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Recent News from the Winter Park Public Library. You can also follow us on Facebook at Library.

Free Tax Assistance at the WPPL


Free Tablet Computer Lending at the WPPL
WPPL to Launch Central Florida’s First Public Library Bicycle Lending Program  -
February 10, 2014
Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer's Annual Report to the Library Board of Trustees - January 14, 2014
New York Times Historical Archive Service Discontinued -
November 15, 2013
New Service: WPPL Residents Can Borrow from Rollin’s Library - October 25, 2013
Winter Park Library Board Names Shawn Shaffer as Library's Next Director - March 21, 2013
Library Director Announces Plan to Retire

Director Bob Melanson's Annual Report to the Board of Library Trustees - January 8, 2013

Free Tax Assistance at the WPPL - February 5, 2015

The Winter Park Public Library and AARP are once again partnering to provide free tax preparation assistance to people of all ages this tax season.

AARP's Tax-Aide volunteers, trained and certified by the IRS, will provide personal tax return preparation assistance beginning Tuesday, February 5 and continue every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. through April 15 in the Library’s second floor Literacy Training Room. Assistance is available for basic tax forms including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and other standard schedules. No appointments are accepted; people will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no age requirement or limit to use this service. Required documents include: a photo I.D., last year's tax return, and a social security card for each person being claimed on the return. Call our Reference librarians at 407-623-3300, ext. 103 for more info about the service.



Free Tablet Computer Lending at the WPPL

The Winter Park Public Library now offers free lending of tablet computers to Winter Park residents who wish to use them for reading, news, games, photos, or to try before they decide which they would prefer to buy. The iPad minis and Kindle Fires can be borrowed for up to a week at a time. The tablets were paid for by a grant from the Pauline H. Mossman Winter Park Fund of the Winter Park Community Foundation funds at the Central Florida Foundation, one of more than 400 charitable funds established since 1994.

Residents will need to bring their Winter Park Public Library card and a photo ID. All tablets are completely restored after each checkout, so the borrowers’ personal information and privacy are secure.

WPPL librarians are available to conduct one-on-one, private training sessions to assist patrons in using or downloading to them. For more about this new service or to schedule a training session, contact 407-623-3300, ext.3.

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WPPL to Launch Central Florida’s First Public Library Bicycle Lending Program - February 6, 2014

The Winter Park Public Library joins the effort to make Winter Park the healthiest community in Florida when it launches its Checkout Bikes program Tuesday, February 11. The ribbon cutting will take place at 11:45 a.m. near the newly installed bicycle shelter on the south side of the library’s building, 460 E. New England Ave. The WPPL is the only Central Florida library loaning bicycles to its borrowers.

In addition to a ribbon cutting, the event will include a short ceremonial “first ride” of the bicycle that will include vice mayor Sarah Sprinkel, assistant city manager Michelle del Valle and members of the Library Board of Trustees.

“This is our way of give our residents another free, convenient way to be mobile, to get moving and to be healthy,” said Library Programs Coordinator Ruth Edwards. “Whether someone wants to simply ride up to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning or spend a day riding on the Cady Way trail, we want to offer them that opportunity.”

The library’s Checkout Bikes program will initially stock seven cruiser-style bicycles and one tandem bike that can be checked out from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The bikes will be free to all resident card holders of the WPPL and will come with a basket, lock and helmet.

The shelter protecting the bikes from sun and weather resulted from the work and fundraising efforts of Winter Park teen, Andrew Stine, who chose the library as the beneficiary of his service project on his way to becoming a third-generation Eagle Scout.

“I wanted to be able to give back to this wonderful organization, and I knew that people would be able to enjoy the results of my project for years to come,” Stine said.

The bicycles and accessories were paid for with grant money from the Healthy Central Florida initiative of the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital. Additional support and bicycle maintenance is being provided by local cycling retailer Breakaway Bicycles.

The Winter Park Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing the highest quality library materials, programs and services to those living in Winter Park and the surrounding communities. Founded in 1885 with a few dozen titles stored on the front porch of an early resident, the Library has evolved based on residents' changing needs for information, education and entertainment. It now provides books, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, music, videos, video games and software, as well as downloadable materials for use on smart devices and computers. In addition it offers hundreds of programs each year for patrons of all ages. For more information about the WPPL, visit or call 407-623-3300.


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Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer's Annual Report to the Library Board of Trustees - January 14, 2014

As I reviewed past annual reports I noticed Bob started his by acknowledging our beginnings.

This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the generations who have come before us:

-- from the women who started it on Miss Lamson’s front porch,

-- from those who gave dimes and nickels to build the first one-room building on Interlachen Avenue,

-- from residents throughout the decades who have shown their support and appreciation by donating to ensure that Winter Park has a wonderful library today,

-- and from the many staff, volunteers and members Board of Trustees who gave and give of their time, talents and treasure to assure a wonderful Library for tomorrow.


I appreciate the vision of those who saw the need for a public lending library for the people of Winter Park, and those whose varying visions have propelled the library from the front porch to the horizon of the future where we stand today. 


