Library system turns the page on a century – Orlando Sentinel

Orlando’s growth really roared in the 1920s, when the land boomed in Florida. And no year shines brighter than 1923, a century ago. When this city changed from a small market town to an interesting city center Outstanding with a new classy building. One of them was the city’s first “skyscraper”. That’s the 11-story Angebilt Hotel, designed by architect Murry S. King for developer JF Ange at 37 N. Orange Ave. It’s now an office tower and looks glamorous.

Another building designed by King in 1923, the Albertson Public Library on Central Boulevard and Rosalind Avenue, has been replaced, but its legacy remains strong in the 14-branch Orange County library system – this year celebrating its 100th anniversary. year

The centennial event kicks off January 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Orlando Public Library with a ribbon cutting and dedicating the new library to the community for the next 100 years, kicking off the year-long celebrations. Activities are scheduled to include music from a local 1920s band, as well as a virtual Albertson Public Library experience (dates can be found on the library system website).

I am especially interested in the opportunity to visit Albertson again with virtual reality. I will confess that one of my vivid memories of the old library was the green drop box that lay outside the library on the curb. for returning books after hours I remember countless times during high school where I yelled at the bookcase for possible last-minute book return. The library system now announces that “Free tuition” and myself in high school cheered.

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Inspiration and the book about Albertson came from two main sources: a group of Orlando women and a former New York City police officer.

Orlando’s Women’s Sorosis Club was formed in 1893 to bring together “a group of women with literary interests,” according to Eve Bacon’s Orlando biography. They took the name “Sorosis” from a Latin word meaning brotherhood. and is credited with initiating Orlando’s first rotating library. starting from the member’s house

Years later, the lending club and library moved to the neighborhood in the Knox-Bacon Building at 34 E. Pine St., where a brass plaque pays homage to these women who gave their books free of charge. pay

When preparations for Orlando’s first public taxpayer library began around 1921, the Sorosis Club Lending Library became part of the core of the original collection. Joining a donation from the famous man above the library door: Capt. Charles L. Albertson, who retired to Orlando in 1913.

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An avid book collector, Albertson has offered to give his personal library — 12,000 volumes — to the city if a building could be built to house them. The book weighs 40,000 pounds and is worth $75,000 according to Bacon’s biography. When the library opened in November 1923, it contained approximately 20,000 books from the collections of Albertson and Sorosis.

Designed by architect Murry S. King for developer JF Ange, the Angebilt Hotel at 37 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando broke the city's height record when it opened a century ago in 1923.

Sadly, because of the institutional divide of the time, Albertson’s doors were closed to members of the black community until the mid-1960s, but the vision of a library for blacks in Orlando opened in the early nineties. at 1920, starting with teachers At Jones High School, then at Parramore Avenue, an informal library builder for the community.

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Others shared the teacher’s vision, including Olive Brumbach, the director who founded Albertson in June 1924, less than a year after Albertson opened in November 1923. News reports. It was stated that the first branch of the library had opened in the church’s monastery on Terry Street. Close to West Church Street.

The new Booker T. Washington branch, named after the great educator who died in 1915, will also have a substation at Jones High School. the story says ready to add that “The library started with more than 1,200 volumes, placed in two study rooms and a reference room.” The children’s area was of particular interest.

Booker T. Washington Branch’s first librarian, Mrs. Eddie Cromartie Jackson, graduated from Morris Brown University in Atlanta, where he initially worked as a teacher during the day and managed the branch after school and on weekends. Her starting salary was $30 a month.

Among Mrs. Jackson’s words: “People can’t travel anywhere. Meet all kinds of people Conversation with men of all thoughts unless he reads a book.” Amen, and this is the next century of creating a learning and experiential environment that fosters growth and development. according to the mission of the library system

Joy Wallace Dickinson can be contacted at [email protected], FindingJoyinFlorida.comor by obsolete mail to Florida Flashback, c/o Dickinson, PO Box 1942, Orlando, FL 32802.

The original portion of the Orlando Public Library facing Rosalind Street at Central Boulevard.  It opened in 1966 and replaced the Albertson Public Library in 1923. The building was expanded in the 1980s to its present size.  Full City Block - Original Credit: Joy Wallace Dickinson


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