As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the library in 2023, these publications preserve the history of the Friends of the Library, special events, programs, art and innovation shared with the people of Orange County through the years.
Friends of the Library Newsletters
Friends of the Library Newsletters published in the 1980s and1990s heralded exciting happenings throughout the entire Orange County Library System. Each newsletter has information on special events, displays, art exhibits, and bookstore news. There are also special features on library departments, staff and resources.
Most newsletters included The Library Calendar with a list of events during the month at the Orlando Public Library and the branches in Orange and, for a few years, in Osceola County.
Note: Words in blue are links to the monthly magazine. Some editions are not available at this time.
Excerpt from the July 1980 Friends of the Library Newsletter.
1980 Newsletters – In January, authors Leigh Richmond and Iris Comfort spoke at the “Meet the Authors” event at Burdines at Fashion Square and an update on the efforts to create a new special tax district to operated the Orlando Public Library System. In March, authors Richard Valeriani, Haynes Johnson, and Eugene Fodor spoke at the annual “Dinner with the Authors.” Alex Haley PSAs on WDBO-TV promoted the library’s Reading Olympics for elementary school students. “Sharing Literature with Children” was the topic for Breakfast at Burdines in February. In April author J. F. Hopkins spoke at Breakfast at Burdines, the library hosted a Taypayer’s Tour of the Library, the Orange County Legislative Delegation introduced legislation to create the OCLS funding district, and information on why we needed to enlarge OPL. In July the Genealogy Department moved to the A.P. Phillips Building at 1045 Legion Place near Lake Ivanhoe and it was announced that the Library Referendum would be on the ballot in September. An Open House for Parents and Teachers of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers was conducted in November with a display of books, records, tapes and films purchased with a $100,000 LSCA grant. Author Iris Comfort spoke at “Breakfast at Burdines.”
1981 Newsletters -The June 1981 FOL Newsletter announced that Schweizer Associates was chosen to design the OPL expansion and the library was in the process of acquiring the remainder of the city block.
1982 Newsletters – Russell Troutman continues to produce and host the “Discussion ‘82” series aired on WFTV Channel 9 each Sunday. Book Trek is the theme for the summer reading program. Pat Morley Investments provided space for sorting and pricing the books for the sale. FOL officers and director elected for the coming year were announced. The August newsletter promotes a weekly Young Adult Movie Night and includes an Expansion Update describing plans to preserve some of the artifacts from buildings to be torn down.
The September expansion update reports that the Salvation Army and Mrs. Bennet’s house are gone and they are working on the Chamber. Large Print books, Talking Books and the Apollo laser enlarger are promoted for people with vision problems, and parents are invited to “Catch ‘em In the Cradle” presentations. The Friends purchased a $10,000 collator for the library’s printing operation from book sale proceeds. Bidding on the expansion project began in November, and author Harry Crews spoke at Breakfast at Burdines. The December newsletter promotes the library’s 8 mm and super 8 films and the Friends’ book endowment fund. The Great Southwest Corporation was awarded the contract to build the library expansion for $14 million dollars and the groundbreaking on December 7th.
1983 Newsletters -The January newsletter reported that there were 200 in attendance at the groundbreaking including former director Clara Wendel. Author Donald Westlake (Tucker Coe, Richard Stark) spoke at the annual Dinner with the Authors in March. Author Charles Brady spoke at Breakfast at Burdines in April, it was announced that Washington Shores would get a new library, and Catch ‘Em in the Cradle presentations continue. Persons honored by book endowments are listed each month. The July newsletter promotes the new books on cassette format with 70 titles for checkout, and announces the new FOL board members. The October newsletter promoted author Henry B. Rothblatt at Breakfast at Burdines and the book sale at the Winter Park Mall. The six-year history of Breakfast at Burdines is presented in the November explaining that the authors appear free of charge and Burdines provides the coffee and pastries free of charge.
