Samantha Haber of the South Miami Branch Library

Personal Best Programming librarian Samantha Haber hosts a weekly club for anime enthusiasts thirteen and older to watch films, discuss graphic novels, and practice drawing in the Japanese style at the South Miami Branch Library. (The downtown branch also offers a club for younger fans ages nine and older.)

This cool, stereotype-busting individual loves the kids but knows how to parse the contents of the shelves as well. "A library is a place where everyone has equal and free access to books, music, maps, movies, and all types of information," Haber says. "But what drew me to librarianship is the fact that a library is the place where people and books often connect for the first time. It is often where imagination is first experienced. I always wanted to be the facilitator of that experience."

Best comic-book shop: Am I allowed to say your local library? I mean, c'mon, I am a librarian here.

Best cheap thrill (either for teens or adults): Lincoln Road on South Beach, without a doubt. There's no cost to check out the art galleries, clothing shops, bookstores (Books & Books is amazing!) and unbelievably freaky street performers. It's the best people-watching in town. If it's too hot to stroll, try the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. Only three dollars for students and five for grownups.

Best reason to stay in Miami for the summer: I guess answering the beach would be much too obvious, huh? In that case, I would say, the music. I don't know what it is about Miami in the summer, but every indie band and their mom seems to end up on tour down here. Specifically, check out clubs like I/O, Churchill's, and Soho Lounge. The shows aren't that expensive either.

Best used bookstore: Fifteenth Street Books in Coral Gables. But again, libraries have lots of used books (I know, I know -- I couldn't resist).

Best local writer (for youngsters and adults): There are so many of them. For children, Joanne Hyppolite and Ana Veciana-Suarez top the list. For teenagers, I'd say Edwidge Danticat and Alex Sanchez (a part-time Miamian). For adults, poet Campbell McGrath and nonfiction writer Jim DeFede take my literary cake.

What will public libraries be like in 2035? Libraries must adapt to meet the needs of the community. When books on tape became popular, we bought them. When books on CD became the new thing, we bought those. Whatever the latest thing in 2035 is, you can bet we'll have it.


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