In November 1921, retired Police Inspector and winter resident of Orlando, Captain Charles Albertson, donated his large genealogical library to the city of Orlando on the condition that the city construct a suitable public building in which to house the volumes. This contribution became the basis for Orange County Library System. A century later, OCLS is one of the largest library systems in the state, providing a vast array of lifelong learning resources to more than 1.3 million Orange County residents.
To learn more about the history of Orange County Library System, visit OCLS’ community based digital archive, Orlando Memory.
On November 8, 1923 the doors of the Albertson Public library, located at the corner of Central Boulevard and Rosalind Avenue, opened to the public. More than 21,000 volumes, including almost 12,000 books donated by Captain Charles Albertson, were part of the collection.
In 1949, The Friends of the Orange County Library System, a group of citizens interested in supporting libraries by raising funds and awareness, formed in Orlando. To learn more about the Friends of the Orange County Library System, visit oclsfriends.info.
By 1966, the population of Orlando had grown to the point where Albertson Public Library lacked the required space to provide suitable library service. Following a bond-issue election, construction of a new facility was approved. Selected to design the new building was renowned brutalist architect, John M. Johansen.
Today, the Orlando Public Library measures 290,000 square feet and encompasses a full city block.
Books By Mail
Orange County Library System launched one its most beloved and widely used services in December 1973. Books By Mail, or BBM, provides home delivery of library materials including books, movies and audiobooks to residents throughout the county, completely free of charge.
On April 16, 2012, Orange County Library System received the largest single private gift in its history when benefactor Kendrick B. Melrose donated $1 million in memory of his mother, Dorothy Lumley Melrose.
The gift funded The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center, a revolutionary space for creative resources and emerging technologies. To learn more about the Melrose Center, visit tic.ocls.info