ABOVE: Model of 1985 Expansion Building. Photo by Andy Parra.
Excerpt from Orlando Public Library Expansion Facts
The Orlando Public Library is the headquarters and main library of the Orange County Library. The new building will fill an entire city block bounded by Rosalind, Central, Magnolia, and Wall Streets. Voters approved a 22 million dollar library expansion bond issue referendum by a 59% margin in September 1980. The bonds were sold in March 1981 and the proceeds will cover all costs for land acquisition, design, construction, and furnishings.
The present library has 60,000 square feet. The expansion will add about 230,000 square feet on six levels, for a total of 290,000 square feet. There will be seating space for at least 700 readers, as well as room for one million books. Planners expect walk-in use by an average of 3,000 people a day.
Architecture is by Schweizer Associates, a local firm. Schweizer’s Duane Stark is the project manager and library director Glenn Miller is actively involved in the design process. The original Orlando Public Library, which opened in a966, was designed by John Johansen of New York City. The expansion design uses the dominant lines and strong concrete textures of the original building.
To make it easy for library users to locate essential facilities on every floor, planners created a central core including the elevators, stairs, telephones, drinking fountain, and restrooms. There will be large signs over entrances to reference departments. Study areas wil lbe open and well-lighted, with a generous number of single-place tables to accommodate people doing research.
New features include a drive-up window to enable patrons to pick up and drop off library materials. There will be a typing room, a small canteen, and rooms for people to take smoking breaks. The six meeting rooms will accommodate 12 to 250 people. An area has been set aside for a potential used book store operated by the Friends of the Library.
A strength of the overall design is the continuity between the exterior and interior of the building. The exterior of the building will be finished in the familiar rough concrete textures of the original building, with wide expanses of glass. The silvery concrete textures will continue inside, surrounded by neutral colors on carpet, drapes, and walls. Bold colors on accent walls will add life to the concrete “signature” of the building. Brick pavvers will cover the sidewalk in front of the library and continue well into the lobby, reinforcing the inside/outside continuity. The entry lobby will be uncongested and flexible to adjust to variations in traffic over the day. Prominent in the lobby will be an information Desk visible from the street.
READ Library Expansion Facts
1983 Announcement – Library Expansion to Start
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“How to preserve your tranquility during the expansion of the Orlando Public Library”
Excerpt from Welcome! to the Orange County Library System’s New Orlando Public Library May 29, 1985
Still to Come: Features still to be completed include a drive-up window to enable patrons to pick up and drop off materials, public typing rooms, a small canteen, six meeting rooms to accommodate 12 to 150 people, and story rooms for the Children’s Department. Also under construction are the permanent locations for the Audio-Visual Department (now in a future storage room on the fifth floor), for the Genealogy Department (now in a future Friends of the Library Book Store on the third floor), and for three departments still in a rented Annex: Technical Services, Data Processing and Special Services (Books-by-Mail, Talking Books, Interlibrary Loan, Jail Service, etc.).
READ Flyer handed out at the grand opening of the newly expanded Library building on May 29, 1985.
Excerpt from Director Glenn Miller’s announcement February 1986
April 6, Celebration Sunday, will be a landmark event in this community’s history. Taxpayers approved the Library Expansion Referendum by a 60% majority in 1980, and on April 6 those taxpapers and their families will feast on the fruits of their investment in the quality of life in Central Florida.
READ Complete press release from Library Director Glenn Miller.
ABOVE: The Business and Science Department circa 1985-1986.
April 6, 1986 special supplement “Florida” to the Orlando Sentinel. The New Edition – Check it Out. Users guide to Orlando Public Library.