ABOVE: The Young Adult Department on the first floor in the area now known as the porch or clock area in the Children’s Department.
The 1965-1966 annual report highlighted the creation of a separate space for teens in the new building:
To better serve the library’s younger patrons, the Young Adult Department is now open to junior high students, who formerly were served by the Children’s Department.
The space dedicated to the young adults was on the first floor in what is now the Porch area in the Children’s Department. Janet Rau was named head of the YA department in 1968, followed by Marilyn Gerber in 1969.
On February 4, 1969, OCLS Young Adult librarian, Mrs. Marilyn Gerber, gathered together representatives of Orange and Osceola junior and senior high schools for the purpose of forming a new YA Council.
The March 1969 edition of “Footnotes” reported on the event:
A YA Council, composed of representatives of Orange and Osceola junior and senior high schools, has been organized at the library. The goal of this Council is to promote better library service to students, by the influence of young people on the library’s activities for their age group and by reaching them with news of its services and programs.
The YA Council held its first meeting in February. Mrs. Marilyn Gerber, Young Adult Librarian, asked them to assist in planning summer programs for students. The group is also cooperating in trying to obtain older copies of their school yearbooks for the library’s Local History Collection and to place local school papers in the Young Adult Department.
ABOVE: From YA Scrapbook, April 1969, L-R: Barbara Walker,
Jones High, YA librarian Marilyn Gerber, and Mike Parks,
Stonewall Jackson Junior High.
The YA Council had a lot of spunk as evidenced by a letter sent to Miss Brenda Ward, editor of the Evening Star youth page. Apparently, Miss Ward had not acted on their request that she publish information about the YA Council and YA activities at the library, so they signed a petition asking that she respond.
The signers of the letter are Terry Lorenzer, Bill Frankel and Doug Lyons from Edgewater High, Kim Lorenzer from Robert E. Lee Middle, Lee Boyd from Stonewall Jackson Middle, Linda Rosenthal and Jeannie Lotti from Colonial High, Roberta Spencer from Howard Junior High, Ilene Seagal from Lockhart Junior High, Maria Adaline Elizabeth Franciosi from Bishop Moore, Lannis Waters and Brent McGee from Evans High School, Mary Workman from Oak Ridge High, Martha Workman form Conway Junior High, Barbara Walker from Valencia Junior College, Valerie Galyon and Frank Page from Boone High.
In 1973, Jan Ballard was appointed head of the YA department, and the department moved to the southwest corner of the 2nd floor sharing space with the Genealogy department for a short time.
The YA librarians found that the easiest way to reach large numbers of teens was to take advantage of the captive audience that schools provided. Talks were presented to 9th graders and later to 7th graders at local junior high schools. YA staff made dynamic, interesting presentations to dispel the belief that the library was just for term papers and was too dull for any consideration. (From Care and Feeding of Young Adults p.8)
ABOVE: YA librarian speaking to group of 9th grade students.
BELOW: Library staff sharing a poster from the YA collection to entice students to check out the library.
The YA Collection
The YA department contained popular paperbacks, hit records (vinyl), colorful posters, favorite teen magazines, games, middle and high school newspapers, newspaper clippings, art displays, and a graffiti board.
Paperback books were chosen for the YA department because they were less expensive and took up less room, but most important of all, the kids loved paperbacks. The paperbacks were stacked with the cover facing out adding color to the area. By 1973, the department had 30,000 paperbacks available for check out. (From The Care and Feeding of Young Adults p.27)
ABOVE: Jan Ballard and Christine Kirby visit East West Records and check the new releases.
With the help of Roman and Hannah Skrobko, owners of East-West Records on South Orange Avenue, the YA staff were able to build a large collection of records of interest to young adults. By choosing East-West Records as their sole supplier of records, they were able to secure a 30-35% discount, and received many promotional copies free of charge. The collection included everything from rock to pop, folk to soul, and country to jazz. A weekly top 40 list and a newspaper with record reviews and raps with TV stars, were supplied by the local rock radio station WLOF AM 95 for distribution. (From The Care and Feeding of Young Adults pp. 10-23, Discography pp. 16-23)
The record bins were located just outside the YA office. Teens would choose the empty album cover from the bin and present it to staff who would exchange for it for the actual record for check out. By the early 1980s, the record collection in the YA department was about 700 albums.
