Patrice Florence-Walker, manager of the Eatonville Branch retired in January 2020, after working more than 33 years at the Orange County Library System!
Patrice started her career in 1986 in the Young Adult Department at the Main library in downtown Orlando. At that time, the YA Department was on the 2nd Floor just a few steps beyond the elevators. Patrice’s next assignment was in the Children’s Library, at that time located in the basement at the Main library.
Patrice said she appreciated the opportunity the library afforded her to work at different positions. She worked as a story teller, a sub-librarian, a librarian aide, an assistant manager and, finally, a manager at the Eatonville library. She said she had the opportunity to meet a lot of staff and people and learn a lot at 15 different locations.
ABOVE: Patrice at the Orlando Public Library on Staff Day 2008.
Patrice said she always wanted to be a manager one day. Her desire was to have a small branch with just a few staff – and that’s what she got when she was named manager of the Eatonville Branch! She said, “Eatonville was opened in 2005 as a children’s library, but I asked for books to be added for adults so that we had a more well-rounded collection for all the people in the community.”
Watch an interview with Patrice Florence-Walker conducted at the West Oaks Branch on May 10, 2021.
When asked what “words of wisdom” she would leave for those who follow her at the Eatonville branch, she said: “Get to know the community! Don’t get discouraged, listen, communicate, be open to suggestions and embrace the community.”
ABOVE: Managers Gregg Gronlund and Patrice Florence-Walker, May 10, 2021, at the West Oaks Branch.
Both managers piloted their staff through the Covid 19 pandemic.
Speaking about her staff at the Eatonville branch, she said: “They supported me and respected me. I hope I poured something into them that they can take through their lives to be the best that they can be.”
In the end, Patrice said that she is “an encourager” and that she loves children. She hopes that, in retirement, she will be able to mentor to some of the children whom she has served as manager of the Eatonville Branch library, offering them encouragement to succeed.
While her retirement is certainly deserved, her presence will be greatly missed at the Eatonville Branch and in the community, at large.