ORLANDO – On November 8, Orange County Library System celebrates its 100th birthday with a system-wide party at all branch locations. Customers of all ages are invited to stop by during the library’s open hours, fill out a birthday card and share a special library memory. Customers who visit that day will receive a free 100 Year Celebration logo cookie, while supplies last.
The Albertson Public Library first opened its doors on November 8, 1923. That library was made possible thanks to a massive book donation from retired New York City police inspector Captain Charles Albertson, who agreed to give his collection of books to the city of Orlando if it built a public library to house them. Ever since then, Orange County Library System has been dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. From the earliest introduction of mobile services like bookmobiles and home delivery, to the establishment of OCLS’s current 15 locations (and counting), the work done over the past century has established Orange County Library System as a pillar of the community.
Last year, over 3.3 million items were circulated and 2.6 million digital items were downloaded by library cardholders. In 2023, the library held a reading challenge during the annual Summer at Your Library program, during which 3,496 participants logged a total of more than 2.1 million minutes read during the summer. Local Wanderer, OCLS’s culture pass program, provided more than 5,000 customers free access to local arts and cultural attractions, including the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Mennello Museum of American Art, and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The library has also made strides toward eliminating barriers to service – for example, fines for overdue materials were eliminated and a special library card for kids living in group homes was created.
Orange County Library System looks forward to a bright future. Two new branches are planned – one in Horizon West and one in Lake Nona – and the library’s new Community Engagement Department is implementing programs and initiatives designed to take place where library customers need them, such as senior centers, hospitals and Head Starts. Thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from Sorosis of Orlando Woman’s Club, the library plans to bring mobile services back to the community. So far, the funding has enabled the library to purchase its first book bike, capable of visiting community events like pop-up markets and festivals to check out books and promote library services and card signups. Looking ahead, the library hopes to use the funds to re-introduce a bookmobile to Orange County and ensure that everybody has access to the resources, materials and experiences they need to enrich their lives.
For more information about Orange County Library System, or to sign up for a card, visit ocls.info or call 407-835-7323.
LEARN. GROW. CONNECT.