A significant chapter of the Winter Park Public Library’s history closed this year with Bob’s retirement. In his 25-year year tenure he brought technological innovations to the library, added a third floor and help build a sizable endowment. He left an important legacy and stepping stones on which I have been able to build.


When I came on board last May, it became evident that the economic downturn that started in 2007 had taken its toll on the WPPL. Out of necessity, so much of the organizational thinking and processes had focused on maintaining the status quo with the pared down staff and downsized resources. My goal has been to engender an organizational culture that is patron and community-focused, aiming to be as relevant, user-friendly and accessible to them as possible.


In 2013 we implemented the technology funded by the “Innovation 127” campaign, an effort started in 2012 and which was generously supported by the City of Winter Park over and above their usual funding for operations. The implementation of “Innovation 127” brought new RFID technology to the WPPL, allowing us to fully implement self-service circulation. The five new Self-Serve Stations empower patrons to avoid lengthy lines by checking out and renewing their own materials as well as paying fines with a credit card. Additionally, it honors many patrons’ desire for greater privacy with regard to their library accounts. To further support our Self-Serve goal, we made it possible for patrons with items on hold to retrieve their own items by moving the Hold Shelf to a patron-accessible area.


At the beginning of the year, about 14% of our circulation was Self-Serve; today it is over 50%. This has allowed us to consolidate circulation activity to one service point, ending circulation services on the second floor. This change has freed the Youth Services staff to spend their time helping children with homework, literacy skills and allowed them to be able to spend more time helping their enthusiastic and reluctant readers to find their next great read.


In response to patron feedback, we changed our circulation procedures to give them more time to enjoy their books, audiobooks and music and increased the number of items they can put on hold.  


These changes in technology and service points led us to our next stepping stone, a shift in spaces.  Public Service Desks were altered to serve patrons better. A simple move of a desk on the second floor has made the desk much more visible allowing patrons to find staff to help them. The Reference Desk was moved to a corner where staff and patrons can better concentrate on receiving the information help they need. Collections were shifted for easier access and consolidated so that whenever possible, like items are all in one place, rather than require patrons go on a scavenger hunt. We made the third floor a quiet space for those who are studying, working on projects, etc. We moved public computers to a quiet room on the third floor for those who found the noise of the circulation desk, café and people coming and going too noisy for their work. When meeting rooms aren’t in use, we have offered those spaces for small groups or tutors who come to the Library to work.


After 10 years of operating the Library’s Lifelong Learning Institute, we are transitioning to a different programming model. The landscape of learning opportunities has changed greatly over the last decade and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are flattered indeed. Many community organizations have emulated our original model and now that those needs are being filled for the community, we are conducting surveys and focus groups to determine what the next generation of community-centric learning opportunities will look like.


Celebration, our annual donor event, was relocated to the Library this year. It was a perfect end to our first-ever compressed Annual Fund drive which ran February to April and exceeded the goal of $145,000. The compressed campaign was designed to avoid “ask fatigue” in donors as well as to avoid intruding on other Library fundraising effort throughout the year.


As staff reviewed the 2013-2014 budget, we decided to put greater effort into acquiring grant money or other targeted funds to fulfill needs and innovations the general operating budget could not support. To this end, we applied for and received a grant from the Winter Park Fund of the Central Florida Foundation that funded the purchase of 20 tablet computers, some of which will be used in our training efforts and others will be checked out to patrons for home use beginning in February 2014. Also starting in early 2014 will be a bicycle checkout program funded by a grant from the Healthy Central Florida initiative. Our year-end fundraising effort was gear toward replacing our broken and too-small drive-up bookdrop with a durable new model that will also prevent breakage of audio-visual materials by separating them from books.


Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, Board members and staff, we again enjoyed another successful Bash for Books fundraising and friend-raising event, which raised over $54,000 in support of the Library. It was also another banner year for the Friends of the Winter Park Public Library and their New Leaf Bookstore, which generated over $62,000 selling 100 percent donated books, music and movies by a devoted team of volunteers.


We gained a new neighbor this year when The Alfond Inn opened in August. In partnership with the New Leaf Bookstore, we stocked their library. They helped us host a very successful lunch for the Lamson League, and we are looking forward to an amazing Books and Cooks at “the neighbor’s house” in March of this year. 


We worked with our other neighbor, Rollins College and forged a new reciprocal agreement for the benefit of both institutions. We began including Rollins, Maitland and Orange County libraries in staff development and programs.


We had our first all Staff Development Day. The staff developed our first-ever customer service philosophy, which created goals for service to patrons and also for service to each other as staff members. 


Most importantly this year, the Board of Trustees had a strategic planning retreat.  We took a day to evaluate what the library does, reflected on the Board’s role and developed a new mission, a new vision and strategic goals for the next three years.


The stepping stone from this planning session was a unanimous decision to pursue a new library building for the 21st century. The Board has taken this assignment seriously as has begun to visit other libraries, share information about new public libraries and strategically think about what Winter Park residents need for their public library of the future. 

