ABOUT THE FRIENDS
…”Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things”
Friends of the Broward County AARLCC (formerly Friends of the Von D. Mizell Library) is an organization whose membership is the lifeblood of library support. Within the scope of its mission, the Friends of the Broward County AARLCC advocates for library services, and provides resources to support library programs.

The members of the Friends are people of all ages from all walks of life who represent all of the communities of Broward County and beyond. These “ordinary “ people work with the library administration in “building bridges” to develop and maintain youth and adult services for the community. They give of their time and special skills in support of library projects and activities that support the mission of the library. They also raise funds to support library programs, staff development and appreciation.

Each Friend serves as a public relations instrument for the library by increasing the public’s awareness of the library and its services. As we move forward to strengthen our advocacy efforts, increase contributions, face challenges, and utilize opportunities to meet the needs of the library, you are invited to become a Friend. Join us today.

THE HISTORY
The History of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
The History of this library dates back to 1950 when Reverend Ivory Mizell, a socio-civic activist and manager of the Dixie Court Housing Project was made aware that the city’s only library did not provide services for Blacks. He made space in his office for a small lending library, solicited books, and with the help of the city the small library with a staff of one was opened in 1951 to serve the Black community.

In 1952, the city provided space for the library and its staff of one in a small one-room building at Sunland Park (now the Joseph C. Carter Park). From this modest beginning, the Northwest Branch of the Fort Lauderdale library system was opened in the old Zeno Building at 1107 Northwest Sistrunk Boulevard. The services expanded and the staff increased to seven. In 1974 the library was renamed the Von D. Mizell Library. During this same time the Broward County Library system was established, including the Von D. Mizell Library.

In 1980, the Von D. Mizell Library was relocated to the Von D. Mizell All Purpose Building, bringing a vastly expanded book collection and a staff of twelve. The unique feature of this library was the large collection of books written by and for the African Diaspora, which was housed in a separate space in the Von D. Mizell Library.

In 1995, Samuel Morrison, the Director of Broward County’s Library Division, presented plans to the county commission for a new Africa-American Research Library and Cultural Center to be located in the heart of the African-American community. The plan was approved and partially funded. Morrison was charged with raising the additional funds.

In October 2002, the 14 million dollar, 60,000 square foot facility was opened as the third of its kind in the nation to have extensive collections related to the unique blend of cultures in Broward County.

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