It was this month 100 years ago that the first seeds of Orange County Library System were planted. A retired police inspector from Waverly, New York named Captain Charles Albertson, who spent his winters in Orlando, recognized that the city lacked a proper public library. Over the years, he had amassed a collection of 12,000 books, and he offered to donate them to the city of Orlando, provided the city would build a library to house them.
In November 1921, the city approved this plan, and two years later, the Albertson Public Library opened its doors, and the Albertson collection made up more than half of the books lining its shelves.
Although the library has grown and changed significantly, Captain Albertson is still an important figure for us. We named the Albertson Room at the Orlando Public Library after him, and some of his original books are stored in the display cabinets that line its walls. Some of his collection has been digitized, so the public can browse it online, and we keep a copy of Alberton’s book on his hometown, History of Waverly, New York, and Vicinity, in our collection. Some of his autobiographical notes are shared on Orlando Memory, including some colorful stories from his time spent solving crimes on the streets of New York City.
To mark this centennial anniversary, we’ve partnered with Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company to loan Albertson’s name to a new beer brewed in his honor. Captain Albertson Ale goes on sale at Ivanhoe Park Brewing on November 10, and a portion of the proceeds from sales of those suds will benefit Friends of the Orange County Library System.