The referendum to expand the Orlando Public Library was approved on September 9, 1980, and construction began in December 1982. Construction on the library expansion was completed in March 1985, expanding the library’s boundaries to the entire block bordered by East Central Boulevard, Rosalind Avenue, Magnolia Avenue and Wall Street. An open house and tour of the new library expansion took place on May 29, 1985.
ABOVE: Friends of the Library March 1986 newsletter. “Coming up: The Grand Opening Celebration, Sunday April 6. The Grand Celebration of the completion of the new Orlando Public Library will be from 1:00 to 6:00 on Sunday, April 6, the first day of National Library Week. The Friends are planning a library-wide open house to offer guided tours behind the scenes and in public areas of the Library, demonstrations and displays of services in each department, musical entertainment on every floor, and free balloons and other giveaways. The celebration will mark the completion of the expansion of the main library in the Orange County Library System to 290,000 square feet, filling a city block on six levels. Voters approved a $22 million dollar library expansion bond issue referendum in 1980, and on April 6 those taxpayers and their families will feast on the fruits of their investment. The good news is that the project is well under budget and the Library…”
Almost immediately, work on renovating the original 1966 building began. Construction was completed in March 1986 and a grand opening celebration for the entire building was held from 1-6 p.m. on Sunday April 6, 1986. A special insert in the Orlando Sentinel heralded the opening.
At the time of the completion in 1986, Glenn F. Miller was the library Director, Anita W. Heard was business manager and the Orange County Library Board of Trustees included John B. Newsom, Albert C. Valdes, Paul Pickett, Corbin Sarchet, Helen Johnson, Mary Jo Hoard, and Peter C. Barr.
Some of the key players in the expansion were architectural firm Schweizer Incorporated and design architect L. Duane Stark; contractor Great Southwest Corporation; mechanical/electrical engineers Tilden, Lobnitz & Cooper, and structural engineers Gensert, Bretnall, Bobel, Inc.
A booklet created for the grand opening of the newly expanded library was underwritten by the Friends of the Orlando Public Library, featuring photographs by Bob Braun. The brochure pages are presented here.
VIEW Library Expansion Press Release