April 1, 2014


April 13 - 19 is National Library Week, an annual observance to highlight the value of libraries. Libraries have changed dramatically since the American Library Association first celebrated National Library Week in 1958. Who knew that in 2014 you'd be able to test drive a jetliner, record a sound track, use a 3D printer or produce the next great film all at your local library. You can fulfill those creative endeavors and more at the new Melrose Center located on the second floor of the Orlando Public Library. If you haven't checked out this new high-tech hub, please accept our invitation to do so.

Another great way to celebrate National Library Week is to join the Friends of the library and there's never been a better time to do so. The Friends are hosting a membership drive this month. Individuals who join or upgrade their current membership will be entered in a drawing to win great prizes.

The library has a great line-up of programs for people of all ages. As a reminder, all library locations will be closed Sunday, April 20 for Easter. Happy Easter!

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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March 1, 2014

March Means Melrose Mania...

For all you basketball fans out there, March may signal March Madness. With the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity now open, it also means Melrose Mania. Located on the second floor of the Orlando Public Library, Central Florida's new high-tech hub offers audio, video and photo studios plus a fab lab with 3D printers. There are also flight, driving and construction simulators along with a large interactive media wall. Sign up for an orientation session so you can begin using the center's free resources today. It's all you ever imagined and more!

March is also Women's History Month. Our Second Saturday program this month features Paralympics Gold Medalist April Holmes. Although severely injured in a train accident, Holmes did not let that stop her from becoming a world-class athlete. Come hear her amazing story of tenacity and resilience. It's happening Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. at the Orlando Public Library.

Spring break doesn't have to break the bank. OCLS has an appealing line-up of Spring Family Fun programs on tap at multiple locations. Introduce your kids to a Gatorland Wrangler, take in a Mad Science Show and more. Welcome spring!

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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January 31, 2014


The highly anticipated Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity will open to the public on Saturday, February 8 with a ribbon cutting at noon followed by demos and festivities throughout opening day. If you prefer an advance hands-on experience and evening of entertainment, be sure to get a ticket and attend our Preview Gala on Friday, February 7.

While the new center whisks us solidly into the future, we are also celebrating the past.
Our year-long commemoration of What the Dickens continues this month. As we reflect on the contributions of Charles Dickens, OCLS will host a special reading of Hard Times, the 1854 book that highlighted the social and economic pressures of the times. Join us at the Orlando Public Library on Saturday, January 22 at 2 p.m. as actor and former Rutgers playwriting instructor Vondell Richmond takes us back to 19th century England.

Tax season is upon us and OCLS is pleased to again offer AARP Income Tax Assistance at multiple locations beginning this month. If a refund is in your future, it only makes sense to take advantage of this free public service.

Have a great month and please accept my open invitation to explore our new high-tech center at the Orlando Public Library. You're certain to be glad you did.

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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January 2, 2014


Think with the holidays behind us that there's nothing to celebrate? Not so! The Orange County Library System is one of several organizations presenting What the Dickens! The event runs throughout 2014 and will feature the works and wonders of Charles Dickens, one of the most prolific authors of the Victorian era. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater will perform highlights of the Dickens classic The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Even better, if you overspent this holiday season, it's free. And it's all happening on Saturday, January 25 at 11:30 a.m. in Library Central at the Orlando Public Library.

And that's not all. There's more to celebrate. OCLS is putting the finishing touches on the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity. It will open next month and you're invited to visit. The public opening will be Saturday, February 8. For a special advance look at the center and lots on hand-opportunities, there's an opening gala the night before with entertainment, refreshments and more.

Most of us have probably made a New Year's resolution but how many of us will keep it? OCLS is here to help. This month's New Year, New You programs are geared to get your 2014 started off right. Whether it's weight loss, style on a budget or a more organized home you seek, our expert presenters will share solutions for a successful outcome. Programs on these topics and more will be presented at multiple library locations throughout the month.

Finally Wednesday, January 22 is Snapshot Day: A Day in the Life of Florida Libraries! This is a day for our customers to share photos showing how they use the library. Take a photo at any Orange County library on Snapshot Day and tag it on social media with #oclssnapshot14 or e-mail it to oclssocialmedia@gmail.com. What are you waiting for? Snap to it and again, warm wishes for a New Year filled with all good things.

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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December 2, 2013


Does preparing for the holidays seem daunting? Don't let it be. Let OCLS come to the rescue! We have a wide array of library programs at multiple locations to simplify the season. A special program on Holiday Party Foods is being offered at three library locations. Attendees will enjoy samples plus tricks to make holiday entertaining easier than ever. And make sure you keep family and friends protected by joining us for Safety Planning for the Holidays.

All this year, the library has been celebrating Viva Florida 500 to commemorate the milestone anniversary of Ponce de Leon's historic landing on Florida's east coast in 1513. As this significant celebration comes to a close, you won't want to miss the Viva Florida 500 End-of-Year Celebration featuring Hispanic dance performances and more. Hope to see you there. It's happening Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. in Library Central at the Orlando Public Library.

As a reminder, all OCLS locations will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25 for the Christmas Holiday. Normal hours resume on Thursday December 26. Here's wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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November 1, 2013

Discover Florida's Farm-To-Table Movement

This month, the editors from Edible Orlando magazine will team up with Orlando Sentinel Food Editor Heather McPherson to share Faces of Farmers, a delightful celebration of fresh Florida cuisine. Please join us as they share a peek inside the pages of their new cookbook titled Field to Feast. A book sale and signing will follow the program. It's all happening Thursday, November 14 at 6 p.m. at the Orlando Public Library.

With the holidays just around the corner, the last thing you need is to come down with the flu. Arm yourself against illness by joining us for Food as Medicine: Fight the Flu Naturally. This special wellness program will be presented at the Southwest Branch on Monday, November 18 at 2 p.m.

Finally, the Orange County Library System wishes you a Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and many reasons to give thanks. Enjoy the holiday and please remember that OCLS will close at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve, and will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 for the holiday. All locations will resume normal hours on Saturday, November 30. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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September 26, 2013

Happy Halloween and More...

Fall is finally here. It brings some welcome cooler weather along with one of my favorite holidays -- Halloween! And you can count on OCLS to celebrate the holiday in style. We will be offering programs on everything from monster makeup to pumpkin carving.

Our innovative new Body and Books program debuted last month. This unique class combines the health benefits of yoga with the healing powers of literature. If you missed its debut, please head out to our Southwest Branch Library on Monday, October 7. Another installment of the Body and Books series will be offered at 10:30 a.m. that day.

And who doesn't like pizza? You're invited to join us for a Pizza Party with Marco's at the West Oaks Branch on Saturday, October 26 at 2 p.m. October is National Pizza Month so come learn pizza trivia and partake in pizza samples generously provided by Marco's Pizza in Ocoee. Enjoy!

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

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