1984 Newsletters – The 16mm film catalog was available for purchase in February. The 7th annual Dinner with the Authors featured Bella Abzug, Tom Wicker and Joe McGinniss. The Genealogy Department was featured in March, as well as the floor plan for the expanded library. The July newsletter discusses whether OCLS should contribute to cost of providing parking in downtown Orlando and a lawsuit between the City and the Library over whether library taxes could be diverted to community redevelopment districts. The library’s map collection and the Young Adult department were featured in October, as well as the donation of a complete set of IEEE standards by the Orlando IEEE and Martin Marietta Orlando Aerospace.
1985 Newsletters – The opening of the expansion in April is discussed and Ye Olde Book Sale was held at the Winter Park Mall in May. The Plat Book collection is featured in the August newsletter which includes a quiz: “How much do you know about your library,” and has an update on the remodeling of the 1966 library. During the Light Up Orlando event in November, the library stayed open late so staff could give tours of the new construction. The newsletters often include events for the Osceola Friends of the Library. The location for the new Southeast Library at 2101 South Semoran Blvd., was announced in December, staffed by librarian Angela Jacobe and children’s librarian Carolyn Metz (Rosenblum).
1986 Newsletters – The February the Eastland Branch moves and is renamed East Orange branch. A bronze plaque honoring the Friends was installed to OPL, and the OPL received a Gold Brick Award from Downtown Orlando, Inc. The Dinner with the Authors event in March with authors Robert B. Parker, Josephine Humphreys, and Don Hewitt was a success and was later broadcast on WMFE-TV Channel 24. Author Patrick Smith spoke at the Osceola FOL’s first Author’s Lunch. The March newsletter announces the April Grand Celebration for the completion of the new Orlando Public Library, and the entire April edition is dedicated to the Celebration. Ye Olde Book Sale was held at the Winter Park Mall May 30-June 1, and the Osceola Friends toured the new OPL. The Summer Reading Program is featured in the June issue, with YA movies and special story times at all the branches. The July newsletter announces the new OPL drive-up window; the County Law Library move to the Planning and Local Government Department on the 3rd Floor, new red and gold story rooms in the Children’s Department, and the Osceola Friends event with author Robert Newton Peck. Another Ye Olde Book Sale took place in October, the new Bookstore on the 3rd floor opened, and the Genealogy Department was one of the hosts for the first National Conference of the Federation of Genealogy Societies held in Florida. The Meet the Author series continued and the FOL sponsored the Storytellers Corner at the 2nd annual Authors in the Park. Royal Doulton character mugs, often referred to as “Toby Jugs,” were donated to the library from the estate of Edmund L. Murray. (These are now on display in the Albertson Room.) The November newsletter highlights the Business and Science Department; announces that the Friends Book Endowment has over 200 endowments, and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the new OPL being open on Sunday. The December newsletter features the Arts & Literature Department and lists highlights of 1986.
1987 Newsletters – In January, the Children’s Department began evening story hours. The Meet the Author series continued in 1987, and authors David Eisenhower, Shelby Hearon, and Ernest M. Mickler spoke at the 10th annual Dinner with the Authors in March.
The April newsletter announces the opening of the FOL Bookstore on the 3rd floor at the OPL on March 2nd, and the 20 Downtown art show. The May newsletter promotes Ye Olde Book Sale at the Winter Park Mall and the FOL Used Bookstore. The Summer Reading Program kicks off in June for children and young adults. The July newsletter announces the relocation of the Northgate branch, after 15 years, to the Edgewater Commerce Center. In September, OCLS celebrated the 200th birthday of the U. S. Constitution with an exhibit called “The Blessings of Liberty.” Results of the Datafax telephone survey were featured in the September newsletter. A new “Parents and Pre-Threes” program developed by the Children’s Department began in October, and plans were finalized for the opening of the new Edgewater branch. In November there was a book sale in the new FOL Used Bookstore. The December newsletter features highlights of 1987 and anticipation for the one millionth patron for 1987.
