Million Dollar Milestone for New Library

The Winter Park Public Library is proud to announce that more than $1 million has been committed to build the new library. The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation and dozens of individual donors have pledged funds to the project even before the formal fundraising effort has been launched.

The Edyth Bush Foundation’s matching grant of $750,000 will seed a much larger campaign to be launched in 2017 to fund and equip the building as well as to double the library’s $6 million endowment.

Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer said, “Reaching this $1 million milestone is a clear sign of community enthusiasm and support for the project.”

“The Library Board of Trustees is committed to raising $2.5 million toward the construction of the new library, building on our more than 100-year-long partnership with the City of Winter Park,” Shaffer said. “And raising critical endowment funds will ensure that we will continue to provide the best library practices for generations to come.”

Other commitments include $100,000 from Dr. Bruce Douglas and $100,000 from the Estate of Kenneth F. Murrah. 

Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation CEO and President David Odahowski said, “The City of Winter Park has been described as a ‘University at Large’ with the cooperative spirit of its residents who built some of the foremost educational, cultural and social organizations in America. The Winter Park Public Library has been a centerpiece to our quality of life for over 130 years. Living in a knowledge-based economy, its residents have chosen an investment in a new 21st century library that will pay dividends for generations.”

The foundation’s matching grant announcement comes on the heels of last week’s news that Orange County Judge Margaret Schreiber validated the bonds Winter Park residents approved last March to fund a library, events center and parking at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park site. The foundation’s gift is contingent on the successful resolution of all legal hurdles, and Schreiber’s ruling is a large step forward toward that end.

“Judge Schreiber’s ruling confirms the City’s position that the project has already gone to vote and the matter has been decided by the voters to build the project at MLK Park,” said City Manager Randy Knight.

On March 15, 2016 a majority of Winter Park voters approved a ballot initiative authorizing the City of Winter Park to issue bonds that will fund a new library, an events center and associated parking. After more than a year of exploration and deliberation, the City’s Library Facilities Task Force selected the MLK Park site. Although most of the construction will be paid for by tax-supported bonds, private dollars will supplement those funds and be used to equip the new facility with the best in technology and materials for the Winter Park community.

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 www.wppl.org or call 407-623-3300.