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History of the Orange County Library System

Before the Orlando Public Library came into existence, the Sorosis Club of Orlando maintained a circulating library for its members. This collection was initially on the second floor of the old Armory building on Court Street and was subsequently moved to the Knox building at Pine and Court streets. On May 11, 1920, Orlando citizens showed by a vote of 417 to 19 that they wanted a library and were willing to pay for it.

Captain Charles l. Albertson, a retired police inspector of New York City, and a winter resident of Orlando, had for many years been collecting books at his home in Waverly, New York. In November 1920, Captain Albertson offered his collection to the city of Orlando, on the condition that it furnish a suitable building to house it. The contract between the city of Orlando and Captain Albertson provided that Orlando would accept the gift of the Albertson Collection and furnish the library building; that the library should be known as the Albertson Public Library; that Captain Albertson should be Advisory Superintendent of the Library throughout his lifetime; and that Orlando should suitably maintain the library.

In early 1949, the Orange County Chamber of Commerce presented a proposal for a bookmobile to the board of the Albertson Public Library. The ladies of the Orlando Sorosis Club determined that a bookmobile would allow the library to bring books to the small communities of Orange County and spearheaded a drive to raise funds for the purchase of the vehicle. By November 1949, it was on the road!

The Friends of the Library also came to be in 1949. An announcement published in the Sentinel Star on February 27, 1949, states that the Winter Park – Orlando Zonta Club would be meeting for the purpose of sponsoring a new organization to be called the “Friends of the Library”.

By 1959 a committee of Jaycees evaluated the library and determined that the Albertson Public Library was no longer able to meet the needs of its staff or the community. Preparation for the 1966 building began in 1962 when construction of a new Main library was approved by the Orlando voters, and the city acquired additional land adjacent to the original site. In 1964, the library moved to temporary headquarters at 905 North Orange Avenue, the Albertson building was demolished, and construction began. The new Orlando Public Library building was dedicated on August 7, 1966. The architect was John M. Johansen of New Canaan, Connecticut. He called his design a “composition in monolithic concrete.”

The library closed its temporary location on July 23 to move into the new building. The Orlando Public Library was dedicated on a rainy Sunday afternoon, August 7, 1966. The 50th Anniversary Souvenir booklet provides details.

As early as 1974 the need to expand the Orlando Public Library was recognized. In 1978, the library secured from the Orlando City Council a commitment for the whole block to the west of the existing site. In 1980 the voters approved the sale of $22 million in bonds for construction.

In March 1985, the 1966 building was closed. The expansion opened to the public April 8, 1985. Work on renovating the old building began immediately. A grand opening celebration for the expansion and renovation took place on Sunday, April 6, 1986.

The 290,000 square foot building fills a whole city block. It was built with 19,000 cubic yards of concrete. A major challenge given to architect Duane Stark and his team was to design an expansion that would blend seamlessly with the original 1966 Johansen design. The measure of Stark’s success is quite apparent in the exterior of the building. The color and texture of the new exterior walls were matched to the rough hewn cedar pattern of the original poured-concrete walls.

Johansen’s Orlando Library
Article about the Orlando Public Library – Architectural Record, June 1967.

Architecture for Florida Living
Photographic review in the 1968 premiere edition.

Library Expansion Open House – May 29, 1985
Flyer handed out at the grand opening of the newly expanded Library building on May 29, 1985.

Orlando Public Library Expansion Celebration 1986
The Orlando Public Library expansion Celebration took place on Sunday, April 6, 1986.

Orlando Public Library – Marking 50 Years of Library Service
Library History booklet created in 1973 for the 50th Anniversary of the Orlando Public Library.

Orlando Public Library – Orlando Sentinel – Florida Magazine 6 April 1986
The Florida Magazine section of the Orlando Sentinel published on 6 April 1986 heralded the opening of the new edition to the library.

History of the Orlando Public Library; History of the Albertson Public Library; Orlando Public Library History

