My name is Eileen Fischlschweiger, and I’ve been the Fort Lauderdale PTDL Representative for fourteen years, having worked at the PTDL in the capacity of Patent and Trademark Librarian for sixteen years. I have been a librarian with the Broward County Library System for over 22 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 has been the home of the Fort Lauderdale PTDL since its designation on November 1st, 1984. Originally a part of the Government Documents Department, it became a part of the Business, Law, and Government (BLG) Section when the Main Library reorganized in November of 1996. It remained so until January 2010, and it is now a part of the Reference Section.
Main Library Renovation Projects
The Broward County Main Library is currently undergoing major renovation. Much has already been completed, but some major projects still remain. The elevators have all been renovated as has been the west side air conditioning system. The much anticipated 7th floor computer center, the Cybrary, opened on December 2, 2009, and the renovated 8th floor was just reopened on February 28, 2011. Upcoming projects include the escalator replacement already underway and the much more time-consuming window replacement project, which will have a major impact on our day-to-day operations. Because of the need for closed time for construction companies to work, the Main Library has absorbed the loss of staff positions caused by budget cuts this fiscal year, with hours being reduced to 40 per week, with no weekend hours, so that the heavy construction work can be done over the weekend. Adjacent photos show the old escalators being removed.
• On Saturday August 7, 2010 Eileen Fischlschweiger presented a public program titled “Finding Information on the Recently Restructured United States Patent and Trademark Office Website” to an audience of about 45 people, largely from the Inventors’ Society of South Florida.
• In August 2010, we had our annual National Inventors’ Month book display using various attractive posters to enhance the display’s appearance.
• On Saturday February 12, 2011, the Inventors’ Society of South Florida’s Inventor Expo hit the big league. For various factors, including our library’s inability to host Saturday programs because of the weekend closures, the venue of this very popular inventor’s expo, this year named “Resources 2011,” was the Palm Beach County Convention Center, and the library had an outreach presence. Once again Eileen and FDL librarian Tom Fischlschweiger had a table for the PTDL/FDL, with many handouts relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, the FDLP, and upcoming programs at the Main Library. There were 50 exhibitors displaying, mostly inventors, and 134 people walked up to the library’s table during the very busy 9.5 hour event, not including set-up/take-down time, which combined took another hour. It was exhausting, but in a good way. Many people had a great deal of questions to ask, some quite complex and with multiple parts as well as quite varied. Overall we counted a total of 562 questions, 462 of which were mostly patent (with some trademark and copyright) and 100 of which were related to Federal Depository information. Because this was an inventors’ expo, it is understandable that the questions would be skewed to patent information. Also, we had a variety of handouts that we provided to customers, and in all, we passed out a total of 547 handouts, which means that each person stopping by our table took an average of 4 different handouts apiece. During the event the Inventors Society of South Florida had the “People’s Choice Awards” in which attendees cast their votes for best exhibit. Our Library’s PTDL/FDL table tied with another exhibitor for Fourth Place! And we weren’t even selling anything! This just goes to show that PTDL and FDL based library services are held in very high esteem by the inventors we serve!
• Eileen Fischlschweiger wrote an article titled “Intellectual Property Reference: Resources, Assistance, and Outreach Opportunities for Libraries” to be published in the Spring 2011 issue of DttP: Documents to the People, the official publication of the of the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) of the American Library Association (ALA). This issue should be of interest to everyone because the broad theme for the issue as announced in the call for proposals was intellectual property and government Information. Eileen is very thankful to the editors for the opportunity to highlight the important service that PTDLs provide and their usefulness as resources not only for customers visiting the PTDLs directly but also for other libraries who need assistance in dealing with IP questions that their customers might ask them.