1988 Newsletters – The January newsletter reported that Kathy Kushner was the One Millionth patron of 1987! OCLS signed a lease with the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation for the new Southwest library and Lorna Horton was named librarian for the new branch. Writers from various countries and cultures spoke during the year at the OPL as part of the UCF World Writer Series. Authors Nien Cheng, Thomas Flanagan and Ferrol Sams were guest speakers at the annual Dinner with the Authors in March 1988. Author David Kaufelt was the speaker for the 3rd Annual Osceola Friends Meet the Author luncheon. The First Anniversary of the opening of the FOL Bookstore was celebrated in March with the publication of the bookstore volunteer Honor List. The Edgewater library, the largest branch, expanded its hours in April. The FOL Annual Review was published in the June newsletter. The library purchased over 100 hours of PBS programming on VHS. In September, the FOL began their 3rd season of Meet the Author. The Poinciana Library – the first new branch in Osceola County in 20 years – opened in October, and North Orange moved to 1211 East Semoran Blvd. Soviet playwright Edward Radzinsky spoke at OPL as part of the UCF World Writer Series. The first Annual Chess Tournament sponsored by the YA Department held August 13th was organized by OPL staff Mike Worrell and John Maynard. In November, the library celebrated its 65th birthday with a display of old photographs and memorabilia. Highlights of Director Glenn Miller’s report on the library included: extended hours at the Pine Hills, South Trail and East Orange branches, VHS tapes going to the branches, the Southwest Library opening in 1989, over one million visitors to the OPL in 1988, and the establishment of a special initiative between the Children’s Department and OCPS. Hazel Skjellum, Technical Services head since 1968 and Eileen Willis, who joined the staff in 1952, serving as head of the Genealogy Department for 21 years, retired in December.
1989 Newsletters – Director Glenn Miller reported that all 11 branches had video collections (VHS) by the end of January and the 12,000 sq. ft. new North Orange branch was now open. April featured celebrations for the grand opening of the Southwest branch and the 2nd Anniversary, in March, of the opening of the FOL Bookstore. Dinner with the Authors with guests Anne Rivers Siddens, Robin Cook and Elmore Leonard was a great success. The Summer Story Program featured stories, books and films at OPL and all branches with an attendance of 1269 in the Children’s Department the first week. The FOL year-end report shows that 840 books were to be placed in day care centers through the Children’s Department outreach programs; 96 new pieces of art were to be added for checkout; the transcription of the oral history tapes was ongoing, and microfilming of 65 FOL and Library scrapbooks was complete. The popularity of the VHS collection continued to break records with over 50,000 checked out in April. By the end of the year, OPL had more than 400 books on tape, 4,695 music CDs, 14,000 records, 6,000 cassette tapes, and 16,000 VHS tapes. In November, Orlando artist Ron Kelly showed 30 paintings depicting the cast of Star Trek returning to 20th century Orlando to save Florida’s endangered species, entitled “Art Trek IV: The Voyage to Orlando.” The December newsletter reports that over 3.5 million items were checked out during the 1988-1989 fiscal year – an increase of 500,000 over the previous year – with the OPL averaging 4,734 items per day. The FOL “Orlando Clubs and Organizations Directory” went on sale in the bookstore in December, the 4th floor was refurbished to accommodate the new Planning & Local Government Department, and the library received national recognition for Children’s services with the selection of Carolyn Peterson, Head of the Children’s Department to take part in a national symposium
July 1990 Friends of the Library Newsletter
The 1990 Dinner with the Authors featured Tracy Kidder, Jane Smiley and John Edgar Wideman. The recipients of the First Annual Friends of the Library Awards Program to recognize community members who have shown distinctive and continuous support of OCLS were announced in January: JMB Properties, Albert Valdes, John Newsom, Overstreet Foundation/Mildred Overstreet, Dr. P. Phillips Foundation, Editorial Board of The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Police Department – East Patrol Division, and Olive Brumbaugh. Charley Reese spoke at the first 1990 Meet the Author event in February. Artist Timothy P. Darnell exhibited his paintings and photography at the OPL in March and April.
The Orlando Remembered permanent display of the city block on which the OPL now stands as it was in the 1940s was unveiled on April 12, 1990. Novelist, poet and screenwriter George Garrett was the speaker at the Annual FOL Luncheon in May.
In 1990 the library was selected to be a depository of the EPA reports, and the library system hit a milestone by circulating over 2,000,000 materials in six months from October 1, 1989 to March 31, 1990.
