101 Things We Love About The Library

Produced for the Orange County Library System by The Pulptown Creative Studio

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We are excited to launch a summer project that you will definitely want to check out.

Over the next few months, we’ll be declaring our love for the Orange County Library System with a series we’re calling: 101 Things We Love About The Library.

Why 101 reasons? To celebrate 101 E. Central Blvd — the headquarters for OCLS.

Kicking things off…

#1 Free library cards: Access to the system is free (!!!!) and takes two minutes to register. Here’s where to sign up or replace your lost card.

#2 Committed to creating an inclusive environment: Earlier this week the library released a statement to reaffirm their opposition to hatred, racism and intolerance. They help engage the public through their Read to Understand Catalog List includes books like Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice, The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World, and a couple dozen additional titles.

#3 Virtual Summer Reading Program: This year the annual program is going virtual. The Summer Reading Program is broken down by age groups and includes reading lists, virtual events, online classes, and more. It started earlier this week, but you still have time to join.

#4 The library is open: As of June 1, all locations are open at 25% capacity for essential services, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

#5 Engaging digital events: The library hosted a Star Wars Readers Theater, a virtual event where kids acted out Star Wars books and learned how to make their own props. Check out their upcoming events.

#6 Free home delivery: Offered as a service since 1974, OCLS will deliver nearly any item available for physical checkout to your mailbox. Requesting home delivery is easier than ordering a pizza – just hit “Request Home Delivery” at checkout. When you’re ready to return, drop off your items at any library location. Thanks to Pulptown reader Adly S. for sharing this tip. 

#7 Shelf Centered podcast: The library added the Shelf Centered podcast to their lineup in April. Think of it as your backstage pass on all things OCLS with features on authors, library staff, book recommendations, and more. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher.   

#8 OCLS Writer’s Group: Have a goal of writing a book this year? OCLS Writer’s Group is your local place to share pieces for critique and discussion. Check the upcoming schedule for virtual meetings and RSVP in advance.   

#9 Interactive Digital Events: The library hosts dozens of digital events every day. Add Shakespeare LIVE! to your calendar for Monday and you’ll get the chance to learn about and perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream


#10 These Three Things: Every Monday, OCLS posts a weekly video that highlights three things you should know about happening this week or general fun tips. It’s one of the ways we stay in the know of what’s happening at the library – and this week’s episode is no different. Btw, you ARE following the library on Insta, right?

#11 Unique partnerships: PBS Books, along with the University of Michigan Penny Stamps Speaker Series, is bringing creative leaders and their stories to various libraries across the country.

#12 Virtual Spanish classes for kids: Like the Hola Amigos class on Monday (Lunes). The class will cover colors, numbers, days of the week, and then some.

#13 Your health is top of mind: If you tune into OCLS’s Instagram on Tuesday, you can watch Chef Yamira Lee Johnson walk you through how to make summer detox drinks. 😋

#14 Biz Kids Club: Budding kid entrepreneurs, ages 9-14, are encouraged to sign up for the instructor-led OCLS’s Biz Kids Club. Participants develop a business plan, design marketing materials, and pitch their biz ideas in the twice-a-week meetings. 

#15 Fun GIFs: Add an OCLS gif to your next Insta story. When you’re creating a story on Instagram – or through the GIPHY app – search “OCLS” to find an array of digital stickers you can send to your book-loving peeps.    

#16 Colorful art: Have you seen the west facade of Orlando Public Library? Light Waves, by artist Christopher Janney, is a glass sculpture made of four colored bands that cover the building with a splash of color. 

#17 Family Zumba: The family that dances together, stays together. Join the library’s Zumba class this Saturday. If Zumba isn’t your jam, check out their upcoming health and wellness classes.

#18 Storyline: Set up some milk and cookies and then give (407) 835-7333 a call. Follow the prompts to hear an interactive story told by professional storytellers – you can choose from fairytales, folktales, or fables in English or Spanish.