As we look ahead to 2014, many innovations are already on the horizon. In the next few weeks we will check out bicycles, iPads and Kindle Fires. Books and Cooks, Celebration and Bash for Books will be huge successes this year. I am looking forward to the Valedictorian luncheon where we honor our future leaders. In 2014, you will see us out in the community more -- offering services to residents, telling our story and just being present so that all residents will know of the many services, programs and materials the Winter Park Public Library offers.

None of the present or future accomplishments would have been possible without our dedicated Board of Trustees and your time, talent and treasure. Thank you for choosing me to lead this library into the future. I hope you all feel it is your public library, because it is.


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New York Times Historical Archive Service Discontinued

We are sorry to announce that we have discontinued our subscription to the online New York Times Historical Archive and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our users. When examining all of the premium online research tools we provide, the NYT Historical Archive had very few searches while being one of the more expensive research tools we offer -- so the difficult decision was made to cancel the service.  The good news is that thanks to our new reciprocal use agreement with Rollins College's Olin Library, Winter Park residents can get free access the NYT Historical Archives from computers at Olin Library after becoming reciprocal borrowers. For more about reciprocal borrowing with Rollins, see below.

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New Service: WPPL Residents Can Borrow from Rollin’s Library - October 25, 2013

Do you ever need a book that is more academic or in-depth than what we usually order for our collection?  Now all Winter Park resident card-holders at the WPPL have FREE borrowing privileges at the lovely Olin Library on the Rollins campus. All you have to do is present your current WPPL library card and a photo ID to the Olin Library Circulation Desk and you will receive a year of access to its amazing collection.

Things to know:
- You can check out books and DVDs
- You must return Rollins materials directly to Rollins
- Fines and lending periods for Rollins materials are set by Rollins, so double check.
- Olin Library is on the Rollins campus near the Campus Center on the lake
-  Our agreement with them doesn't cover their databases, interlibrary loan, downloabable materials or other services -- those you can receive for free from us.

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Winter Park Library Board Names Shawn Shaffer as Library's Next Director

After a months-long search, the Winter Park Public Library's Board of Trustees has hired Shawn Shaffer of Elmwood Park, Illinois, to be the 16th director in the library's 128-year history. She will take the reins starting May 14.

"I am honored to join the Winter Park Public Library, and look forward to the exciting opportunities and challenges ahead," Shaffer said. "I respect the WPPL's innovative and hard-working staff as well as the dedicated and supportive Board. We will work collaboratively to ensure a library of excellence for the community."

The Library's Board of Trustees reviewed applications from across the nation and involved a search committee that included community representatives.
Library Board President Daniel Butts voiced his confidence in the process and selection by saying "We spent several months evaluating candidates from all over the country, and Shawn is the best possible choice to lead Winter Park's library as it enters its new chapter," said Daniel Butts, president of the Library Board of Trustees.

Butts also said Shaffer's decades of experience in the ever-changing library world and her role as a university-level instructor of library science will benefit the community.

"I am impressed by her wealth of experience, her innovative mindset and her proven ability to mentor and empower staff," he said. "I believe the patrons of our library will be well served by her leadership."

During Shaffer's tenure as director of Elmwood Park Public Library, the number of materials checked out each year more than doubled, and she greatly increased the library's programming for children and adults. She encouraged her staff to innovate and imagine new possibilities, including incorporating cutting-edge technologies into library services.

Shaffer will replace current Library Director Bob Melanson, who is retiring after two and a half decades of service.

"After 25 years as the Director of the Library, it is time to retire and let someone else have all the fun," Melanson joked. "But seriously, I am very proud to have led a team of staff, Board and other volunteers in the accomplishment of keeping this Library relevant to its community in the 21st
century. I can only hope the next chapter of my life is as rewarding."

The Winter Park Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing the highest quality library materials, programs and services to those living in Winter Park and the surrounding communities. Founded in 1885 with a few dozen titles stored on the front porch of a local home, the Library has evolved based on residents' changing needs for information, education and entertainment. It now provides downloadable materials for use on smart devices, books, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, music, videos, video games and software. In addition it offers hundreds of programs each year for patrons of all ages. For more information about the WPPL, visit or call 407-623-3300.


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Annual Report to the Board of Library Trustees by Director Bob Melanson -  January 8, 2013

The start of a new year is traditionally the time to reflect on the Library’s past accomplishments and challenges.  But this year, I’d like to instead focus on the Library’s future.

This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the generations who have come before us—from the women who started it in 1885 on Miss Lamson’s front porch, from those who gave dimes and nickels to build the first one-room building on Interlachen Avenue, from residents throughout the decades who have shown their support and appreciation by donating to ensure that Winter Park has a wonderful library today, and from the many staff, volunteers and members Board of Trustees who have given of their time, talents, and treasure to assure a wonderful Library for tomorrow.

The Library is able to build on a very strong tradition.  We have an incredibly devoted staff.  We are financially sound with an endowment that is the envy of many non-profits.  We have a strong tradition of community support, both financial and through volunteer efforts.  We have a great relationship with City elected officials and staff who understand the benefit of the Library to the community. And we have a strong tradition of excellence that will hopefully continue.

