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From the Interim Director, July 2022

From the Interim Director, July 2022

We are heading into summer with some good news – our 2022 Summer Reading Program is off to a strong start. We announced that we would be offering in-person events this summer, in addition to virtual selections, and the response has been fantastic. Hundreds of kids and their parents are showing up for events at our library locations, and we’ve already had 1,335 kids sign up to participate in our Summer Reading Challenge. For comparison, last year we had 1,984 kids sign up over the summer. We’re almost there, and we still have almost four weeks left to go before Summer Reading Program is over. It’s not too late to take part – visit ocls.info/srp to find out how you can attend library events and read books for a chance to win prizes. 

The other good news we have to share is that on June 9, the Orange County Library System Board of Trustees approved leases for new library branches in both the Lake Nona and Horizon West communities. 

In Horizon West, the library will have a ground lease with Orange County that will allow for the design and construction of a library in the Horizon West Regional Park. The library will design and construct a 20,000 square-foot building and outdoor pavilion that will share parking and outdoor space with recreation and community facilities operated by the county. In Lake Nona, the city of Orlando will design and construct the Lake Nona Branch as part of the new Southeast Government Center to be built on Dowden Road. The facility, which will also feature shared outdoor space and a stage, will be leased to the library upon its completion, with an option to purchase the building at a later date. 

In July 2021, the library announced that it was working with the city and county on a plan to build these branches. The leases signed this week are the culmination of a collaborative effort to work toward a creative solution that would allow the library to fund and construct two branches in the same time frame. It has been a lot of work to get to this point, but the library is thrilled to let Lake Nona and Horizon West residents know that they have libraries on the way. 

We will post updates on the Lake Nona and Horizon West branch projects on the library’s website and social media accounts as they are available.

Steve Powell, Interim Director/CEO & COO, Orange County Library System