On January 7, Orange County Library System kicked off its 100 Year Celebration with a daylong event at the Orlando Public Library that featured a ceremony dedicating the library to the community for the next 100 years, live music and activities for all ages.
The library also announced at the event that, thanks to a $100,000 donation from Sorosis of Orlando Woman’s Club, it plans to introduce mobile services to expand access to library services and materials.
Bookmobile services were suspended in 1979, so the library could focus on building its popular home-delivery service. As Orange County has developed, however, there are a growing number of people who don’t have easy access to one of the library’s 15 locations. The library plans to purchase two book bicycles to bring books and other services into the community, and it also plans to work on reintroducing a bookmobile.
“As our county grows, we need to look for new and innovative ways to deliver services, especially to areas with transportation needs and other challenges,” said Library Director/CEO Steve Powell. “A bookmobile will go a long way toward addressing those challenges. We are grateful to Sorosis of Orlando for this very generous donation.”
The library’s first bookmobile was donated by Sorosis of Orlando Woman’s Club in 1949. Sorosis President Susan Piner said that the club’s future has been uncertain ever since the sale of its building, where the club hosted meetings and events. The club wanted to use its remaining funds to support causes that will help keep its legacy alive.
“Donating funds to help the library realize their plans brings us full circle,” said Sorosis of Orlando President Susan Piner. “It is with great pleasure that the Sorosis of Orlando Woman’s Club presents this check for $100,000 to the library.”
At the January 7 event, Powell was joined by members of Sorosis of Orlando and elected officials, including Rep. Anna Eskamani, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and County Commissioner Nicole Wilson. Mayor Demings read a proclamation from the County that declared January 7, 2023 Orange County Library System Day, and Mayor Dyer read a proclamation from the City of Orlando declaring the date Orange County Library System 100 Year Celebration Day.
Following the ceremony, people enjoyed 1920s music from the Z Street Speakeasy Band, sampled alcohol-free cocktails from the Bandbox, and participated in activities including a virtual reality Albertson Library escape room game created using original blueprints from the building’s construction.
Throughout 2023, the library will host special events to continue its 100 Year Celebration, including author events and activities for children with a 100 Year theme. The celebration marks the fact that the library first opened its doors on November 8, 1923 as the Albertson Public Library.
For more information about the library’s history, or its 100 Year Celebration, visit ocls.info/100.