The near and long term future provides many opportunities to build on our past successes. The first is obviously to choose a new Director who can balance the many aspects of the position: running a small business, navigating City politics, working with an administrative Board, boosting the morale of the staff, recognizing and implementing community Library needs, and seamlessly integrating new technologies into the traditional role of the public library.

Another pressing opportunity is to work with the Board to develop and approve a new strategic plan. Our current plan expires September of this year.  A new plan will need to be in place by September 30 in order to receive state aid in 2014. This gives the new Director an opportunity to immediately put his or her imprint on the Library’s services and collections. 

A third opportunity is the technology systems for both internal operations and the public’s use need to be upgraded and integrated into existing services and collections.  This can also hopefully aid in an analysis of the efficiencies of staffing.

But the primary intent must be to accomplish our Mission which is to improve the quality of life of Winter Park residents by responding to their changing needs for information, education, and entertainment. As one of the top libraries in the state, it is imperative that future administrations and Boards anticipate the changing needs of the Library’s users and stay ahead of them.

Critical to the Library’s ability to do these things is adequate funding.  We have a great relationship with the City Commission and staff. The Library is financially sound with a strong endowment of both restricted and unrestricted funds. We weathered the great recession fairly well in terms of providing services and collections. The endowment has recovered much of its lost principal. But additional funding is needed for technology, staffing, and collections in both paper and electronic formats. 

The foundation is strong. The future is bright. The opportunities are endless.

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Library Director Announces Plan to Retire

After two and a half decades of service, Winter Park Public Library Director Bob Melanson has announced to the Library's Board of Trustees his plan to retire no later than December 31, 2013. The announcement was intended to give the Library Board ample time to conduct a national search for a successor.

“Directing the Winter Park Public Library for almost 25 years has been a great opportunity for me, both personally and professionally," Melanson said. "We have built a library that is responsive to and reflects the needs of this community for information, education and entertainment. I look forward to working with the Board over the next 18 months to find the very best replacement so that this wonderful Library can continue to grow."

Library Board of Trustees President Daniel Butts said the Board will immediately mobilize a search committee to begin the process of finding the next director.

"We are grateful to Bob for his many years of excellent service, and for giving us the time we will need to conduct a careful and thorough search for the right new leadership." Butts said.

Under Melanson's leadership, the Library has seen tremendous growth and innovation including: the migration from a paper-based card catalog to a digital catalog; the switch from check out stamps to computer-based circulation; a major facilities expansion that added the third floor; cultivation and growth of the Winter Park History Collection; the addition of a dedicated Young Adult Area and librarian; the offering of Internet access and resources to the community; advances in Library fundraising; the establishment of the Library's adult education arm, the Lifelong Learning Institute; and the offering of downloadable materials.

"I am proud of what I have accomplished here," Melanson said. "But mostly I appreciate the friendships I have made within the Winter Park community that I will carry with me long into retirement.”

The Winter Park Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing the highest quality library materials, programs and services to those living in Winter Park and the surrounding communities. Founded in 1885 with a few dozen titles stored on a local front porch, the Library has evolved based on residents' changing needs. It now provides books, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, music, videos, video games and software, as well as downloadable materials for use on smart devices. In addition, it offers hundreds of programs each year for patrons of all ages. For more information about the WPPL, visit or call 407-623-3300.


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Text of the Library Director's Annual Report to the Library Board of Trustees - posted January 11, 2012

The start of a new year is traditionally the time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and challenges and hopes for the future. This is the result of my reflections.

This Library is a gift to the Winter Park community from the generations who have come before us:
-- from the women who started it on Miss Lamson’s front porch,
-- from those who gave dimes and nickels to build the first one-room building on Interlachen Avenue,
-- from residents throughout the decades who have shown their support and appreciation by donating to ensure that Winter Park has a wonderful library today,
-- and from the many staff, volunteers and members Board of Trustees who gave and give of their time, talents, and treasure to assure a wonderful Library for tomorrow. 

Each year when I sit down to review the Library's annual accomplishments, I wonder what the big picture will look like. And each year I am amazed by what we were able to accomplish. In 2011, our partnership with the City remained a strong one. The City continued funding of the Library, increasing their support by enough to give the staff a raise for the first time in three years.  They replaced the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system on the third floor and will be replacing part of the unit that cools the first and second floors in 2012.  They also repaired and repainted the stairwell walls and planted a number of oak trees in the parking lot.

Fundraising was reasonably good.  Thanks to Jan Walker's leadership and the efforts of the Library Council members, we had a very successful Bash for Books fundraiser. Endowments increased through additional gifts and increases in the market. Thanks to Chele Hipp for starting the Children’s Fund Endowment. The Annual Fund, while short of its goal, still showed some success in that we added new donors and realized increases in online giving. We had two matching grant opportunities -- thanks to Bruce Douglas for providing the matching funds for the downloadable media program and to the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation for the matching funds that went to the annual fund and paid for crucial computer hardware and supplies. Membership in "The Heritage Society," our organization for planned and major donors increased. And the Teen Advisory Board, our philanthropists in the making, again did their "stuck on the Library" fundraiser.