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Orlando Public Library
The sign at the front of the Orlando Public Library in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando Public Library - 1966 Building
Orlando Public Library, 1966 exterior photo
Orlando Public Library Exterior Postcard
Photo postcard showing the exterior of the Main Library, viewed from Rosalind and Central.
Friends Bookstore Postcard
Postcard promoting the Friends of the Library Bookstore.  Photo of the Main Library and a photo of customers in the bookstore.
FOL Newsletter March 1986 Grand Opening
Friends of the Library March 1986 newsletter.   "Coming up:  The Grand Opening Celebration, Sunday April 6.   The Grand Celebration of ...
Genealogy Department Opening
Opening of the Genealogy collection on the 4th floor of the Main library.  The Genealogy collection was relocated to the West Oaks...
Reading Area in Orlando Public Library
Reading area in the Orlando Public Library
Young Adult Department
Looking down into the Young Adult Department from the second floor of the  1966 Main Library building.
2nd Floor Ribbon Cutting
Grand opening of the renovated 2nd Floor with Library Director/CEO Mary Anne Hodel, Library Board members and mascot Squirt.  
Library Social Science Department
Social Sciences Department on the 2nd floor of the Main library, around 1985 or 1986.
Orlando Public Library Postcard
Postcard with four photos showing exterior of library from Central and Rosalind; drive up window; lobby; and books by mail processing area.
Questline in the 90's
Craig Wilkins, from Questline, circa 1990's.
New Library Reception
1st Floor, Lobby: Director Dorothy Field, Rich Gause, Carl Brown, Kathryn Robinson, Susan Zwer, Angela Jacobe, Eleanor Crawford, Angela Green
Debbie Moss
Debbis Moss in Circulation.
The King and I - Dorothy Field with Elvis
Director Dorothy Field with Elvis Entertainer at her retirement party in 2001.
Dorothy Field's Retirement
Director Dorothy Field's retirement party in 2001. (Kathryn Robinson, Carolyn Rosenblum, Debbie Moss, Bob Tessier)
Eleanor Gentry, Kathryn Robinson, John Martin
Eleanor Gentry, Kathryn Robinson, and John Martin  at the Orlando Public Library 1992.
Arts and Literature 1st Floor
Judy Mucci, Paul Neal, Heather Bodiford, Arts & Literature 1st Floor, Orlando Public Library
Debra Tour Questline 1994
Debra Tour, Questline in 1994.
Questline TicTacToe Monitor 1995
Early days of Questline in 1995, TicTacToe Monitor system.
Rita Lloyd in Special Services
Rita Lloyd, Special Services
OCLS Dinner 1975
Judy Mucci, Carl Brown, 1975.
DRI Office 1994
Katherine Cooper, Kathryn Robinson, DRI Office 1994.
Questline Tutorial
Carl "Captain Crunch" Brown, online network approach to phone reference service.
Special Services
Pink bags in Special Services
Director Glenn Miller
Director Glenn Miller
Genealogy
Eleanor Crawford, Genealogy in 1991.
Audio Visual Department
Steve Gataletto, Margaret Wells, Audio Visual Department
Questline
Monika Cooper, Questline
Luncheon
Joe Justice, Kathryn Robinson, Dawn Villano, Cam Rickleman, Mark Minzak, Steve Gataletto, Mary Jane Humm, Sally Hardy, Ruth Quinn, Carla Fountain
Books By Mail
Maxie Pittman
Questline
Nedra Blanke, Craig Wilkins
Mucci, Judy
Judy Mucci
K-Rob, J-Mart
John Martin, Kathryn Robinson
Asst. Dir. Judy Mucci
Judy Mucci, Assistant Director
Underwood
Underwood Martin
John and Carla
John Martin, Carla Fountain in 2001
K-Rob, Toni Ripley
Kathryn Robinson, Toni Ripley
Wizard of IS
Employees act out The Wizard of  IS at Director Dorothy Field's retirement. (Tonia Hinkle, Bob Tessier, Kathryn Robinson, John Martin)
Judy Mucci Award
State Representative Alzo Reddick, parents of Judy Mucci, (water color painting by Glenn Miller, Director.
OCLS Staff 1991
Sally Fry, Ann Gistarb, Judy Mucci, John Martin in 1991
Children's Story
A young OCLS patron  expresses his or her creativity.
Poetry Alive
A  scene from Poetry Alive, a young adult program held in the Albertson Room, October 15, 2003.
Belle Visits OCLS
Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast reads to a young patron.
Belle at OCLS
Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast reads aloud to a group of young patrons.
Cent. FL Zoo
Visitors from the Central Florida Zoo give the kids a geography lesson.
Turtle Time
Kids play with a turtle from the Central Florida Zoo.
Storytime with Margaret Wells
Children's librarian Margaret Wells captivating her audience with a story.
Library Central Unveiling
Kris Woodson, Kelly Pepo, Lynette Schimpf, Sheri Chambers at the grand opening celebration for the newly remodeled Library Central in November 2003...
Halloween at the Library - 2002
On Halloween 2002, several staff members at the North Orange Branch in Apopka used L. Frank Baum's fourteen stories about OZ as...
Halloween 2004
Halloween 2004 saw long lines of citizens encircling the 3rd Floor at Main waiting to vote. Costumed staff members helped lighten the...
Halloween 2004
Another costumed staff member at the Orlando Public Library joined in on the fun showing off her Medieval "lady" costume in Library...
Elinor Williams
Beloved librarian Elinor Williams passed away 19 November 2005. She was an active member of Mt. Zion MIssionary Baptist Institutional Church and known...
OCLS Jeans Day! 2008
Nicole Cavallaro and Tammy Erikstrup on St. Patrick's Jeans Day.
Staff Association Board - 1998
The attached was a page scanned from Library Delights, a cookbook project done by the OCLS Staff Association Board of Directors 1997-98.
Cover of Staff Association Cookbook - 1998
Cover of the Staff Association Cookbook, Library Delights - 1998
Ramsey on Stage at Orlando Public Library
This is the duo "Ramsey" performing at the Downtown Orlando Public Library  on November 14,  2008.
Ramsey Live at Orlando Public Library
Another picture of  duo "Ramsey" performing at the Downtown Orlando Public Library on November 14, 2008.
Ramsey Performing at Orlando Public Library
Picture of  duo "Ramsey" performing at the Downtown Orlando Public Library on November 14, 2008.
Library Central showing FISH spirit
2008  Library Cental Staff is as crazy as ever.  We're really a team who knows how to show FISH spirit.  We have...
Talking Books
Talking Book Collection from the Orlando Public Library.
Eatonville Branch Library B&W
Eatonville Children's Branch Library, Eatonville Florida.  OCLS
For Dummies Display: Library Central 2008
The idea was a 'For Dummies' dispenser instead of a Pez Dispenser.
Library Coloring Contest
"Put some color in your summer!" Orlando Public Library  Coloring Contest