Audio cassettes eventually replaced the albums which were then sold in the Friends of the Library Bookstore. One album, purchased by a staff member and loaned to Orlando Memory for this post, was Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” released in 1978. The check out card for the album shows it was popular with the teens. Library staff affixed humorous reminders concerning leaving records in hot cars and “borrowing” without checking out on the album cover and sleeve.
Posters were added to the YA collection in 1971, and quickly became one of the most checked out items. The posters were selected by YA staff with the assistance of local poster dealers who identified the best sellers. Staff purchased most of the posters from the Infinite Mushroom, a local head shop, located as an outparcel near the old Colonial Mall at Colonial and Bumby. It was the go-to place for concert tickets, incense, black lights, posters, beaded curtains, and other accessories. (From The Care and Feeding of Young Adults, p. 24)
ABOVE: YA staff checking out posters at the Infinite Mushroom
After purchasing new posters, library staff dropped them off at Osceola Equipment Service at 705 West Central for lamination to extend the life of the posters.
ABOVE: YA staff taking posters for laminating to Osceola Equipment Service
The YA department subscribed to magazines and newspapers of interest to teens without being too off-color, sensationalist, or too regional to be of interest to young adults living in the Orlando area. Newspapers from all local high schools and colleges were also part of the collection. (From The Care and Feeding of Young Adults, p.29)
The comic books in the YA collection back in the 1960s and 1970s were the old-fashioned type – matte newsprint type paper, stapled in the middle – not the slick graphic novels found in libraries today. Some library patrons were appalled by the addition of comic books, but the comics were read and re-read until they were ragged. The cost per circulation was “ridiculously low” and there always seemed to be more comics around than what had been purchased. In addition to gifts presented formally to the library, some of the kids just anonymously donated their old comics to the collection.
ABOVE: Comic books in the YA department in 1978 either on the second floor or in the basement.
The comics were ordered from a local magazine distributor by general type – super hero, western, romance, military, etc. They were not cataloged, just placed on the comic book rack supplied by the distributer. When asked, “Why comic books?”, the YA librarians had a very simple answer: “Because the kids are reading them.”
Rest assured, the YA department also had traditional resources for young adults, like research guides, information on topics like drug use and abuse, term paper helpers, and much more. Peruse examples of these items under DOCUMENTS at the end of this post. (From The Care and Feeding of Young Adults, p.31)
Youth Night was exactly that. The entire library was thrown open to the young people for a recreational and rewarding evening. Each department planned an activity that coincided with their area. Different types of programs took place simultaneously.
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The first Youth Night presented by the YA Council was May 1, 1970. The library remained open until 10:15 and events were scheduled on all three floors of the library. Special programs were presented by upscale department store Jordan Marsh, Randall Knives, magicians Arthur and Frederick Kraft, and Ron Jon Surf Shop. Art from students at Orlando area junior and senior high schools was also exhibited.
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The program for the March 15, 1974, Youth Night, above, shows events on all three floors of the library. The number on the right margin indicates the location of the event in various locations in the basement and on first or second floors. Events included a karate demonstration by students from Bill Liquori’s USA Goju Karate school, a fashion show from Sears Roebuck at Fashion Square Mall, performances by Bone of Contention, Stonewedge, and Oak Ridge Contemporary Singers, as well as films produced by local teens.
ABOVE: A friendly game of chess. Note the comic book rack in the background.
ABOVE: Kids adding comments to questions posted on the graffiti board.
ABOVE: Newspaper clippings board.
YA Scrapbook – 1969 to 1971
Created in 1969, the Young Adult department scrapbook documents all the events and programs from February 1969 through April 1971.
ABOVE: First page in the YA 1969-1971 scrapbook begins with the YA Council meeting on February 5, 1969.
Several pages feature photographs of well-known Orlandoans who participated in or presented programs that took place at library during those years.
From Free-Wheeling Folk to Soulful Soul and Everything in Between
Two of the best known and loved DJ’s from WLOF, Pat O’Day and “The Weird Beard” Bill Vermillion, are mentioned on page 5 in the scrapbook in an article from Evan’s High School’s weekly publication the “Trojan Tribune.” The two acted as moderators of a panel discussion at the Music and Meaning event in June 1969, as part of the summer activities for young adults at the library (scrapbook pages 10-11). Also on the panel was Eric Schabacker, Bee Jay booking agent and Jim Kott, lead guitarist for The Barons.
