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Meet You There

Meet You There. Stylized logo with a map pin containing an orange. Photos of library staff at outdoor events overlayed on an orange map of Orange County.

As you’ve read in Books & Beyond over the past year, Orange County Library System is committed to breaking down barriers to access, so everyone can take part in what our libraries have to offer. That commitment extends far beyond library walls. In 2024, our goal is to plant deeper roots in the community by bringing library access to those who may not be able to come through our doors physically. We want to meet people where they are. Our newly launched Community Engagement Department plays a big role in this initiative, sending staff to present programs at schools, expos, fairs and community events around the county. They’re also bringing library resources on the road with two book bikes, sponsored by the Sorosis of Orlando Woman’s Club and OUC. In the future, a bookmobile will be unveiled to bring mobile library resources to even more locations. To our current and future customers: We want to meet you there.

It’s no secret that Orange County is growing at a rapid pace, and to meet the needs of residents, OCLS is expanding.

The highly anticipated Horizon West Branch is expected to break ground in early 2024, and we look forward to opening a location in Lake Nona too. In the meantime, our Community Engagement Department is hosting pop-up library events in Horizon West, Lake Nona and other neighborhoods across the county. Because no matter how far away you live from your nearest library location, we want to meet you there.

Libraries are a cornerstone of the community and should reflect the populations they serve. Orange County is culturally rich and diverse, and so are OCLS customers. People from every walk of life should see themselves in library programming and materials, and our staff is committed to making sure our libraries are welcoming to all. Because, no matter what your background is, we want to meet you there.

Whether you are getting a passport for an upcoming trip, meeting with a social worker to connect with resources to improve your life, discovering a new hobby in one of our many programs, seeking training to develop skills for a new job, or learning more about your roots in a genealogy program, Orange County Library System wants to be there for you, every step of the way.

Meet one of our new Community Engagement Department Branch Outreach Specialists, Arthur Ugalde, and take a look at some of the upcoming outreach events we have on the calendar for January. Find an event happening at a location near you. We’ll meet you there!

Storytime on the Porch
Thursday, January 4, 10–11 a.m.
Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland
126 W. Petris Ave., Oakland, FL, 34760

Three Kings Day Celebration with the National Latino Peace Officers Association, Central Florida Chapter
Saturday, January 6, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Azalea Park Elementary School
1 Carol Ave., Orlando, FL, 32807

Horizon West Arts and Crafts Storytime
Wednesdays, January 10 & 24, 11 a.m.–Noon
Waterleigh Community Clubhouse
15572 Marina Bay Drive, Winter Garden, FL, 34787

South Orlando YMCA Open House
Saturday, January 20, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
South Orlando YMCA Family Center
814 W. Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, FL, 32809

Happy Lunar New Year! DIY Lunar New Year Lanterns
Saturday, January 20, 10:30–11 a.m.
Waterleigh Community Clubhouse
16150 Pebble Bluff Loop, Winter Garden, FL, 34787

Oakland Farmer’s Market
Thursday, January 25, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland
126 W. Petris Ave., Oakland, FL, 34760

Meet Arthur Ugalde, Branch Outreach Specialist

Arthur Ugalde, Branch Outreach Specialist, holding library brochures at an outdoor event

Greetings! My name is Arthur, and I am a proud member of the Community Engagement Department here at OCLS. As your friendly neighborhood outreach specialist, I wanted you to know more about me. I’m a huge science nerd with a love of horror movies and video games. When I am not hosting library events around town, I can be found sipping an iced coffee at Stardust Café, playing my Switch and reading the newest celebrity memoir. I have been teaching science and providing outreach throughout our community for a decade and currently work out of South Trail Branch to bring services all over the county.

Some of my proudest outreach moments include the creation of “Library Take Over Day” at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, where every three months library staff provide activities, storytimes and educational fun to all patients and their families for an entire day! I provide a literacy series to the youth at Orange County Homeless Coalition, monthly technology classes at the L. Claudia Allen Senior Center, library trivia nights for the Orlando Youth Alliance, and I can often be found representing the library at events around town. As an outreach specialist, I get to bring everything OCLS has to offer and more to help make our community the best it can be. I wear my library swag with pride! Contact your nearest library to find out how to access your nearest outreach specialist! It might even be me.

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Presidential Preference Primary Election Early Voting at Select Library Locations

Ten OCLS Branch locations will host early voting for the 2024 Early Voting Primary Election from Monday, March 4 to Sunday, March 17 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.): Alafaya, Chickasaw, Fairview Shores, Hiawassee, South Creek, Southeast, Southwest, Washington Park, West Oaks, and Winter Garden. Learn more about early voting at select library locations >