Technical Services Renovation
Renovation of Technical Services at the Downtown Orlando Public Library.
Staff Day 2008: Expert Beauty Advice
Attendees listen intently to beauty and make-up advice being shared with them by Hannah, a Mary Kay Cosmetics representative during Staff Day...
Staff Day 2008: Beauty and Make-up Session 1
The beauty and make-up session during Staff Day 2008 appears to be a very popular program.
Staff Day 2008: Fun at the Make-up Class
A good time was had by Main and Branch  staff during the Beauty and Make-up Session at Staff Day 2008! 
Staff Day 2008: Division of Branches Torch
Craig is the proud torchbearer in the Division of Branches office! 
Staff Day 2008: Alafaya Torch
Alafaya teammates cheer Margie and Amy as the torch is passed!
Staff Day 2008: Hooray for South Trail!
The South Trail Team proudly displayed the Library Olympics torch when it arrived at their location.
library staff
Two Orange County Library Staff members at the Orlando Library, Young Adult Department, 2nd Floor. Orlando natives - Left: Mike Worrell, Rig...
Albertson Public Library - Orlando Public Library
This is an original painting by James Stoll and is part of the Orlando Remembered display case located  on the 4th floor...
New Manager Arrives at Winter Garden Library
August Calabrese, the newly assigned manager arrived at the Winter Garden Branch of the Orange County Library System on Monday June 22,...
Postcard (front) - Orlando Public Library Circa 1985
Postcard showing the architect's rendering of the Orlando Public Library after the expansion in 1985. Visible is Magnolia Avenue when it was...
Postcard (back) - Orlando Public Library circa 1985
Postcard showing the architects rendering of the Orlando Public Library after the expansion in 1985. Visible is Magnolia Avenue when it was...
Postcard (front) - Orlando Public Library circa 1970
Postcard of the "New" Orlando Public Library that replaced the Albertson's Public Library circa 1970. The Albertson's public library faced Central Blvd....
Postcard (back) - Orlando Public Library circua 1970
The back of a postcard of the "New" Orlando Public Library that replaced the Albertson's Public Library circa 1970. The Albertson's public...
2nd Floor - Orlando Public Library
Brian Calhoun, Mercedes Stephens, Eleanor Gentry
Orlando Public Library - Law Collection
The Orlando Public Library housed the Orange County Bar Association law collection until 4 January 2006. This photo is of the former...
Orlando Public Library - Arts & Lit Staff
This is a photo of staff members from the old Arts & Literature Department at the library. From Left to Right front:...
Orlando Public Library - Kathryn Robinson
This is a photo of staff member Kathryn Robinson in August 2002 as the library prepared to move materials from the first...
Orlando Public Library - Kathryn Robinson
Kathryn Robinson 1992.
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
Movers removing shelving to relocate it to the 2nd floor to facilitate remodeling of the are now called "Library Central" and "Club...
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
Boxes and special dolleys used to move the boxes filled with books from the first floor to the 2nd floor to facilitate remodeling...
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
Special dolleys used to move the large boxes of books from the first floor to the 2nd floor to facilitate remodeling of the...
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
Books from the first floor collection packed in moving boxes ready to be moved to the 2nd floor to facilitate remodeling of the...
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
Staff member Angela Jacobe pitching in to help as the first floor collection was relocated to the 2nd floor to facilitate remodeling of...
Orlando Public Library - Remodeling 1st Floor - Moving Day
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Orlando Public Library Painting 1
Orlando Public Library Painting 1
Orange County Library staff photo 1967
Moving into new library - relaxing in staff room.   July 1967  
Orlando Public Library 1966-1986
This is the ramp from Central along Rosalind Avenue to the front doors of the Orlando Public Library constructed after the Albertson...
Orlando Public Library 1966-1986
No description has been added yet
Orlando Public Library Floor Plan
Floor plan from old Orlando Public Library - 3 floors.
Orlando Public Library Brochure
~1968 brochure showing subject guide and circulation of materials information for Orlando Public Library
Armory and Hyer's Mule Lot
The Armory (Shine Guards) was location in the block with boundaries Central Avenue to the north, Mail Street (Magnolia) to the east,...
Library Board of Directors from 1923 to 1973
From the 50th Anniversary of the Orlando Public Library Booklet. List of Board members from 1923 to present (1973): Sexton Johnson, Mrs. F....
Orlando Public Library 1968 Exterior
Exterior view of the entrance to the Orlando Public Library on Rosalind Street. The ramp in the photograph led customers to the...
Orlando Public Library 1968 Exterior and Interior Views
Exterior view shows the view of the library from Central Blvd. and the ramp to the entrance on Rosalind Street at Central...
Orlando Public Library 1968 Exterior Rosalind at Wall Street
This exterior view shows on the far left, the ramp leading to the entrance of the library on Rosalind Street and the...
Orlando Public Library 1968 Interior and Exterior Views
This photograph shows the entire expanse of the front of the library on Rosalind from Central to Wall. The interior photograph is...
Orlando Public Library 1968 Exterior and Interiors
Two images are taken from the 2nd floor overlooking what is now the Children's Department. The other is the front entrance on...
Albertson Public Library circa 1945
This painting by James Stoll shows the area surrounding the Albertson Public Library in 1945. West of the library are the Salvation...
Albertson Public Library Postcard
Albertson Public Library 
Orlando Public Library Postcard - 1970s
No description has been added yet
Orlando Public Library Artist's Rendering
Orlando Public Library 1984 Expansion.
Library Staff Members - 1970s #1
Cam Rickleman, Chuck Davis, Sue Wright, Gregg Gronlund, Crystal Sullivan, Patsy Aman, Cathy Jensen, Danielle Camelle (sp?)
Library Staff Members - 1970s #2
Rosemary Breitup, Dana Oscarson, Brian Calhoun, Lisa Gryzinski (?), Debbie Tour, Lisa Stewart, Bobbi Gonzalez.
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Johansen's Orlando Library