#19 Learning spanish: Join the library for Basic Spanish on July 1. The vocab workshop is geared for beginners. 

#20 Making Hot Dog Roasters: Unleash your inner engineer and use the energy of the sun to roast a hot dog using a Pringles can (yes, a Pringles can) plus a couple other materials. RSVP here. 

#21 Citizenship Inspired: OCLS empowers immigrants to be fully prepared to pass the U.S. Naturalization Test by providing help with citizenship questions, practicing the citizenship interview, and offering information about the citizenship process. If you or someone you know would like to sign up, the next four-week session starts tomorrow.

#22 The library’s architecture: “Love that the downtown library is a prime example of Brutalism in architecture. It looks so unwelcoming on the outside but has an instant charm when you go in” Thanks to @winterparkhoodlums for this suggestion. To learn more about the history of the library’s architecture head over to their blog post.

#23 Recipe ideas: Here’s a dinner idea for this week – Rainbow Seafood Stir Fry. Tune in today at 6:30 p.m. for a virtual event with Chef Ha Roda and see how to prepare this tasty meal featuring shrimp, calamari, and peppers.

#24 Book recommendations: Three of OCLS’s Collection Development Librarians put together a list of a dozen book ideas to add to your summer reading list.

#25 Local Wanderer Lapel Pins: The brilliant folks at @secretsocietygoods just launched an amazing lapel pin to celebrate the library’s award-winning culture pass program, Local Wanderer. Order yours online for $10 and rock the pin proudly knowing that proceeds support the Friends of the Orange County Library System.      

#26 Free Lynda.com access: Lynda from Linkedin – the ultimate video-based educational resource to help with just about anything related to software, creative, or business – can be costly. Luckily, with your OCLS Library Card, you get free access.   

#27 Video Production Camp: Alert your kids obsessed with TikTok and Youtube – this five-day virtual video production camp is geared toward kids 13-to-17 years old. Starting July 20, they’ll learn the principles and techniques of creating a video from the professionals at The Melrose Center.  

#28 David Buckley Mural at Alafaya: The library shared this timelapse video of artist David Buckley creating a mural on the wall of the Alafaya Branch. He’s also the artist of the popular mural at the Fairview Shores Branch.

#29 Melrose in the Mix: The live recording series by WUCF highlights local artists recording an album in front of an intimate audience and really highlights OCLS’s Melrose Center space. Jump into AMiAM’s performance – he shares some slick dance moves and also goes into his musical inspirations.  

#30 At-home workouts: Get inspired with at-home workout options through videos on Overdrive and Hoopla

#31 Mobile check out: Not in the mood to talk to anyone while visiting the library in person? Try cloudLibrary. It’s an app that allows your phone to scan books for you to check out. Just be sure to stop by the Fastlane check out station to deactivate your items.

#32 Interview Like a Pro: Hear super practical tips to help you practice and prepare for your next job interview. Register in advance for Tuesday’s session.    

#33 Farm-to-Cup Coffee: Jarrett Johnson of Lineage Coffee will share how he and his coffee-loving crew picks the perfect bean. RSVP for this caffeinated class.

#34 The library’s social worker: Meet Andre Morris, OCLS’s social worker. He assists library patrons one-on-one and helps refer them to experts on affordable housing, SNAP benefits, immigration, healthcare, counseling, and a number of other topics. If you would like Andre’s help, just fill out the request form and expect a response within a couple of business days. In the course of a year, OCLS helps more than 2,000 people with social work.

#35 Caregiver Connect: Connect with other caregivers of toddlers and preschoolers at this weekly Wednesday event. Check out next week’s class.

#36 Orlando Memory: This community-based digital archive by OCLS captures and preserves the stories, images, and memories of our community. With all that is going on right now, we’re living interesting times – wouldn’t you say? Consider submitting an important memory today.