The PLG Department opened on the 4th floor, and the Pine Hills Library moved from the Silver Pines Village Shopping Center to 7210 West Colonial at Hiawassee becoming the West Colonial Branch. Matthew Lesko returned in August for two Meet the Author programs – one for students and parents and one for consumers and business people. Library Business Manager and Comptroller retired in June after 28 years of service. Author Phil Singerman spoke at the Meet the Author event in October, followed by Lawson Lamar and N. Gary Holten in November.
The OPL was the site for filming of Super Force, the pilot for TV series which aired September 29 on WOFL – Channel 35 and edited by Century III Teleproductions at Universal Studios. The December edition of the FOL Newsletter introduced MAYL: Mailbox Access to Your Library and the Automatic Books by Mail service.
July 1991 Friends of the Library Newsletter
The 13th annual Dinner with the Authors featured Jill McCorkle, Judge Ellen Morphonios, Susan Isaacs. Newsletters promote the new home delivery service initiated in December 1990 – MAYL – Mailbox Access to Your Library and the Drive-Up Window service at the Orlando Public Library.
From June 1991 FOL Newsletter
Sponsored by the Friend’s, the University of OCLS conducted “Infopower” courses for staff. On April 27, 1991, Florida Representatives Reddick, Feeney, Grindle, McEwan, Sindler, Starks, Stone and Webster passed a resolution commending Glenn Miller for his leadership in innovative library services. The Resolution was presented to Mr. Miller by Alzo Reddick in May 1991 and photos from the event were published in the June 1991 FOL Newsletter.
February 1992 Friends of the Library newsletter.
In March, library volunteers from our sister city in Urayasu, Japan, visited OPL and were treated to a luncheon by the Friends.
The 14th annual Dinner with the Authors featured Barbara Taylor Bradford, Carl Hiaasen, and Robert Stone, the annual FOL Author’s Brunch featured Jake Vest, and columnist and public radio essayist Ed Hayes ended the year with a program in December.
From the April 1992 FOL Newsletter.
The South Orange Library opened in April at Waterbridge Downs Shopping Center. The InfoPower suite was completed in August for InfoPower courses and InterNos (Between Us) – staff meetings with director Glenn Miller. Friends donated 700 books to the newly formed library at the Coalition for the Homeless as part of a project coordinated by the OPD.
February 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter.
The 1993 newsletters featured each of the 11 branches during the year, beginning in February. The eleven branch visits can also be viewed under Images, below.
In addition, the April newsletter announced that OCLS had been awarded a National Achievement Citation from the Public Library Association for its Info Power seminars program for staff. The June newsletter featured the Silver Summer Scrapbook Vacation Reading Program. The August newsletter features the Talking Books program and new positions for Sally Fry, Marilyn Hoffman, and Laura Murru.
The October newsletter describes the duties of the staff who work in the newly formed “Black Watch” department headed by Sally Fry. The department was named “Black Watch” as staff worked during the overnight hours on projects that might impact customer service if conducted during the day. The November newsletter announced the sad news that former staff member Judy Mucci had passed.
October 1994 FOL Newsletter.
The January 1994 newsletter announced the appointment of Debbie Moss as the new Assistant Director and retirement of Carolyn Peterson. The feature story in March is the celebration of the 7th anniversary of the opening of the Friends Bookstore. In April, new and retired members of the library Board of Trustees were announced, along with a recently installed plaque to honor Trustee Emeritus John B. Newsom.
The May newsletter features a letter to the Friends from library director Glenn Miller. The August newsletter shines the spotlight on the Genealogy department and announces that the wood chairs from the 1966 library were for sale in the bookstore for $25 each! The October edition announced the Friends “Booked for Supper” event with authors Judith Rossner, Dennis McFarland, and Roy Blount, Jr.
In the November edition, Children’s Department manager Sue Wright, introduces three new storytellers: Jane Tracy, Crystal Sullivan, Stefani Koorey.
