Winter Park Public Library

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Located at 460 E. New England Avenue, the 33,000-square-foot library serves the Winter Park, Florida community.[1]


The Winter Park Public Library began as the Winter Park Circulating Library Association. On December 9, 1885, a group of local women came together to discuss the idea of a library. This group consisted of nine women including: Mrs. Elizabeth Hooker, Miss Evaline Lamson, Mrs. W.O. Cady, Miss Mary McClure, Miss Alice Guild, Mrs. C.J. Ladd, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Cook, and Miss Mary Brown.[2] The first Library was in the home and front porch of Evaline Lamson, near the corner of Interlachen and Swoope avenues. The Library did not have a very large inventory, but it did have books that were already circulated between its founding members. To become a member of the Library, patrons had to pay one dollar per year.[3] Members could check out one book on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The checkout time was for two weeks with a one-week renewal. The fine for overdue books or non-renewals was ten cents. People who wanted to check out books but were not members could do so by paying a one dollar deposit plus ten cents for each week they wanted to keep the book. The Library was in operation from January to May of each year. A year after its founding, the Library moved from Evaline Lamson's home and into a room in the Winter Park Company Building.[4]

In 1900, a discussion was raised about getting a permanent building for the Library. The Library association’s president Eleanora Comstock called a meeting to make plans and to start fundraising efforts. Eventually, a building was donated from the Knowles Estate. A kitchen wing was donated in 1915, as were two other wings, and a restroom in 1924, doubling the size of the Library. During and after the war years the Library circulation was 33,214.[4]

While the old Library was still in use, a new building was constructed to house the growing collection. The new library on New England Avenue opened in 1976.[5] An expansion that added an additional 11,000 square feet was done in 1994. A third floor was added and the first two floors were renovated.

Events and Programs[edit]

There are many different events and programs for members and the community including Paws to Read, Summer Reading Challenge, and Storytelling times. Programs specifically for Adults include Career Workshops, Language Classes, as well as Writing Workshops.

Items can be checked out for one week for new items, DVDs, computer software, Oprah book picks, new books on The New York Times Best Seller list, and video games. Other items are checked out for two weeks. Items can be renewed up to four times unless another patron has placed a reserve on the item.

Special Collections[edit]

  • Winter Park History and Archives Collection-the majority of this collection was established through local historian and businesswoman Eve Bacon. The collection continues to grow and includes: maps, photos, newspaper clippings, periodicals, scrapbooks, city government records, books, pamphlets, correspondence.
    • DAR Scrapbooks-these scrapbooks document the activities of the William P. Duval Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution from the 1970s to the mid-1990s.
    • The Albin Polasek Museum Archives- these archives include photographs, books, letters, news clippings, and pamphlets associated with the life and work of sculptor Albin Polasek. To access this archive arrangements must be made through the Polasek Museum manager.
    • Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Scrapbooks- these scrapbooks, compiled by the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, document this event which began in 1961. Arrangements to view this collection are made through the Winter Park History and Archives Collection archivist.[6]

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 28°35′44″N 81°20′47″W / 28.595683°N 81.346251°W / 28.595683; -81.346251