#37 Homeschool resources: OCLS has a number of resources for homeschoolers – live tutoring with brainfuse, science, and math videos on Kanopy, plus even help with homework – check out their full list of resources.

#38 Hurricane checklists: Hurricane season is here. OCLS’s preparedness guide is a comprehensive resource that puts us in good shape prior to being in any cone of uncertainty.

#39 End of summer wrap-up party: The end of summer is near (boo!) but that means we get to celebrate the Summer Reading Program (yay!). RSVP to Saturday’s event and see who’ll be winning this year’s grand prize.

#40 Career advancement resources: Pulptown reader Melissa A. shares: “When I was getting ready to study for the NCLEX, the registered nurse exam, a very resourceful staff member showed me all the free resources they had! I was very surprised at the quality items they had that were easily accessible online. They helped me earn my license. Thanks, OC library!” (🎓 Congrats, Melissa!)

#41 Winning a Community Engagement Award: The library was recently acknowledged for their awesome programming with an award for their Orlando Children’s Business Fair. The kid and teen-focused event allows the youngins to debut their inventions, products, and build marketing strategies during a one-day marketplace.

#42 Friends of the Library: This group works to support the library to enhance resources, innovations, and services for us. Think of them as the library’s biggest cheerleaders. They also sponsor programs and work to encourage gifts, endowments, and bequests for the benefit of the library. You can be a Friend yourself as a member and/or volunteer!

#43 Friends of the Library Bookstore: The bookstore is open for business! Call (407) 835-7494 to make an appointment to browse their selection of books, DVDs, and other items for sale at great prices. Don’t skip their 50¢ carts.

#44 The library supports early voting: You can vote early for the 2020 Primary election at nine of the local library branches through 7 p.m. Sunday, August 16. The participating locations are Alafaya, Chickasaw, Fairview Shores, Hiawassee, South Creek, Southeast, Southwest, Washington Park, and West Oaks.

#45 Genealogy resources: The Genealogy Collection at OCLS is remarkable. Housed at the West Oaks Branch Library & Genealogy Center, the collection offers an extensive collection of genealogy reference books, microfilm collections, genealogy periodicals, and print indexes, including U.S. Federal Census Records and passenger and immigration lists. The library also offers free help in navigating the maze of research through Book a PRO.

#46 Virtual Community Resource Fair: Reaching Out, OCLS’s community resource fair, will be a virtual event this year, happening Saturday. Several local organizations – Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), The Center, Homeless Service Network of Central Florida, Miracle of Love, and United Against Poverty, will come together to tell you how they are helping you and your neighbors. Sign up for the event

#47 Printing options: If your printer is out of ink or you’re tired of hauling to Kinko’s every time you need a copy printed, the library is a good option. They offer black and white copies for 15 cents.

#48 Big Read: This program by the National Endowment for the Arts is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This year, the library is celebrating Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. A virtual event with the author is scheduled for this Sunday with additional events happening through mid-September. Check out the Big Read’s full lineupthat will help inspire conversation and discovery.

#49 Reel to Real Podcast: The podcast, hosted by Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Bruce Hensal and members of the Melrose Center Audio team, dives into the world of music and recording sessions. Check out their latest episode featuring Joe Foglia, a sound mixer who worked on Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and the TV show Scrubs.

#50 Crochet class: Crochet a trivet (for non-crocheters, it’s what you put on your table to protect it from hot, fresh-outta-the-oven dishes) in a virtual class this Friday.

#51 EPOCH: Created by OCLS – Electronically Preserving Obituaries as Cultural Heritage – is a digital hub that allows anyone to create and publish a free obituary. Many of the obituaries feature multiple photos, videos, and audio files to help preserve our community histories.

#52 Ken Melrose: One of the recent tributes on EPOCH features Ken Melrose. Ken was known throughout Central Florida as a business leader, author, and for his philanthropy with the Melrose Family Foundation. It was through the foundation that he helped bring the Melrose Center to life. Learn more about Ken’s legacy here.