Two new services were added and several existing services were enhanced as set forth in our long range plan.  We added downloadable books and audiobooks that can be accessed on e-readers, tablet computers, smartphones, laptops and other smart devices.  We also added Mango, a foreign language learning service that offers hundreds of online lessons in 34 languages.  In addition, our Winter Park History & Archives Collections continues to digitize individual collections.

Along with the improvements the City made to the building, a grant from the Winter Park Community Foundation funds of the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. will provide ergonomically correct chairs for our Community Room as well as install a wireless media system to enhance programming capabilities.

While use of the library remains high after the unprecedented increases of the past several years, we continued to eliminate staff positions --- which is somewhat stressing remaining staff as they pick up the duties of the eliminated positions.  But work goes on and training of staff is important so that they keep their skills up to date.  Many of the staff are taking advantage of free online workshops offered by the state library and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.  In addition, our Lifelong Learning Institute offered instruction to staff on downloadable media, infectious disease awareness, and sensitivity training when dealing with aging patrons.

Several additional highlights of the year include:
- the transition from a Board Nominating Committee to a Board Governance Committee;
- the start of the Lamson League, a group launched to harness the creativity and energy of women in the community as we move the Library into the future;
- an educational program for young readers by children’s author Edward Bloor.

What will 2012 bring?  With nine new Trustees coming on the Board, hopefully some of the longer serving Trustees will step up to the plate and increase their commitment by taking a leadership role.  The staff continue to evaluate the impact of digital media and other technology on how we offer services and collections and what impact those changes have on our space needs. 

But our primary intent is to accomplish our Mission: improving the quality of life of Winter Park residents by responding to their changing needs for information, education, and entertainment.

Delivered by Library Director Bob Melanson to the Library Board of Trustees on January 10, 2012


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Winter Park Electric Offers Library Patrons A Free Way to Monitor Electric Usage

      WINTER PARK, Fla., an internationally recognized ICMA Excellence Award winner ) – Do you ever wonder how much electricity your microwave, computer, heater or refrigerator uses?  Wonder no longer. On Wednesday, February 2, at noon, during the city’s Utilities Advisory Board meeting, the city will donate 10 electlllric usage monitors to the Win ter size="2" Park Public Library for patrons to check out for home use. This meeting will be held at the Winter Park Welcome Center located at 151 West Lyman Avenue.

     Just like a book or a DVD, patrons of the library will be able to “check-out” the electricity-usage monitors to actually see which of their home appliances are costing them the most.  The monitors are easy to use. Simply plug the meter into the wall, plug the appliance into the meter, enter some electricity price information, and presto! – the large LCD monitor shows how much power the appliance is using and how much it costs!

     “Many of us never really think about the appliances we use and how much they cost to operate. We are providing these monitors to help show our customers areas where they can become more energy efficient and reduce energy costs,” explained Jerry Warren, Electric Utility Department Director. “This is all part of the city’s overall effort to encourage energy conservation among our customers.”

     Beginning February 4, the monitors will be available for check-out for a two-week period at the Winter Park Public Library located at 460 East New England Avenue.  For more information on the availability of the electric usage monitors, please call the library at 407-623-3300. To learn more ways to become energy efficient, visit the Electric Utility Department page on the city’s Web site at > Departments > Electric Utility.

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Library Now Home to James Gamble Rogers II Collection

     We are thrilled to announce that we are now the home of the James Gamble Rogers II Collection, which is housed in our Winter Park History & Archives. This incredible collection will contain the plans to 67 of Roger's buildings, including Casa Feliz and the Barbour Apartments on Knowles Avenue, as well as almost 200 books from his personal library.

    "Getting this collection is not only an incredible accomplishment for the library," said Library Archivist Barbara White, "it's also a wonderful benefit for the people of Winter Park to have the drawings of some of the city's most beloved buildings by its most famous architect preserved right here in their own community."

     The new collection showcases the work of James Gamble Rogers II, an architect born in 1901, who started his own firm in Winter Park in 1935 and practiced well into his 80s. His best- known buildings include the Florida State Supreme Court Building in Tallahassee and Rollins College's Olin Library, which he drew himself at age 85.

     In Winter Park, Rogers is probably best known for designing Casa Feliz, formerly called the Barbour House, which was commissioned in 1932. Other Winter Park landmarks designed by Rogers include the Greeneda Court shopping area on Park Avenue and the Holt and Mizener houses. After World War II, his firm became involved in large, institutional commissions and the architects for Rollins College. He designed the Mills Library, the Olin Library and the Archibald Granville Bush Science Center, eventually becoming responsible for work on 20 buildings at Rollins.

     Rogers' books and architectural drawings are housed in our Winter Park History & Archives and are available for use and viewing by the public. For more information or to access to the collection, contact the Library's archivist at 407-623-3300, ext. 106, or

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Director’s Annual Report - 2010
(This is the full text of the library Director Bob Melanson's report to the annual meeting of the Winter Park Library Association.)

     Before sitting down to organize and write this, I was afraid it was going to be very short as, with the funding the way it has been, I didn’t think we accomplished much in 2009. I was wrong. It just goes to show you that out of adversity comes creativity.

