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  • An view of the exterior of the Orange County Regional History Center.

    History Happens Here!

    Some people think of Central Florida as being very young. Perhaps they think things really got started here around 1971 when a certain beloved mouse took up residence, but our history stretches back more than 14,000 years. Luckily, there is a place where you can learn all about it, the Smithsonian-affiliated Orange County Regional History…

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  • Sign reading: Holocaust in History. Woman standing and looking at exhibit.

    Q&A with the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida

    Did you know that May is Jewish American Heritage Month? It is a time to honor and pay tribute to Jewish Americans who have contributed to the rich history of this country. A history that must be remembered. To learn more, we reached out to Talli Dippold, CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education…

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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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  • The book "Once Upon a Time in Florida" on top of a bronze statue of a man sitting on an alligator, located in Heritage Square in front of the Orange County Regional History Center.

    Once Upon a Time in Florida: Capturing Our State’s Rich History on the Page

    This post is brought to you by our community partners at the Orange County Regional History Center. “Generation after generation, Florida has been a collection of cultures, thoughts, and ambitions brought by people from around the world,” writes the executive director of Florida Humanities, Nashid Madyun, in the foreword to a new book, Once Upon…

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  • Mary Anne Hodel looking at panels on wall depicting the library's history.

    The History of Orange County Library System: Mary Anne Hodel & the New Millennium

    In December of 2001, Orange County Library System was poised at the edge of the 21st century. The retiring director, Dorothy Field, had accomplished a remarkable amount to prepare the library system for the new millennium, including opening three new branches and ensuring public computers with internet access were available to all library users. But…

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  • The History of Orange County Library System: The Storytelling Troupe

    The History of Orange County Library System: The Storytelling Troupe

    Storytelling is an ancient art form that has been around since the beginning of time. Storytellers have always been important in their communities. They are the people who teach life lessons and hold all the stories about their people’s history and culture. Since the inception of public libraries, storytelling has been a crucial offering to…

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  • From the Director, September 2023

    From the Director, September 2023

    While doing some research on what OCLS was like in the 1990s, I learned something new: The first issue of Books & Beyond was published in 1996, which makes the magazine 27 years old.  The first issue was a simple black-and-white newsletter, just four pages long, consisting of a few program listings, a story about…

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  • The History of Orange County Library System: Glenn Miller and the Orlando Public Library Expansion

    The History of Orange County Library System: Glenn Miller and the Orlando Public Library Expansion

    Glenn Miller got his start in libraries at an early age. At 16, he was a clerk at Saginaw Public Library in Michigan, and during college, he worked as a reference assistant. After graduating, Miller became the city librarian in Southfield, MI before he and his family moved to Winter Park, Florida, where he accepted…

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  • The History of Orange County Library System: Home Delivery

    The History of Orange County Library System: Home Delivery

    The Orange County Library System books-by-mail program was initiated in December 1973. At the time, the library’s presence in Orange County consisted of the Orlando Public Library, nine branches and an aging bookmobile. The county population was about 350,000 and development was stretching in all directions. Library Director Glenn Miller wanted to phase out the…

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  • The History of Orange County Library System: Clara Wendel & the Construction of Orlando Public Library

    The History of Orange County Library System: Clara Wendel & the Construction of Orlando Public Library

    On February 1, 1943, Clara Wendel became Orange County Library System’s second library director. Clara was 39 years old when she was selected for the position, and OCLS – still the Albertson Public Library at the time – was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Originally from Illinois, Clara’s family relocated to Gotha, FL in her childhood.…

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Juneteenth Closure

Orange County Library System will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth. The library system will resume normal business hours on Thursday, June 20. View a complete list of holiday closures >