#53 OCLS  x StoryCorps: In 2018, Orange County Library System customers and staff had their library memories recorded by StoryCorps. The library then commissioned local sketch artist Thomas Thorspecken to chronicle the event in his unique style. In this touring exhibit at the Chickasaw Branch you can view his art and listen to the corresponding story through September.

#54 Hiawassee Book Club: Jump into the Hiawassee Book Club’s September selection Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. The club will gather virtually on September 24 to chat about this New York Times bestseller.

#55 Learn a new language: The library has several ways for you to learn dozens of languages. We’ll be brushing up on our French, because why not?

#56 Ancestry Library Edition: This fantastic resource is currently available to library users from home. Now is a great time to research your family tree – maybe you have a secret family member living in France you can practice your Français with, non?

#57 Their adorable pups: To celebrate #InternationalDogDay, the library’s staff shared photos of their pups on Instagram. They 🐶 are 🐶 so 🐶 cuuuuuuute.

#58 National Library Card Sign-up Month: No library card? Need your card replaced? No problem. Getting access to the library’s services and opportunities is easy – all you need is a Florida driver’s license or ID number. Jump online and fill out this form or head to any branch close to you.

#60 Libby: One of the most popular features of the library is access to Libby, your all-access digital pass to books and audiobooks. Download the free app to your phone, connect it to your library account, and voila. You can even send books to your Kindle through Libby. 😉

#61 The Wrong Grave discussion: Grab a pumpkin spice latte (yes, we know, it’s early) and settle in to discuss a short story from Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters and learn the real stories behind Orlando’s Greenwood Cemetery. Here’s where to register for tomorrow’s event, another installment of the NEA Big Read.

#62 Hidden Orlando: Join Pulptown’s Katie Johnston (👋 hey, that’s me!) plus Ricky Ly from Tasty Chomps and Brendan from Bungalower as they share their favorite secret spots in Orlando. The convo will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube – head over to the event page on Facebook and hit “get reminder” for Saturday’s 2 p.m. event.

#63 Supporting financial confidence: Girl, get confident about your finances with Money Talks for Women, a virtual event on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Learn about library services that give you goal-oriented tools for saving, investing, and more.

#64 Volunteer opportunities: Orange County Library System offers a number of ways for teens and adults to get involved and help their local library. Perks of volunteering include: Free book smells, meeting new people, and knowing that you’re giving back to a nearly 100-year-old institution. Check out the available volunteer opportunities.

#65 We’re the Same We’re Different: Happening today – We’re the Same We’re Different –  a virtual event for preschoolers. Read stories, sing songs, and enjoy a craft that celebrates the diversity of the world. Register for the 11 a.m. event.

#66 A book club for podcasts: Join the Southwest Podcast Discussion Club where you’ll listen to a list of podcasts beforehand and then come together to chat about them. This month’s theme is Freedom of Speech – check out the podcast listening list and register for the Sept. 15 event.

#68 A Talk with Fredrik Backman: OCLS has teamed up with Writer’s Block Bookstore to have a chat with Fredrik Backman, author of Anxious People. Moderator Edward Booker will sit down with the bestselling author for the Sept. 15 event. Listen to their convo for free, or pick up a signed copy of his book and support your local bookstore.

#67 The secret is out: Sign up your lower and upper elementary students to hear more about the vital role trees play in our environment. Secret Life of Trees is a virtual event on Sept. 16. Bonus: This event also includes a craft, so have paper, a pencil, and paint nearby.

#69 Oliver Jeffers livestream: Catch a livestream tomorrow from Orlando Museum of Art as the library tags along on a tour of the exhibit Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books. You can check this award-winning artist, illustrator, and writer’s books from the library.