     The primary news of the year is the continued, unprecedented increase in use of the Library. At the end of the 2009 fiscal year, circulation of items checked out had risen to over 659,000. It was just four years ago that we broke 500,000 for the first time. Around 310,000 people entered the Library. This does count the number of early voters we had, but does not count those who contact the Library by phone or who access our catalog or reference resources by the Internet.

     The Summer Reading Program again broke registration records signing up 1,309 participants who read 36,258 books. That averages to 3.46 books read each week by each participant. During the eight week program, the Youth Services staff offered 213 programs that were attended by 7,615 children and teens.

     We managed to form a Youth Services Advocacy Group, although they have not been as effective so far as we had hoped—something to work on in the coming year.

     The Library’s relationship with the City continued to be strong. They renovated and updated the first floor ceiling and lighting system. They approved a supplemental $42,000 matching contribution so we could end the year with in the black, and they approved a flat budget request while cutting most city department budgets.

     Other fundraising activities were also taken on. Bash for Books, while not as successful as we might have liked, was certainly more successful than many other organizations’ events, many of which were cancelled. Staff partnered with Barnes & Noble to put on a book fair and we even sold parking spaces in adjacent lot during the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Perhaps most importantly, our endowment began to recover from the effects of the stock market.

     We entered the new world of social media by launching a Library Facebook page that is updated several times a week.

     In terms of policies, we revamped our fine and fee collection policy to encourage patrons to return their overdue materials sooner. We approved a Whistleblower and Conflict of Interest policy and a carefully considered reorganization was implemented that eliminated two middle management positions.

     The Lifelong Learning Institute was busy, offering 571 programs attended by 16,294 people. Program highlights included a walking tour of churches in west Winter Park, an exhibit documenting Puerto Ricans in Central FL, and a lively mayoral candidate debate.

     One major bequest was received from the estate of Ruth McLain. A health and wellness endowment was established with part of the bequest and the remaining portion went into the Board-designated operating endowment.

     An important addition was made to the Winter Park History and Archives collection with the signing of the donor agreement with Jack Rogers for Gamble Rogers’ architectural drawings and a 250 volume rare architecture book collection.

     Finally, we began planning for a year-long celebration commemorating the Library’s 125th anniversary.

     As always, it takes a joint effort of staff, Board, Friends, and other volunteers to make this all happen. Teamwork was a key component to all of this. We look forward to work together for a successful 2010.

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History & Archives Collection Can Provide Info on Winter Park Homes

     New to Winter Park? Have an historic home within the city you'd like to learn more about? The Library's Winter Park History & Archives Collection may have just what you’re looking for!

     The Winter Park Public Library employs a full-time archivist, Barbara White, who frequently receives requests for information regarding the history of private homes in our city. Often she is able to use our extensive collection of files, records and photographs to find information about specific residences.

     Using materials in our Archives and her expertise as an archivist and librarian, Barbara will look for an overview of the history of the home, as well as specifics on the architecture and structure. If that information is not readily available, she can try other sources such as the Orange County Property Appraisers or refer you to other organizations to help you in your research.

     The Library's Online History & Archives Collection provides history on some of the city’s most notable homes such as Casa Feliz, Osceola Lodge, and Wind Song.

     Archivist Barbara White can be contacted at or 407-623-3300, ext. 106.


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New Rankings Show WPPL Continues to Excel

     The newest national public library rankings have been released and WPPL is the best library in Florida in its category (top 6% nationally!!) and the second highest scoring library in the state.

     For the past five years, WPPL was the #1 library in the state overall, but was outscored by 5 points by the Martin County Library System in the 2009 ratings. Several library systems in the state have been nipping at our heels for the past several years, and it was only a matter of time before one of them in a fast-growing area passed us (the population of Martin County increased over 9% since 2000 while Winter Park’s has grown by less than 1%). Martin County's library system has six branches and serves a population of almost 140,000.

     While we are sorry to have lost the distinction of being #1, we will continue striving to provide the Winter Park community and all of our patrons with the very best Library materials, services and programs possible.

     The rankings come from Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings and are determined by 15 factors including circulation, reference services, funding and staffing.

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Changes Coming to the Library’s Fines and Collections Policies

     Tough economic times have forced the Library to examine all aspects of our expenses and income. In order to be responsible to our government funders, private donors and patrons, we realized that we are going to have to do a better job of collecting the fines and fees that are owed to the Library.

Beginning July 6 the following changes will take place:

1) All accounts with a balance of $10 or more will be referred to Unique Management’s collections program (this is only for accounts that are still unpaid 21 days after they are sent a Billing Notice. You will ALWAYS be sent a Billing Notice and have 21 days to respond before being sent to collections).
2) The account balance that will trigger a block (loss of borrowing and computer privileges) will drop from $10 to $5.
3) Patrons who owe less than $5 will have one month to get their account balance to zero. If the account is not brought to zero within one month of being notified that there is a fine on their account, their account will be blocked.

     As part of these changes the 800 patrons who have an outstanding balance of $10+ will be sent a Library Billing Notice on June 15. Please do not ignore this notice if you receive one. Doing do will result in additional fees and possibly havings your account sent to collections.

