Learn. Discover. Access.

A 21st century library is a magnetic, vibrant, interactive place of experience.


Our Vision

"An access point to the American Dream, a realized community magnet; engaging, enticing and enriching."

Our library's core mission has always been to educate people of all ages.

Whether it’s learning to read or learning how to use the latest technological device; whether you need to be ready for kindergarten, college, or your next job; whether you want to start a business or learn skills for a new hobby, the library has materials, programs and people to help you accomplish your educational goals throughout your entire lifetime.

A 21st Century library is about not only helping you find and navigate the information world, but helping you create your own content.

What will define this library are these three things: what the community wants, what the community needs, and a shared vision for our future.

A Shared Vision for Our Future


The library is an essential partner in early literacy. An expanded facility allows us to have much more material for early readers, more material to keep children and teens engaged in reading and more material in various formats for all ages.

Maker/Creative Spaces

allow patrons to bring to life their creative dreams. All types of equipment allow patrons to create 3d models, videos, audio recordings, graphics, and other personalized content.

Meeting Spaces

A 21st century library is about collaboration, conversations and the serendipitness of meeting people who enhance your life. It could be your neighbor, someone who is is an simlar business as you or a complementing business.

Dedicated Computer Labs

Updating your computer skills is a fact of life in 2015. Technology changes frequently and new apps are being written everyday. It's essential for you to stay current in today's knowledge economy.

Local History Center

Future generations shouldn't lose the opportunity to learn, discover and experience Winter Park's history. A new facility with climate-controlled learning spaces and interactive technology and exhibits can preserve our shared past and make history come alive.

Library of Things

The new library will become a bigger community hub, home to a kaleidoscope of people & projects with the abliity to check out more than books. Musical instruments, sewing machines, tools, fishing poles, drones, whatever the community needs -- expanding the idea of a sharing economy.

Business Center

Today’s entrepreneur can be a 10-year-old boy making bow ties to a 64-year-old creator of Digicamhelp.com. Entrepreneurship is growing more than ever. A new library can support and encourage this new class of businesses.

Lifelong Learning

We can support the future of learning anywhere, anytime. The new facility would have high speed broadband fiber to allow students of any age to access information, education, instructors worldwide.

Cultural Center

This new space offers opportunities for more educational, cultural events like musical performances or prominent guest speakers. Our residents can share, perform, create and display their works in a stunning venue with strong community support.

Frequently Asked Questions About a New WPPL

At A Glance


  • a 50,000 square-foot library
  • an 8,000 square-foot events center
  • a 1 story, 220-space parking deck


  • corner of Harper Ave & Morse Blvd, adjacent to MLK Jr. Park


  • up to $30,000,000

Tax Impact

  • $41 per $100K of tax assessed home value (not market value)

New Building FAQ's

What will happen if the March 15 ballot measure fails?

If the ballot measure fails, it will be because the voters have denied the library the funding it needs to build a new building. The library will remain in its current building and will be unable to offer new services, technology, equipment and materials. Of course our staff and Board remain devoted to providing the best possible materials and services to our community and will continue to do what they can in that regard, but their efforts will be significantly limited by an inadequate and antiquated facility.

The ballot language doesn’t specify that the new library, events center and parking will be built at the current civic center site adjacent to MLK Park. Why did they leave the location out? How do we know they aren’t trying to pull a switcharoo after the measure is passed?

The writing of ballot language and ordinances is done by City staff in direct consultation with the City’s attorney. At the recommendation of both, the location was left off so that in the case of extreme, unforeseen circumstances that rendered the civic center site unusable or unsuitable, the City Commission could select an alternate site without having to go back to the voters. This is standard practice. The 2000 ballot initiative to build Winter Park’s Public Safety building also did not specify a location in the ballot language, though the intended location was always at Canton and Virginia avenues. The City Commission has voted multiple times over the last year that the civic center location adjacent to the park is the determined site for the library, events center and parking project. 

Who can vote on the bond referendum?

All Winter Park residents who are registered voters on or before February 16, 2016. Non-residents cannot vote on the measure.

What will be on the ballot?

The following is the measure that will appear on the ballot:

For the purpose of building the Winter Park Library and Events Center, to include library facilities, civic meeting and gathering facilities and related parking structure, and improvements, and all purposes incidental thereto, shall the City of Winter Park, Florida, issue not exceeding $30,000,000 general obligation bonds, bearing interest at not exceeding the maximum legal rate, maturing within 20 years from date of issuance, payable from ad valorem taxes levied on all taxable property in the City area, without limitation as to rate or amount; as provided in Ordinance No. 3020-15?

The above text refers to City ordinance 3020-15. The full text of that ordinance can be read on the City of Winter Park’s website at https://cityofwinterpark.org/docs/government/ordinances-resolutions/ORD3020-15.pdf

How are we going to pay for the new library?