#70 For the love of library cards: Of course you love your library card, and so does Special Projects Coordinator for Growing Bolder Amy Sweezey. Read why she loves her card on page 5 of this month’s digital edition of Books & Beyond

#71 Melrose Film Festival: Experience this year’s Melrose Film Festival – like everything else in 2020 – from the comfort of your couch. This year’s screenings will premiere this Friday at noon and will remain accessible through Sunday, Sept. 27. Have your voice heard and cast a vote for the Audience Choice award, with full details to come on the Melrose Film Festival event page.  

#72 Ongoing conversations: The Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College will lead a conversation with local law enforcement and protesters in order to understand the complexities of racial injustices in our community. Register for the Sept. 23 event

#73 Hispanic Heritage Month: The library is celebrating Hispanic Heritage in a number of ways this month. Tonight, learn how to make tostones and on Tuesday, dance it out bilingual style to original and folk tunes in Spanish and English.

#74 Hispanic Heritage month reading list: Check out these six Latinx-focused books to read this fall. Now is an ideal time to pick up a new-to-you book and explore the varied, complex experiences of Latinx authors and the characters they’ve brought to life in these stories. 

#75 Register or update your voter registration: Prepare for this year’s election and register to vote or update your voter registration. You can do this at any OLCS location – just ask a staff member for the forms and they’ll get you all set. 

#76 Art Week: Art peeps rejoice – this week is for you! We’re talking classes on paper mache creatures, learning music theory, timed drawing challenges, virtual improv, and dozens more classes. Check out the full Art Week lineup.    

 #77 Start a garden: Fleet Farming will lead a class all about gardening. On Sept. 30, learn the basics of setting up a family garden, get interactive ideas for youth involvement, and how to keep your garden growing this Fall. Green thumbs not required. 

#78 Japanese Book Binding: Practice bookbinding and create your own books using traditional Japanese stab stitching techniques. Register for Friday’s event.

#79 Trick or Treat Safe Zone: Beginning tomorrow and running all through October, you can pick up Halloween treats and crafts at any OCLS location. In addition to the in-person goodies, you can check out the full lineup of digital offerings this year. Where else can you find Hocus Pocus trivia and Halloween-themed nail art? If you head into the library next month, have fun with it and dress up as your fave literary character. Bonus points if you dress up, take a pic, and tag @pulptown and @OCLS on Instagram.    

#80 Spooktober Reading Challenge: Continue the fall celebrations with a spoOoOoOOoky ready challenge for adults. Sign up at Beanstack to participate and be eligible to win prizes. 

#81 We Remember Guides: The wonderful librarians of OCLS create collections celebrating the lives of those who have recently passed. Explore the collections of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and actor Chadwick Boseman

#82 Resume help: Register for this Oct. 13 workshop to help elevate your job app with best practices in writing a resume and cover letter. Even if you aren’t currently looking, this will be a good refresher.   

#83 Virtual Library Card: This type of library card is a great option for Orange County Public Schools educators and currently enrolled students. A benefit of this type of card is that no fines or fees will accrue on your account — that’s because this type of account doesn’t provide checking out of library materials or registration for classes or events.

#84 #DrawThisInYourStyleChallenge: The library wants to see your creative drawing skills with their #DrawThisInYourStyleChallenge. How would you draw their beloved mascot Squirt? Sketch the orange character, add the hashtag, and tag @OCLS on Insta. Tag @pulptown too. 

#85 Write a novel: November is National Novel Writing Month. On Oct. 11, join the library for NaNoWriMo 101 to learn tips and tricks to reach the goal of writing 50,000 words. (Fun fact: NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.)

#86 Explore the Andes Mountains: Bring your preschool age hiking buddy along for this Peru storytime and craft adventure. On Oct. 9, celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and learn about one of the world’s longest mountain ranges. Pack your favorite craft supplies. Hiking boots optional. 

#87 Paper Mola Panamanian Folk Art: When you get back from your trip to South America (see above) keep your bags packed for this virtual adventure to Central America. On Oct. 13, explore the textile art of the Kuna Indians with a craft tutorial. Don’t forget to send Pulptown a postcard. 

