The most important events in Orange County Library System history are often those that dramatically improve or expand library service:
- November 11, 1921 – Captain Charles Albertson donates his personal library to the city of Orlando.
- November 8, 1923 – Albertson Public Library, the first public library in Orange County, opens.
- August 7, 1966 – Orlando Public Library Opens.
- December, 1973 – Books-By-Mail service launches.
- April 6, 1985 – Orlando Public Library’s 230,000 square foot expansion opens.
- February, 2014 – The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center opens.
It stands to reason, then, that the last 22 months – a time which saw a paradigmatic shift in the way that customers used and engaged with Orange County Library System – also deserves its place in our history. As do our staff, who over nearly two years, worked tirelessly to continue to provide a high level of service, despite the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March of 2020, library staff have presented more than 10,500 virtual events, including 135 cuisine corners, 1,281 storytimes, and not one, but two entire Summer Reading Programs. Our Technology Trainers taught 6,844 computer classes virtually. And our Special Services team, who I’m pretty sure haven’t slept in almost two years, have packaged and delivered more than 847,000 items as part of our free home delivery service.
Beginning in January, all locations will once again offer in-person classes and events. Shortly thereafter, many locations – including Orlando Public Library – will resume Sunday operating hours, lift restrictions on browsing and bring back public seating areas. I know staff and customers alike are excited to see a return to normalcy on the horizon. Before we celebrate, though, I think it’s important to look back and commemorate the herculean efforts from Orange County Library System’s devoted team.