ABOVE: Pat O’Day (on the left) and “The Weird Beard” Bill Vermillion were popular DJ’s on WLOF AM 95.
OPD Canine Squad and Karate Demonstration
Karate self-defense techniques and the workings of the K-9 Corps and Narcotics Squad were presented by members of the Orlando Police Department on March 19, 1970. OPD K-9 Squad members at the event were Conrad Killian, Charles Gibson, and D.A. O’Dell. The OPD officers presenting the karate demonstration were Sgt. Bill Liquori (2nd from left), Jimmie Swett, Alana Jones, and Willam Lutz.
ABOVE: Scrapbook page 18 – Orlando Police Department March 19, 1970.
Sensei Bill Liquori trained under Master Peter Urban of New York, eventually starting his own organization, USA Goju. In the 1970s, while with the OPD, Sensei Liquori taught Karate to members of the OPD and to the general public at his dojo at 2710 South Orange Blossom Trail. He and his students participated in Karate demonstrations around Central Florida.
Ralph Dunagin and Dunagin’s People
The fourth program in the 1970 summer series on July 23, 1970, featured the popular Orlando Sentinel cartoonist Ralph Dunagin. Dunagin’s humorous and socially relevant cartoons were featured in the daily Sentinel and his Sunday cartoon strip “Dunagin’s People” was syndicated to papers around the country.
ABOVE: Ralph Dunagin
Mr. Dunagin passed away on June 24, 2020.
The Padded Cell
Beginning with the first publication in early 1970, “The Padded Cell,” was an art/literary publication that consisted of contributions by local young adults, ranging in age from 11 to 18 years of age, from area junior and senior high schools.
Published quarterly, each issue was written, designed and edited by the students at a different high school. The publication was submitted to the YA department for final approval, and then 1500 copies were distributed free of charge to visitors to the YA department.
ABOVE: Shelley Lake honored for her winning cover design for The Padded Cell.
The first cover was designed by Edgewater High School student Shelley Lake, and announced in the December 27, 1969, edition of the Orlando Evening Sentinel:
First prize in cover design contest for “The Padded Cell,” youth publication of Orlando Public Library’s young adult council, went to Shelley Lake. She is a student at Edgewater High School and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hyman Lake. Runnersup were Wilma Korb, senior at Apopka Memorial High, and Cindy Hopcraft, Boone senior and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Hopcraft. Wilma’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Howard Korb.
“The Padded Cell Out Loud” – a live version of the popular teen publication, was held on November 16, 1970.
VIEW larger image.
The event was the second in a series of Monday night study breaks for teens. Poetry, short stories, articles, reviews and illustrations by teenagers and published by the library’s Young Adult Department, were presented live by the artists and authors. Special presenters included local news leaders – Ormund Powers, editor of the Orlando Sentinel editorial page, Allen Moore, WLOF news director, and Bernice Norton, WFTV reporter and documentary producer.
The 1973 edition of “The Padded Cell,” above right has this note:
Thanks to Boone High Art classes, especially to Richard Matecko whose cover design was selected for this issue, and to Elaine Enlow, Susanne Foaranis, Kurt Loft, Rick Wilson, Jan Kasper, and Darrell Range.
This edition, above left, includes more information on the publication:
This is something for you, the teen-ager, the young adult, the individual or whatever you may choose to call yourself. This brief magazine which you hold in your hands is made up of poems, graffiti and artwork by people in the age group 11 years to 18 years.
If you like this type of magazine (or don’t) please tell the Young Adult Department of the Orlando Public Library. If you would like to submit material of your own (Up to 500 words) please turn them in to the YA Department also.
Special thanks go to all the schools who sent in material on short notice and to Mr. Bischof’s Art Classes of Edgewater High School for this issue’s cover. The Staff of PC – Doreen Crimi, Virginia Smertneck, Jane Williams – Edgewater High School.
1973 – Florida State Library Grant
In 1973, Young Adult department librarians Jan Ballard and Chrstine Kirby Young received a grant from the Florida State Library to create a multi-media kit with information on the importance of providing teen-oriented programs, events, comics, magazines, posters and pop records.