May 1995 FOL Newsletter
The March 1995 newsletter includes the retirement of library director Glenn Miller and the selection of the new director Dorothy Field. The April edition includes a special message from the new director; the May edition features her on the front cover, and the June edition invites everyone to an open forum with the new director. The September newsletter reported the passing of James R. Spence, president of the Board of Trustees, long time staff member Mercedes “Merci” Stephens, and FOL volunteer Eddie Hardman.
January 1996 FOL Newsletter Tribute to Clara Wendel.
Clara Wendel’s passing in December 1995 was eulogized in the January newsletter. The library launched online service with computers in all branches and an online catalog.
FOL’s Second Saturday programs included a Celebration of Black History with Evelyn McGee Stone and Jesse Stone, Genealogy for Generations with Gregg Gronlund, Katherine Ronan Cooper and Mary L. Jackson Fears, Libraries Change Lives with new director Dorothy Field.
May 1996 FOL Newsletter contains a letter in the “Libraries Change Lives” section from an amazing African American author, genealogist and historian Mary L. Jackson Fears.
Above from January 1996 FOL Newsletter.
In October 1996 the Friends of the Library announced the premiere of the new Orange County Library System’s Books & Beyond – a monthly library news and information publication sponsored by the Friends.
The October 1996 premiere edition of Books & Beyond also included the new Friends Insider with information about Friends’ activities, members, programs and the bookstore.
October 1996 Friends news announcing Books and Beyond.
Early Spring 1997 Friends news.
The Friends held a book sale in Barnett Park in March 1997, and the Second Saturday program featured Tony Simotes, director of the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival. The Second Saturday program in May featured anthropologist Dr. Robert L. Moore presenting on family life in Imperial China.
1980 FOL Newsletters
1981 FOL Newsletters
1982 FOL Newsletters
1983 FOL Newsletters
1984 FOL Newsletters
1985 FOL Newsletters
1986 FOL Newsletters
1987 FOL Newsletters
1988 FOL Newsletters
1989 FOL Newsletters
January 1990 FOL Newsletter
February 1990 FOL Newsletter
March 1990 FOL Newsletter
April 1990 FOL Newsletter
May 1990 FOL Newsletter
June 1990 FOL Newsletter
July 1990 FOL Newsletter
August 1990 FOL Newsletter
October 1990 FOL Newsletter
December 1990 FOL Newsletter
January 1991 FOL Newsletter
February 1991 FOL Newsletter
March 1991 FOL Newsletter
April 1991 FOL Newsletter
May 1991 FOL Newsletter
June 1991 FOL Newsletter
July 1991 FOL Newsletter
August 1991 FOL Newsletter
September 1991 FOL Newsletter
October 1991 FOL Newsletter
November 1991 FOL Newsletter
December 1991 FOL Newsletter
January 1992 FOL Newsletter
February 1992 FOL Newsletter
March 1992 FOL Newsletter
April 1992 FOL Newsletter
May 1992 FOL Newsletter
June 1992 FOL Newsletter
July 1992 FOL Newsletter
August 1992 FOL Newsletter
September 1992 FOL Newsletter
October 1992 FOL Newsletter
November 1992 FOL Newsletter
December 1992 FOL Newsletter
January 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
February 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
March 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
April 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
May 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
June 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
July 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
August 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
September 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
October 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
Black Watch Program from library director Glenn Miller's book, Customer service & innovation in libraries.
November 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
December 1993 Friends of the Library Newsletter
January 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
February 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
March 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
April 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
May 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
June 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
July 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
August 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
September 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
October 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
November 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
December 1994 Friends of the Library Newsletter
January 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
February 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
March 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
April 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
May 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
June 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
July 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
August 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
September 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
October 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
November 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
December 1995 Friends of the Library Newsletter
January 1996 FOL Newsletter
January 1996 FOL Newsletter - Clara Wendel Death Announcement.
February 1996 FOL Newsletter
March 1996 FOL Newsletter
April 1996 FOL Newsletter
May 1996 FOL Newsletter
June 1996 FOL Notes
July 1996 FOL Newsletter
August 1996 FOL Newsletter
September 1996 FOL Newsletter
October 1996 FOL Newsletter
November 1996 FOL Newsletter
December 1996 FOL Newsletter
March 1997 FOL Newsletter
May 1997 FOL Newsletter