     We know that fines and fees are our patrons’ least favorite part of their Library experience, so we would like you to understand both how the fine and fees are structured and how to avoid them.

How Fines Work at the WPPL
     Fines are charged per day as follows: 25 cents for adult and young adult materials, 10 cents for children's materials and $2 for videos, DVDs, video games and computer software. Fines continue accruing until that full value of the item has been reached.

Essentially the Library will have four different levels of fines, each with its own set of conditions and consequences.

Level 1: 10 cents to $4.99 – You will be verbally notified (either during a visit to the Library or on the phone when you call to renew) that there is an outstanding balance on your account and will be encouraged to pay the balance at that time. If you are unable to pay the fine at that time, you will have one month to pay your account down to zero. If your account balance isn’t paid down to zero within one month, a block will be placed on your account and you will lose Library borrowing/computer privileges until the account is paid in full.

Level 2: $5 - $9.99 – Your account is blocked. Although you can have the block lifted by paying only enough of the fine to get your balance under $5, you must pay the full amount of the fine within one month of being notified about the fine or your account will be blocked again until the balance reaches zero.

Level 3: $10 – 24.99 –Your account is blocked and you will be referred to our Collection Agency’s “small balance program” if you do not pay your balance within 21 days of receiving our Billing Notice (which will be sent via first class mail).  At any time, you can pay the fine down to under $5 to resume use of your account, but if you do not pay the balance within one month your account will be blocked again until the balance is zero. If your account balance is referred to Unique Management’s small balance program you will also be charged a $10 collections fee that cannot be waived.

Level 4: $25+ - Same as above except that balances not paid within 21 days of the Billing Notice, will be referred to Unique Management’s “large balance program” and you will be charged a $20 collections fee that cannot be waived.

How to Avoid Fines and Fees at the WPPL
- Return items on time
- Renew items that are about to come due via phone (407) 623-3300 or online at Please note that if you have $5+ in fines, online renewal is not available and you will have to renew by phone.
- Pay special attention to DVDs, videos, software and video games. They only check out for a week at a time and the fines are $2 per day!
- Monitor and manage all of the Library accounts in your family. Remembering to return/renew items on both the kids’ and parents’ cards is key.
- Open any e-mails and letters that come to your home from the Library. They may contain important information about your account that you won’t want to miss.
- Ask for a complete list of all items you have checked out each time you come to the Library and check the due dates.
- Ask any staff member at our Circulation Desks to sign you up for e-mails from the Library that will notify you when items are about to come due or when held items are available for pick up.
- Notify the Library immediate if you change your mailing address or e-mail address (if you have chose e-mail notification for your overdue and hold notices)
- Return or renew Library materials before you travel for extended periods or ask us about the "vacation loan" option if you want to take materials with you.
- Manage your account online at There you can view all of your due dates and renew items.
- Bring a method of payment with you when you visit the Library if you suspect you have fines. We accept cash, check, and major credit cards.

Contacting us about Your Account
     Above all, we want you to enjoy your Library experience and to continue using our materials and services. So we want you to contact us ASAP about any account or billing issues that you may have questions about. Taking care of issues early can save you a lot of time and money, as well and keeping your account free of blocks so you can enjoy all that the Library has to offer.  To discuss an account or billing matter, contact:

Bonnie Wright – Head of Circulation – 407-623-3300, ext. 107 or

Tom Tarvin – Youth Services  - 407-623-3300, ext. 4 or

Evelyn Malles – Head of Youth Services, 407-623-3300, ext. 4 or

Bill Johnson – Assistant Director, 407-623-3496 or



   Budget Cuts Come to the WPPL
     The realities of the economic times in which we are living have come to the WPPL. Except for the City of Winter Park, which gave us a 3% increase, all other categories of income have been reduced or are expected to be more difficult to achieve. State aid has fallen for the last several years—this year by 20%. Income from our endowment has declined as the principle is being effected by the decreasing market valuation. Grant funds from foundations are also shrinking as their endowments are reduced. Contributions from our usually generous individual and corporate donors are being more carefully considered as the economy impacts family incomes.

     When it came time to make reductions in collections and services to get a balanced 2008/09 budget, we tried to do it in ways to least impact levels of services. So many of the changes we’ve implemented may be invisible to you as we work on new ways to do things more efficiently. But some of the cuts that will effect you include:

- We’ve cut the materials budget, which means we reduced the total number of materials we buy, most notably fewer copies of best sellers and high demand books and movies.

- We’ve frozen the position of Tween Librarian, meaning there will be fewer programs for that age group.

- We eliminated the position of Winter Park History Digitization Assistant, meaning fewer historical images will be digitally preserved and put online for research purposes.

- We’ve discontinued the live homework help online service.

- We’ve discontinued consolidated searching service that allowed patrons to search both our catalogs and select databases simultaneously.

