Orange County Library System
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|Orange County Library System|
|Location||101 East Central Blvd., Orlando, Florida, 32801|
|Size||1.5 million items|
|Access and use|
|Population served||more than 1 million Orange County Residents|
|Director||Mary Anne Hodel|
The Orange County Library System (OCLS) is a public library system located in the Orlando area of Central Florida. Its headquarters are at the Orlando Public Library in Downtown Orlando. The System is made up of 15 total locations, one main library (Orlando Public Library) and 14 branch locations. The Orange County Library System is a 501(c)3 organization.
 History of the Orlando Public Library
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 public 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.
Preparation for the new 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 until the Albertson building was demolished and construction began. The Orlando Public Library 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."
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. At this time a special taxing district was also created which provides funds for the library.
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 April 6, 1986.
The 290,000-square-foot (27,000 m2) 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.
There are 14 branches located around Orange County and one main location, the Orlando Public Library. Some of the services they offer include gaming, programs, and computer classes taught in the English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole languages.
- Alafaya Branch - 12000 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32826
- Eatonville Branch - 200 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville, FL 32751
- Edgewater Branch - 5049 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL 32810
- Herndon Branch - 4324 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32803
- Hiawassee Branch - 7391 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32818
- North Orange Branch - 1211 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka, FL 32703
- South Creek Branch - 1702 Deerfield Blvd., Orlando, FL 32837
- South Trail Branch - 4600 S. Orange Blossom Tr., Orlando, FL 32839
- Southeast Branch - 5575 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 32822
- Southwest Branch - 7255 Della Dr., Orlando, FL 32819
- Washington Park Branch - 5151 Raleigh St., Suite A, Orlando, FL 32811
- West Oaks Branch - 1821 E. Silver Star Rd., Ocoee, FL 34761
- Windermere Branch - 530 Main St., Windermere, FL 34786
- Winter Garden Branch - 805 E. Plant St., Winter Garden, FL 34787
 Library access
The Materials Access to Your Library (MAYL) program allows library customers with resident cards to request materials for home delivery without charge. Most deliveries are made by Priority Express Parcel, a private courier. This popular service can circulate as much material as a branch location.
OCLS's web site provides access to the library's easy-search catalog, information on programs and classes, and electronic databases of information. OCLS cardholders can also access the library on a smart phone or mobile device at a special the OCLS mobile web site.
 Resources and Services
Materials: The library system circulates a large print collection of fiction and non-fiction titles. The expansive collection of materials also includes new and classic movies, music and audio books in multiple formats. The New Release DVDs are made available to cardholders on their actual release date. In 2010, OCLS expanded on its existing music CD collection by offering cardholders free MP3 downloads using a new service called Freegal. Audiobooks and e-books are available via download using services such as Overdrive, Freading and OneClickdigital as well as on CD and playaways - all available for checkout.
Services: The library system offers a erswat of convenient services including computer classes, language learning software, live tutoring and practice test help, access to databases, interactive tutorials, and topical eGuides to name a few. In addition, each location regularly hosts free events for children, teens, adults and families. To satisfy the interests of a diverse community, these events range from health screenings to storytimes to cooking classes and even live concerts and stage shows.
Assistance: The Orange County Library System performs mobile reference, in which staff roam the library buildings to assist customers. Each mobile reference staff member wears a Vocera Communications Badge, a wireless device that uses voice recognition software to enable communication amongst staff and customers. The Orlando Public Library houses Questline (407.835.7323), the library’s telephone call center. Questline assistants help customers with account information, material requests and reference questions. Questline staff also provide digital reference services through email and chat via Ask-a-Librarian.
Through its website, www.ocls.info, OCLS offers podcasts and video podcasts of storytelling and other library events, blogs, and virtual galleries on topics that include travel, history, holidays, and more. OCLS cardholders have access to a variety of electronic resources, including databases, downloadable audio books, e-books, streaming videos, and virtual computer classes. The library system features free Wi-Fi access in all locations. In addition, all locations house public computers with Internet access. Several locations provide self-checkout stations that allow customers to check out materials on their own. The library materials that are housed in self-checkout locations are given Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, which store information about the items and identify material at the point of checkout. OCLS was the first public library to offer RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. To those who subscribe to the feeds, the library delivers news about library events, new technology, and information for children and teens.
 Friends of the Library
The Friends of the Orange County Library System is a 501 (c) 3 organization first organized in 1947 by a group of local citizens. The Friends raise funds for the Library System and educate people about the role of libraries in the community.
The Orange County Library System has been honored with erserous awards and recognitions over the years and are regularly invited to present at major national conferences. A partial listing of recent awards and grants appears below:
- Aserican Library Association 2013 Cutting Edge Service
Awarded in recognition of the The Right Service at the Right Time mobile app which addresses a growing need in public libraries to aid library patrons seeking government assistance, which increasingly is accessible only online.
- Florida Library Association 2011 Library Innovation Award
Awarded in recognition of The Right Service at the Right Time. The award recognizes Florida libraries that have displayed innovative methods, projects, products, or organizational enhancements, such as using current and eserging technologies for library processes or information service delivery.
- Aserican Library Association 2011 Library of the Future
Awarded in recognition of the Technology and Education Center, which offers 1,200 technology classes each month at 15 locations.