Dorothy W. Field – Library Director 1995-2001
Olive Brumbaugh was the first director of the Albertson Public Library, serving from 1923-1943, followed by Clara Wendel who served as director of the Albertson then the Orlando Public Library from 1943-1970. The library’s third director, Glenn Miller, retired after 25 years of service on March 31, 1995, and Dorothy W. Field took the reins on May 1, 1995, as the fourth director of the Orange County Library System.
Dorothy began her library career as a bookmobile librarian in Ohio, and served in various positions before moving to Florida in 1974. She was Assistant Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library from 1974-1984, Director of the Pompano Beach City Library from 1984-1991, and associate director of support services for the Broward County Library in charge of cataloging, collection development, staff development, and purchasing for the 33-branch system from 1991-1995.
An article published in the Orlando Sentinel on February 16, 1995, announced the hiring of the new director, and hinted at her plans for OCLS:
Field has big plans to bring Orange County into the 21st century. She said she wants to see the library system use computer technology to become more efficient and convenient. Automated circulation or an online catalog of the library’s holdings is also an innovation that could come to Orange County. It would allow patrons to look for titles from home computers and reserve those titles to be checked out.
View May 1995 FOL Newsletter.
The April 1995 OCLS Info-News and the May 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter include a message from the newly selected library director, identifying three areas of importance for the future of OCLS: Technology, Training, and Territory.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND MILESTONES
Beginning in June 1995, Central Floridians were invited to “Open Forums” conducted at various library locations to exchange ideas, share concerns and ask questions of the new director and administrative staff.
1996 October – The library’s monthly newsletter, Books and Beyond begins publication.
1996 October – Free Internet access established in all twelve libraries and the OCLS web site features the latest information about the library system.
1997 October – Library On Line launches with access to the “card” catalog and other web sites.
1998 February – Development of the Multi-Cultural Collection is announced.
View Library On Line 2nd Edition
1998 June – Library On Line 2nd Edition launched with a myriad of new features.
1998 November – 75th Anniversary of the opening of the library in 1923.
1998 November – 75th Anniversary quilt was created by members of the OCLS Staff Association and Friends of the Library.
The new Herndon Library Grand Opening Celebration was December 3, 1998. Library Directory Dorothy Field does the honors cutting the ribbon to officially welcome the community to the new library in the Colonial Promenade shopping center.
1998 December – Herndon Library Opens.
1999 February – Groundbreaking ceremony for the East Orange Library, 12050 East Colonial Drive.
The groundbreaking for the new East Orange Library, changed to the Alafaya Branch prior to opening, was February 10, 1999. Library Directory Dorothy Field along with representatives from the Library Board, Friends of the Library, and Orange County Government, participated in the official groundbreaking.
Above: Library Directory Dorothy Field at the Grand Opening celebration for the new Children’s Library on May 23, 1999.
1999 May – Grand opening of the Children’s Library moved from the basement to the first floor.
1999 June – Open Forums continue, a new Mission Statement is developed, and service initiatives are shared.
Above: Library Director Dorothy Field cutting the ribbon at the Alafaya Library Grand Opening and Dedication February 1, 2000.
2000 February – Grand Opening of the Alafaya Library
The Alafaya Library Grand Opening celebration and dedication was February 1, 2000. It was the first prototype branch of the library system to be built through a partnership with the citizens of Orange County, Friends of the Library, OCLS and Orange County Government.
2000 March – Library receives grant for public access computers from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
2000 March – Open House celebrating the new Hiawassee Library in the Park Promenade Shopping Center.
2000 May – Computer Resource Center opens at Main and online databases are accessible from home.
2000 August – Groundbreaking Ceremony – West Oaks Library at Silver Star and Clarke Road.
View February 2001 Books and Beyond.
The February 2001 Books and Beyond announced the retirement of Dorothy Field detailing her accomplishments:
During her tenure, she has brought OCLS to new heights in technology with public access computers, internet connections, and word processing programs. Her vision for a special and appealing place for children was dramatically demonstrated with the new Children’s Library in the Orlando Public Library. Her realization of the need for accessible library service in a continually growing community has brought three new branches to the county, the Alafaya Library in 2000, the West Oaks Library in Ocoee, presently under construction, and plans for the new South Orange Library, which are underway.
2001 March – Borrowing agreement allowing Osceola residents to check out books at OCLS.
2001 June – Groundbreaking Ceremony – South Creek Library at 1702 Deerfield Blvd.
2001 August – Grand Opening West Oaks Library.
2001 September 11 – Attack on the United States.
On September 11, 2001, people around the world stopped everything to watch as the story of the terror attacks on the United States unfolded before their eyes. Two days later, Library Director Dorothy Field, penned a letter to the staff about their service on that terrible day. She mentions Marilyn Hoffman and Bobbie Gonzales who responded to a need for 100 severely disabled children from Canada who had come to Florida to visit Disney World and others. Her pride in the staff is reflected in the last few lines:
There are rare events in our history that come up in conversation when someone says ‘Where were you when…?’ September 11, 2001 is one of those days. It is doubtful any of us will ever be the same after Tuesday, but I will remember with pride that the OCLS Library was there for those who needed us.
2001 November – Downtown Woman of the Year by the Woman’s Executive Council.
Dorothy Field was recognized for advances in the library’s technology and computer systems, the opening of the downtown children’s library and the addition of several branches.
To celebrate Dorothy’s time at OCLS, North Orange branch manager Carolyn Rosenblum wrote her version of Dorothy and the Wizard of IS (Information Systems), starring members of the administrative team: John Martin (Cowardly Lion), Bob Tessier (Scarecrow), Debbie Moss (Wicked Witch of the West), Tonia Hinkle (Dorothy), and Kathryn Robinson (Tin Man).
Dorothy was also a great Elvis fan, so staff engaged Peter Alden, a classy Elvis tribute artist as a special surprise guest.
Library Director Dorothy Field shared parting thoughts in the December 2001 Books and Beyond looking ahead at “projects in the pipeline” and the role of the library in the information age:
Much has been written about the role of library staff in this information age. Although the variety of media has expanded from just the printed word to net sites and Ebooks, our role is the same as it was when Captain Albertson donated his books to Orlando’s first library. That is to help our patrons explore the vast and expanding world of information and inspiration, be it through the net or fiction in print. This role will never change, nor will I ever cease to be a library patron.
VIEW Parting Thoughts, Books & Beyond, December 2001.
When Ms. Field announced her retirement in February 2001, she reminded library staff and the community that “stable libraries resist change, but dynamic libraries exist because of change.”
Though her tenure as library director was less than five years, Dorothy Field’s impact on the Orange County Library System was dramatic. She passed on to the incoming director, Mary Anne Hodel, a dynamic library with unlimited possibilities for the future.
Orlando Sentinel Feb. 16, 1995, "New Chief of Libraries is Named: Dorothy Field.
FOL Newsletter April 1995 - New Directo
FOL Newsletter May 1995 - New Director
Library Director Dorothy Field shared parting thoughts in the December 2001 Books and Beyond
Library Online - Orlando Sentinel October 9, 1997. From the personal collection of Mary Bennett.
New prototype library finalized in 1997. First used for the new Alafaya Branch which opened in February 2000, then for West Oaks and South Creek.
Invitation to Dorothy Field's retirement party November 3, 2001.