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Due Date Reminder E-mails to Your Inbox
     You asked and we listened! For years, patrons have been asking for reminder e-mails about due dates before their items come due. And now, thanks to upgrades in our software and hard work on the part of our Technology staff, we have started providing this service.
     You can now receive e-mails two days before your item comes due, giving you plenty of time to return the item or renew it.
     Not receiving reminder e-mails? Here's how to get them:
     1) You must have enabled e-mail notification on you Library account. This means that you will also receive your late notices and holds notices by e-mail as well.
     2) To do this, you must call (407-623-3300) or visit a circulation desk at the Library (either speak to the first floor Circulation Desk or to Youth Services) and give them your e-mail address.
     3) Please adjust your spam filters to allow e-mails from addresses.

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New Fee Effective July 1
     In an effort to shorten the amount of time patrons have to wait for popular items, there will be a $1.00 fee for each reserved/held item not picked up within three days (not including the day you are notified).
     To avoid this fee you can:
- pick up holds/reserves on time,
- cancel or suspend your holds online, or
- call the Library for staff assistance before your hold expires (three days after notification).

It is simple and easy to manage your holds online.

How to Cancel and Suspend Holds Online
- Go to
- Logon on to your account using the “Click here to login to your account” link in the upper right corner of the screen.
- From the Account Overview screen, click on Hold Requests
- Find the Requested items not yet available section of this page
To cancel holds:
1) Select the items that have holds you wish to cancel by clicking the small boxes to the left of each item.
2) Complete the cancellation by clicking the Cancel Hold Request button
To suspend holds:
1) Select the items that have holds you wish to suspend by clicking the small boxes to the left of each item.
2) Using the Suspend until drop-down boxes, select the date when you will be available to pick-up items again.
3) Complete the process by clicking the Suspend Hold button.

* Cancelling holds means that you have been permanently removed from the waiting list for that item. You can place another hold for that item at any time. To cancel a hold that is already available to you, call the Library before the three day limit expires.
* Suspending a hold keeps your name on the holds list, and you will continue moving up the list normally. If your name reaches the top of the list before your “suspend until date” the item will be given to the next person waiting but your name remains at the top of the list. You can only suspend items that are not yet available to you.

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Save Time By Using Library Self-Check Machines
     We know it can be frustrating to wait in line at our Circulation Desks when all you want to do is check out a CD, DVD, software item or video game. So we've now enabled our self-check machines to handle these items, allowing you to check them out without a wait.

Using the self-check machines is EASY!
- Touch the screen to begin
- Scan your Library card (just like the UPC bar codes at the grocery store)
- Pass the library materials over the pad one item at a time
- After you’ve checked out all of your materials, touch the word “Done” on the screen and take your print-out
- Using the tool provided, remove the security cases and drop the cases into the labeled openings in the counter

You must see a staff member:
- there is a message on your account
- you owe $10 or more in fines
- you want to renew items
- you want a full list of all items you have checked out
- you are a new patron with the “new patron” limit

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Large Print Books Available
     Did you know that the Library has a great selection of large print books for people with sight impairments or just for those who prefer larger type? We order almost all fiction best sellers and most nonfiction best sellers in large print format and have a good-sized collection of older large print titles.
     The newest large print books, as well as all of those that have been added to the collection within the last three years or so, are stored on special shelves on the Library’s first floor. Older titles are located on the second floor. Please ask a staff member to help you locate large print titles.

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New Limit on Video Games
     In order to better share our video game collection with all patrons, there is now a limit on the number of games that can be checked out on a Library card at a given time. Only three video games can be checked out at a time per Library card.
     This limit does not affect computer software. The Library has games for most popular video game consoles, including the Wii, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Xbox and Playstation 2 and 3.

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Something Special for Fiction Readers!
    When John Grisham is out, Mary Higgins Clark is on hold and you've read Harry Potter three times already, use NoveList, the WPPL's newest online tool to help you find your next read. Search for an author, read-alike or even a plot, and this powerful database will immediately supply you with titles (a link on the lower left side of the screen will even zoom you to our catalog to check the book's availability).

     This database of over 143,000 fiction titles for readers of all ages lets you use your favorite author or book to link to other books you might enjoy. Grisham fans can find over 200 other legal thrillers they might like to read, and the Lord of the Rings fan in your home can locate hundreds of fantasies with young heroes!

Looking for a book for your next book group meeting?
     Click on the Book Discussion Guides link to find over 100 in-depth book discussion guides for popular book group titles. Each guide contains a brief author biography, a plot summary and discussion questions (with answers!). These guides are guaranteed to make your next book club meeting one of the best.
Don’t belong to a club? These guides are a great way for independent readers to deepen their individual enjoyment and experience of a good book.

Looking for a book to help your first-grader get ready for the first day of school (or any other plot you can imagine)?
     Use the “Describe A Plot” function and enter the words that describe the book you would like to read. NoveList will search using the plot you supply and generate a list of books for you to consider.

A full service WPPL card is required to use this service; available from home or the library. Click here to begin using NoveList or access NoveList from our Databases page.


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Copyright (C) 2015 Winter Park Public Library. All rights reserved.
Winter Park Public Library -- 460 E. New England Ave.-- Winter Park, FL 32789 -- (407) 623-3300.