Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward County Main Library

My name is Eileen Fischlschweiger and I’ve been the patent and trademark librarian for the Fort Lauderdale Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) at the Broward County Main Library for 26 years, and the PTRC representative for 24 years.  I have been a librarian with Broward County Library for over 32 years.  My undergraduate degree is Bachelor of Science, with a double major in both Chemistry and Physics.  I also have a Master’s degree in Communications, graduate coursework in Education, and a second Master’s degree in Library Science.

Since its designation as a Patent Depository Library (PDL) on November 1st, 1984, the Fort Lauderdale PTRC has been located at Broward County Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

2020-2021 Highlights

  • Response to COVID-19 included the closure of the library to the public from 3/20/20 to 11/1/20.  Staff remained in the building and provided telephone assistance, with an increased demand for the library’s electronic resources, such as e-books/e-audiobooks, e-magazines, etc., as well as working on other building-wide projects.  As time passed, more and more services were added, including curbside holds pickup and curbside library card services.  The curbside services are so popular, that they remain in place even after all library locations reopened to the public.
     
  • All library events, including outreach and in-person programming, have been cancelled due to COVID-19 effective 3/13/20, until further notice.  This has prompted the creation of an active online programming effort, including SUNsational Storytime recorded programs for children and other recorded programs on the Broward County Libraries’ YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/browardcountylibrary/videos), as well as live online programs that are well attended.
     
  • Sheldon Burke and Frank Pennetti from the Creation Station Business (CSB) also assist patent and trademark customers, and while we have seen a decrease in patent and trademark customers over the previous year, Sheldon Burke reported an awesome CSB program: “Most of this past year has been spent on the Libraries Build Business grant.  We are one of 13 libraries in the country who won the award, and we are the only one focused on tech, specifically bringing equity to tech in Broward County. Our program is called Built in Broward (www.builtinbroward.com).  The program offers free tech workshop through General Assembly, a global leader in tech education. It also does a quarterly freelance business incubator where underrepresented groups get mentorship, and access to networks and a librarian through Slack and virtual Zoom classes. In the Slack Channel, we have a thread for Ask a Librarian where these entrepreneurs ask for patent and trademark assistance and industry reports. Finally as a final piece of the grant project, we have a cohort of four librarians who were taught how to design customer centered programs using skills they learn from library resource—LinkedIn Learning—to create free tech classes for the public for each quarter in 2021. The lessons from this cohort were recorded and will be shared throughout the county.  So far we have had 16 entrepreneurs graduate our first cohort, 715 people attend our 15 workshops so far, and 4 librarians have graduated from our cohort.  Through the grant, we have gained new partners such as the Broward Black Chamber of Commerce, ArtHive Magazine, Choose954, Code for South Florida, and TechLauderdale.”
     
  • Eileen is working on updating and adding to the patent and trademark webpages for the Broward County Libraries website.  These webpages have remained at the same level of use during this past year as compared to the year before.
     
  • Main Library renovation projects: Work on the Main Library’s terraces, which are a major and very attractive feature of the unique architecture of the building, is essentially completed.  Additional upcoming work includes re-carpeting and upgrading the plaza area in front of the building, among other projects.