#88 D&D with the Library: On Oct. 12, throw some digital dice and connect with local fans of Dungeons & Dragons. There are only a couple of spots left, so if you’re a n00b or a Dungeon Master, register now. 

#89 Early voting locations: If you are still working on your General Election voting plan, consider casting your ballot at one of the library’s participating branch locations. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 through Nov. 1, you can visit one of the library’s 10 participating locations and vote. Full voting info can be found on the library’s site. Even if you have your voting plan figured out (congrats!), take a screenshot of this and text it to a friend or share it on social media.     

 #90 Guided collections: We get it, with over 1.7 million items in the library’s collection, there’s a lot to uncover. Lucky for you, they have a number of themed digital collections to help showcase their offerings to visitors that may need a little guidance. You can always find these collections on the library’s homepage. This month, they are featuring all things Halloween, and yes, there are a couple of R.L. Stein books featured.  

#91 Mayor Buddy’s Book Club: On Oct. 21, celebrate the completion of the book club’s latest reading – The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton. Join Mayor Buddy’s Book Club and be a part of their next reading. 

#92 DIY Film Festival: If you could create your own film festival, what kind would you create? This month, the library put together a DIY Film Festival featuring author biopics. All selected films are available for streaming or via DVD.

#93 John Robert Wolfe’s mobiles: Three of OCLS’s locations feature the mobile sculpture work of local artist John Robert Wolfe. You can find John’s work at the library’s Winter Garden, Alafaya, and the main branch downtown. John has been a resident of Central Florida for over 60 years and primarily works in fabricated steel and aluminum. 

#94 Book a PRO: Need professional help for writing a grant? Have questions on local history? Want another perspective on a genealogy project? Book an appointment request with one of OCLS’s professionals through Book a PRO.

#95 Bookish Instagram recommendations: Definitely check out this list of 10 book-ish Insta accounts. The roundup includes accounts that highlight women in the world of literature, a couple that focuses on kids, and one that does food and book pairings. Delish.  

#96 Lecture on the Ocoee Massacre: A History of the Ocoee Riot of 1920 is a virtual program on Monday that will be presented by Dr. Marvin Dunn, author, and FIU Professor Emeritus. Join the virtual event to learn about this shameful moment in Florida’s history on its 100th anniversary. 


#97 Free WiFi access: OCLS provides free WiFi access to all visitors during their normal operating hours. Just select OCLS-Guest as your wireless network on your laptop or phone and you’re set. The library also has hundreds of computers across their 15 locations available for use. 

#98 Native American ghost stories: Tonight at 9 p.m., author Christopher Balzano explores tales from different Native American tribes and compares them to the ghost stories the settlers told years later. 

#99 The Birth of the American Horror Film: Tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., author and historian Dr. Gary Rhodes will dive into the roots of the American horror film all the way back to colonial Salem. If you’re a fan of scary movies, definitely add this to your cal. 

#100 Trivia Fundraiser: On Nov. 13, Friends of the Orange County Library System are partnering with Curtis Earth Trivia to present an evening of virtual trivia. Play on your own or in teams of up to six while supporting the library.

#101 The OCLS staff: To be honest, we could probably build an entire list on the 101 things we love about the OCLS librarians and staff — especially looking back over the past few months. 

The OCLS team has risen to meet the needs of our community in ways both big and small. 

A couple of examples include Access to materials through their free home delivery service, a number of engaging virtual classes and events, and a commitment to creating an inclusive environment.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know the library will be there and ready to serve. 

Feeling inspired? You can help the library – and your community – and volunteer at the library

➡️ What do you love about the library? What are some of your favorite resources, programs, or groups? Have an amazing tip you wanna share? Submit your thoughts and we’ll add them to our list above.

By Pulptown Creative Studio
The Pulptown Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.