarian for seventeen years. I have been a librarian with the Broward County Library System for over 23 years. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in both Chemistry and Physics (double major). I also have a Master’s degree in Communications, a considerable amount of graduate level coursework in Education, and a second Master’s degree in Library Science.
The Broward County Main Library in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has housed the Fort Lauderdale PTRC since its designation on November 1st, 1984. It was a part of the Government Documents Department 1984 – 1996, then it became a part of the Business, Law, and Government (BLG) Section November, 1996 – January 2010, and currently it is a part of the Reference Section.
More Main Library Renovation Projects
The Broward County Main Library’s renovation projects continue, currently with the Wind Mitigation Project, a massive project whereby all the windows of the Main Library will be replaced in stages with impact resistant windows that meet current hurricane standards. (Fig. 1) The new escalators with the stairs between them opened in September 2011. (Fig. 2) Main Library’s shortened hours will continue through at least this fiscal year while construction projects remain ongoing.
• In late March 2011, Eileen Fischlschweiger assumed responsibility for supervising the Interlibrary Loan section for the Broward County Library system in addition to ongoing responsibilities. As part of this work, Eileen is involved in working with the section on planning and policy issues, as well as writing and forwarding service proposals as needed. In addition to that, Eileen and other staff are assisting the ILL team with the day-to-day operations as the public service desk schedules permit.
• At the Broward County Main Library we have been observing National Inventors’ Month for many, many years. Founded in 1998 by the United Inventors’ Association of America, the Inventors Digest Magazine, and the Academy of Applied Science, its originally designated month, was August. But this year we were caught by surprise, as the National Inventors’ Month, was moved to May. As we had already scheduled our intellectual property book display months in advance for August, and May was already scheduled for another display, it was not possible for us to switch. No matter; we oriented our book display on intellectual property around the 8 millionth patent, which occurred on August 16 as Eileen anticipated six weeks in advance based on a few quick mathematical calculations to determine the rate at which patents were being granted at the time. So, for the first half of the month the display graphics used included the other millionth patents very conveniently provided by the USPTO on their website, and a teaser for when and what the 8th millionth patent might be, which was then revealed once it was issued. But we are ready for 2012! Our annual display is already scheduled for May. For more information regarding the decision to move National Inventors’ Month please visit http://www.inventorsdigest.com/archives/6413.
• In late September and early October 2011, Eileen was asked to assist the library’s electronic services manager with trademark research related to Broward County Library’s BCL WOW service introduced in October and currently being used to promote electronic based library resources, such as e-books and QR code downloads. And, yes, the Broward County Library has a new mobile app that can be used with either Android or Apple, that allows you to access your library account, search the catalog, place holds, find your nearest library and more. For more information please visit http://www.broward.org/Library/BCLWOW.
• On Saturday February 11, 2012, the Inventors’ Society of South Florida had its annual inventor show, “Resources 2012.” Again, the venue of this very popular inventors’ expo was the Palm Beach County Convention Center, and the library had its customary outreach presence. Eileen and FDL librarian Tom Fischlschweiger had an outreach table for the Broward County Main Library’s PTRC and FDL (Federal Depository Library), with many handouts relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, the FDLP, and upcoming programs at the Main Library. There were 75 exhibitors displaying, mostly inventors, and 117 people walked up to the library’s table to ask questions. Same as last year, this was a very busy event, and we had hardly any voice left by the end! Again, questions varied in complexity from the simple to the very complex. We counted a total of 596 questions, 396 of which were related to intellectual property (mostly patents) and 200 of which were related to Federal Depository information; and, given that this was an inventors’ expo, a split along those lines is to be expected. We also had a variety of handouts to provide to customers, including the handout about the USPTO March 2nd program, the “America Invents Act Implementation Roadshow.” In all, we passed out a total of about 410 handouts (an average of 3.5 different handouts per person). Clearly this shows that government information from both the PTRC and the FDL is very important to people! In addition to the exhibit, the event featured 6 speakers, including Thomas Edison’s grandniece, Sarah Miller Caldicott. Overall, we estimated that the event’s attendance throughout the day was approximately 500 people, which shows the strong interest that the South Florida community has for inventing and the independent inventor. Photos of the event, which show a wide range of inventive creativity, are posted at http://www.inventorssociety.net/expo2012.htm.
• On Friday March 2, 2012, the USPTO provided a wonderful program, the “America Invents Act Implementation Roadshow.” This full-day program (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) gave our community the opportunity to become better educated and provide input regarding this very important legislation and proposed rulemaking. There were 90 people in attendance. During the planning stage I recognized that by coincidence our local inventors group, the Inventors Society of South Florida’s normal meeting date would be on Saturday August 3rd, the day after the event was to take place at the Main Library. This prompted me to ask whether it might be possible for someone to stay over and provide a 2 hour session for our local inventor’s group. We were so excited that the answer came back in the affirmative: Janet Gongola, Patent Reform Coordinator, was able to open up her schedule to provide the special training. Our inventors were so happy because they were very much in need of such a presentation. They felt very privileged and excited to have such an opportunity. Inventors Society of South Florida President Leo Mazur e-mailed me: “When I told everybody at the meeting that Janet Gongola the Patent Reform Coordinator from the USPTO was coming to talk about the implementation of the AIA, you would have thought I told them a rock star was giving us a personal concert.” Janet provided a superb presentation which took very complex information and made it understandable. She is an excellent speaker and gave clear explanations. She patiently answered all questions put to her by our group regardless of how advanced or basic the question was. The room was packed, with people standing. There were 65 people in attendance, and they had so many questions, both during and after the presentation, that the presentation/question-and-answer time stretched from the estimated two hours to somewhere between three-and-a-half and four hours. That Janet’s presentation greatly exceeded everyone’s expectations was evidenced by the fact that practically all attendees stayed until the end of her presentation even though it ran considerably longer than estimated.
Submitted by Eileen Fischlschweiger, PTRC Representative for the Fort Lauderdale PTRC.