Last year, a member of our Youth Services staff was reaching out to local businesses to ask them if they’d be interested in supporting the library’s Summer Reading Program. We always receive a warm response from our local business community, but one business owner in particular responded to our request with enthusiasm.
When Brian Tillman, owner of Window World of Central Florida, heard what the library had in store for kids for summer 2021, he pledged $50,000 to support it. The donation helped the library provide incentives to read, learn and participate in virtual events and programs all summer long. That gift helped encourage kids to read more than 1.8 million minutes over the summer, exceeding our community goal of 1 million reading minutes, and check out more than 170,000 books.
“I love kids, I love Orlando, I love Orange County Library System,” Tillman said when asked what inspired him to make such a generous donation. “I participated in summer programs when I was a kid, and I spent more hours than I can count at the library. I love that Window World can help kids have a special summer and get them interested in worthwhile things.”
This year, when we were reaching out to local businesses to support our 2022 Summer Reading Program, Tillman was just as enthusiastic. He once again pledged $50,000 to make the Summer Reading Program a success.
“I want to make it as easy as possible for kids to connect with the library,” Tillman told us, and we are so grateful for his support. When people come to the library, we often hear them express surprise at the quality of what we have to offer. They can’t believe the things they can do at the library at no cost, and they love how invested we are in making sure they have a great experience when they visit a location, attend an event or participate in a reading challenge. Well, I’m here to say that we couldn’t do it if we didn’t have the right ingredients:
First, you need staff that go above and beyond for our customers every day. Second, you have to add customers willing to return to your events again and again. Finally, you need community partners like Window World who make sure we have the resources to go the extra inch for our community.