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black history month

  • From the Director, February 2024

    From the Director, February 2024

    If you’ve been reading Books & Beyond over the past year, you’ve heard us talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. In the past year, we have placed an emphasis on making sure that everyone knows that they belong at the library. We want to meet people where they are, no matter their stage in…

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  • A tile mosaic depicting the Black community of Hannibal Square crossing the tracks to vote. Text reads, "Strength, Learning, Story, Faith, Family, Memory, Unity." "In 1887 the citizens of Hannibal Square joined together and crossed the tracks to vote, electing two African American men." "Winter Park Community Pride in Hannibal Square."

    Q&A with Hannibal Square Heritage Center

    The fabric of Orange County’s history is interwoven with the stories, memories, struggles and victories of the Black community. The Orange County Library System is proud to welcome the Hannibal Square Heritage Center to Local Wanderer, a program that gives library holders access to historic, cultural and educational attractions. To celebrate our new partnership, we…

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  • From the Director, February 2023

    From the Director, February 2023

    On January 7, we kicked off Orange County Library System’s 100 Year Celebration at Orlando Public Library with a host of special guests. We were lucky enough to have Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, State Rep. Anna Eskamani and County Commissioner Nicole Wilson join us…

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  • The History of Orange County Library System: Eddie T. Jackson and the Booker T. Washington Library

    The History of Orange County Library System: Eddie T. Jackson and the Booker T. Washington Library

    The Albertson Public Library opened its doors in November 1923, but until the mid-1960s, those doors were closed to members of the Black community because of segregation. In her first Librarian’s Report, Olive Brumbaugh noted that Black residents “were entitled to library privileges yet could not use the Albertson [Public Library], so the Booker T.…

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  • Pilar Winter Hill

    Pilar Winter Hill

    At just 15 years old, Pilar Winter Hill is an accomplished violinist and children’s book author who is passionate about classical music and being a positive role model. She was first introduced to the violin at age 6, and she’s been mesmerizing audiences ever since, performing at prestigious venues like the Lincoln Center and Carnegie…

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  • Q&A with Renita Hunt

    Q&A with Renita Hunt

    Renita Hunt is an empowerment speaker and marketing communications executive. Her robust corporate marketing career began as a library page at 14 years old. She holds an MBA from University of Phoenix and a BA in Public Relations from Clark Atlanta University. Renita has been emceeing the African American Read-In at Orange County Library System…

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  • 5 Questions with Beverly Jenkins

    5 Questions with Beverly Jenkins

    Beverly Jenkins is a bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance novels, most often focusing on 19th Century African American life. She has received multiple awards including the 2017 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America – her moving and inspiring acceptance speech can be found on her website. Beverly was also…

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  • From the Director, February 2021

    From the Director, February 2021

    One positive thing that has come out of this pandemic has been some new opportunities available to us due to our extensive use of virtual programming. Orange County Library System used to be an entirely in-person operation – all of our events and programs happened at one of our 15 library locations. Now, though, we…

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  • Barbershop Books Fosters Reading Among Young Black Boys

    Barbershop Books Fosters Reading Among Young Black Boys

    Alvin Irby was getting a haircut when inspiration struck. One of his students was also at the barbershop, clearly bored. “He should be practicing his reading,” Alvin thought to himself. That thought led to Barbershop Books. The non-profit leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in Black communities by placing bookshelves, stocked with books geared toward…

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  • From the Director, February 2020

    From the Director, February 2020

    In 1976, President Gerald Ford became the first president to officially recognize Black History Month. He called upon the nation to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Ever since then, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month, and…

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