Article reprinted from Architectural Record, June 1967, entitled "Johansen's Orlando library: compatible colony of varied forms." The article includes elevations, floorplans, and interior views of the library that replaced the original Albertson's Public Library.

You will note from the exterior photos, that the entrance to the library was changed from Central Boulevard to Rosalind via a ramp into what is now the Children's Department. The elevation drawing on the third page shows Children's Library in the basement and the staff area sharing the roof with the mechanical room on top of the 2nd floor.

The rooftop patio on the last page was adjacent to what was the staff area on the third floor.

You can still get a glimpse of the old stairwells with the brass handlebars from the children's department.


Orlando Public Library - Marking 50 Years of Library Service - Booklet
No description has been added yet
Orlando Public Library New Building Dedication - 1966

Orlando Public Library New Building Dedication - 1966

Program from the 1966 Dedication Ceremony of the New Orlando Public Library Building


Orlando Public Library Expansion 1986 Booklet
No description has been added yet
50th Anniversary - Orlando Public Library - New Building

Four newspaper  pages about the new library building completed in 1964.


This Year at Your Library

Annual Report for Fiscal Year ending September 30, 1997 includes stats on Revenues, Expenditures, highlights from the year and lists Governing Board, Board of Trustees and Friends of the Library members. 

Names mentioned: Linda Chapin, Bob Freeman, Tom Staley, Mary I. Johnson, Clarence Hoenstine, Bill Donegan, Mable Butler, Brenda Robinson, Corbin M. Sarchet, Ronald H arbert, Darrell Julian, Jacquelyn Perkins, Laura Santos, Dorothy Field, Joy Dickinson, Bob Buckner, Chris Couch, Bob Dilg, Mary Flanigan, Ray Frenier, Bea Henderson, Edward Hofma, Cathy Miller Kennedy, Nancy Kiger, Bee Jay Kline, Max Minear, Judge Frederick Pfeiffer, Lisa Rost, Cree Deane Sherman, John Stilwell, Robert Umphrey, Joan Van Akin.


Architecture for Florida Living - Orlando Public Library
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