From Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
When people think of a library what usually comes to mind is a building overcrowded with a variety of books. Often overlooked, is the number of other services libraries have to offer. The library is not just a place to find books – it’s a place to find it all! The Orange County Library System has so much going on, from computer software classes in every branch to research databases accessible from your home computer, to meetup groups for people interested in activities like photography, coding, and gaming. At the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center at the Orlando Public Library, customers have access to advanced training in audio production, video production, web design and more. You can even learn to knit and sew at the library. Of course, the Orange County Library System offers learning opportunities for the very youngest patrons, who can get ready for kindergarten with fun, educational events and activities, as well as resources to help adult learners, including Career Online High School, which allows people to earn an accredited high school diploma after completing the course. And it’s all free for library cardholders.
The Orange County Library system’s history is embedded into the community. Orlando’s first library, Albertson Public Library was founded in the year 1920 and dedicated in 1966. Then in the 1980’s, it began to expand. Today, the system is composed of 16 libraries interspersed throughout Orange County. The main library is 290,000 square feet and takes up the space of an entire city block! As a whole, the Orange County Library system has more than four million visitors each year. The approximately 350 employees serve more than one million Orange County residents, exclusive of residents of Winter Park and Maitland.
As a public enterprise, the Orange County Library’s mission is to bring “…value to the residents of the district through collections, staff, services and facilities. The Library connects our changing community to the evolving world of ideas, information, and technology. Through continuous innovation, the Orange County Library System will create a well-informed, well-connected community, making Orange County a great place to live, learn, work, and play.”
The Orange County Library system operates on a total of approximately $35.3 million each year. The majority of aid comes from property taxes and is supplemented by state aid, fines, fees, grants and donations. Key expenditures include the cost of operating the library buildings and maintaining the collection of materials. For further details regarding the Orange County Library 2017 Fiscal Budget please see our below charts and visit here.
A hidden gem that Orange County residents may not know about their library is The Dorthey Lumley Melrose Center located at the downtown location. A generous gift from the Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation created the Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation, and Creativity. Ms. Dorthey Melrose -who the center is named after- had a strong interest in emerging technologies. Therefore a few of the different services offered at the Melrose Center include Video production studio, Audio Production Studio, Photography, Simulation Lab, Interactive Media Wall, and a Conference Room. Over 1000 classes are offered across the libraries per month. The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center also offers monthly Orlando Digital Media Design Meetup groups where locals and professionals from the digital media industry can connect right here in Central Florida! Just this past April the Melrose Center hosted a Live Recording Session featuring led by professional singer and songwriter Lauren Carder. These Melrose in the Mix sessions are a series of in-studio recording performances where the audience can take a first-hand seat in observing the process of in-studio recording. There are also opportunities available for volunteers to sign on as recording assistants provided that the volunteer has access to the Live Room or Full Audio Studio Access. This access is granted to library cardholders who have gone through the orientation process to utilize technology in the Melrose Center. Please call 407.835.7323 for more information.
Recognized by the American Library Association as a “Library of the Future”, this program consists of nearly 200 unique curricula ranging from Introduction to Mouse and Keyboard to Creating Web Pages in HTML 5. Some of today’s top software packages are offered, such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, and the Adobe Creative Cloud Complete. All of which are offered free to Orange County residents who own a library card. The 26,000 square foot center can be found on the second floor of the main library.