The YA Kit
“The Care and Feeding of Young Adults,” describes how the young adult program at the Orlando Public Library was created and operated. The detailed information in the kit, could be used as a blueprint by other libraries in the creation of their own YA department offering diverse materials and engaging programs and events for teens.
The kit also contained 50 photos providing a visual companion for processes, events, and media mentioned in the manual. Examples of flyers, circulation stickers placed on circulating items, and the student produced publication, “The Padded Cell,” were also included in the kit.
Key components include in-person classroom presentations at local junior and senior high schools; special materials for the young adults including records (vinyl), posters, magazines, paperback books, and comic books; student activity areas including art displays, graffiti board, and newspaper clipping board, and special events like film nights and youth nights.
Allison Landers was made head of the YA department in 1980, and the department was relocated to the basement into the former auditorium in 1981. Triple the size of the YA department on the first floor of the library, the 1,920 square foot space allowed for a general browsing area with service desk, a reading room, and a workroom with office space. The auditorium was several steps down and was eventually filled in, so that it would be level with the rest of the basement. The space how houses the graphics department, computer servers and other storage.
In 1984, Nancy Bond took the reins of the YA department, and one year later, upon completion of the library expansion, the YA Department was relocated to the 2nd floor directly in front of the elevators. The 1984 Friends of the Library Newsletter introduced the public to the new Young Adult Department.
ABOVE: Photo of YA department with graffiti board and books.
The following description of the new Young Adult Department is from the special supplement of the Florida Magazine, published in the Orlando Sentinel on April 6, 1986:
A giant graffiti board, rock records and recreational reading draw people from 12 to 21 years old to the Young Adult Department on the second floor of the new library. The shelves are filled with books made into hit movies, science-fiction novels, mystery stories, teen romances, information on clothes, sports facts, dating hints, health tips and other special interests.
The record bins offer a week’s loan of most of the albums on Billboard magazine’s Top 100 listings. The magazine shelves invite patrons to check out back issues of a wide variety of teen-interest monthlies, such as Black Belt, Cycle, Ebony, Family Computing, Hot Rod, Mad, Off-Road, Omni, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Sports Illustrated, Surfing and Wrestling USA.
The graffiti board covers one wall of the reading room, and there’s always chalk available for anyone who wants to write a poem, draw a picture or leave a thought for the day. Sliding glass doors to the reading room provide a separate place where young adults can listen to music, play chess, and enjoy free movies on school holidays.
ABOVE: Staff members Mike Worrell and John Maynard at the information desk in YA in the basement.
Peruse additional information and photos under Images and Documents below. Be sure to flip through the entire YA Scrapbook!
1965-1966 Annual report mentions activities in the Young Adult department.
Monthly news letter published by the Friends of Library.
Scrapbook documenting the beginning of the Young Adult department
The March 1970 edition of Footnotes mentions events in the YA Department.
1970-1971 Annual Report mentions happenings in the Young Adult Department.
The cover design is by Ian Davis of Edgewater School, who won third place in The Padded Cell design contest.
A publication of the Young Adult Department at the Orlando Public Library in the early 1970s with materials contributed by young adults.
A publication of the Young Adult Department at the Orlando Public Library in the early 1970s with materials contributed by young adults. Front cover of The Padded Cell features artwork by Richard Matecko at Boone High School.
Includes demonstration from Bill Liquori's U.S.A. Goju studio.
Flyer about YA features and info on Biographies.
Drugs and Drug Abuse pamphlet created by library reference staff around 1969.
Compiled by Jan Ballard and Christine Kirby of the Young Adult Department, funded by Florida State Library LSCA Grant.
Advertisement for a summer photography series conducted by Charles Odum, every Saturday in the Conference Room in the basement of the 1966 Orlando Public Library.
Research guide for creating reports on three of the people mentioned in the song, "Abraham, Martin, and John." by Dion in 1968.
Research guide on Aliens
An index to the research resources at the library in 1973.
Undated letter to the editor of the Youth page at the Orlando Evening Star asking for more coverage of their events.
YA department book recommendation flyer for summer reading.
Special Supplement to the Florida Magazine in the Orlando Sentinel for Celebration Sunday - Grand Opening of the expanded and remodeled library. Section on the YA department, p. 19.