The Library’s Board of Trustees is committed to raising at least $2.5 million for construction of the new library. The City Commission has approved selling up to $30 million in bonds to fund the rest of the library/civic center/garage project. Residents will vote on the bond referendum in March 2016.

How much is all of this going to cost?

The City Commission asked for cost projections on a facility that is “extraordinary,” beautiful, flexible and efficient. The City's continuing services architects, ACi, worked with the costing experts at Wharton Smith to get projections for the library, events center, parking deck and all associated expenses. An additional 15% contingency was built into all of the construction costs to protect the taxpayers from any possible fluctuations in prices and cost overruns (this far exceeds the customary 5-7% contingency).

The summary of expenses is as follows:

  • New library - $17,435,700
  • New events center - $3,568,172
  • Parking deck - $3,004,943
  • Other shared Costs - $8,405,496 (includes demolition, design and engineering fees, public events courtyard, site prep, landscaping, etc.)
  • The Library Board has committed to raising at least $2,500,000 toward construction of the Library, meaning the net total for the project is $29,914,311.

Why does the proposed budget have a $1.8 million roof and plaza? That’s seems excessive.

It’s crucial to remember that the cost projections are based on preliminary site concepts developed by the City’s consulting architects. These designs were always intended to be a “what if,” not a depiction of what will be. There is a good chance that there won’t be an events plaza or roof in that form. In order to develop the site concepts to show how three structures could logistically fit on the current civic center site, they had to come up with a preliminary design, which is what you see depicted. The roof and plaza was part of this design, and was priced as such. It is a state-of-the-art roof that would create outdoor event space that is covered and shaded, unites the structures of the library and the events center and serves as a water drainage system that would help filter water before it went into the lake. The cost listed is for that structure. Of course once the ballot measure passes, the City will go through a rigorous process to select a final architect, who will submit its own designs that will have to be costed out.

How much would it cost to build a library on the site of the old one?

If you put an addition on to the existing structure and built a parking structure to accommodate the parking, it would be about $22.4 million. If you demolished the current structure and built an entirely new structure and a parking structure, it would be $23.6 million.

How much more will it cost to operate a 33 percent larger facility offering more programs and new services?

Projections and research show that a new, energy-efficient, tech-wired building will afford the library significant savings over current operational costs in various areas of operations. For example, there are computerized systems that check-in and sort books that the current library doesn’t have the space or the technology infrastructure for now, but in a new facility will allow us to redirect staff resources to other services like patron assistance and dynamic programming. Based on a thorough examination of projected savings and costs, we estimate a net increase of 7 percent in operating expenses.

What portion of the City budget does the WPPL already receive?

Last year, the WPPL received $1,394,850, which is about .9 percent of the City’s total budget.

What is the tax impact if the library ballot measure passes?

$49 per $100,000 of taxable value on your home.

Why are we using bonds to pay for the new library, events center and parking?

Issuing bonds, which is a way for the City to borrow money at a low interest rate, is how the people of Winter Park come together to collectively fund public projects they believe in. Over the last 25 years, Winter Park residents have passed four bond referendums: 

  • Third floor of the library and major renovation of the Farmer’s Market – 1992
  • Purchasing of the golf course – 1996
  • Construction of the Public Safety Building – 2000
  • Purchasing of the electric utility – 2003

All of these projects have proven to be positive investments in our community, and we believe the referendum to fund the new library, events center and parking is just as worthy.

I don’t want my taxes to go up, period. Can you figure out a way to do this that won’t impact my taxes?

At this time, a bond referendum is the only funding option available to the City. The good news is that the $49/$100,00 of taxable value is the most the amount will ever be. Each year the amount decreases as the bonds are paid down. When the golf course bonds retire in 2016, your property taxes will drop even further.

I hate the drawings I’ve seen of the new library. Is that really what it’s going to look like?

No, the drawings you have seen are site concepts only and are not what the actual buildings will look like. They show how the library, events center, and parking can fit together on the property. The city will go through an extensive process to select an architect to make the actual designs for the project.

Will the library hurt the park? Why put it there?

No, because the current plan doesn’t put the library IN the park. The plan places the new library, events center and parking on the existing civic center site. The new structures’ footprints will utilize less than 1% more open space. There is no reduction of the park. In fact, the park will see significant improvements in overall health.

  • The proposed plan adds trees, a new drainage systems to clean the water going into the lake, and new landscaping and path enhancements to allow people to better enjoy the park.
  • There will be no negative effects on the playground, ball field or the Denning/Morse corner of the park, although there may be improvements (improved sidewalks, new jogging paths, etc.) that enhance them.
  • Placing the library near the park brings more of the community to enjoy the park. Kids and families can combine outdoor play with indoor learning and discovery.
  • It’s more accessible to users on the West Side who are more likely to walk or bike.
  • It offers the opportunity to invest in improvements to the park itself.
  • This site lets us expand our educational offerings. We can teach kids about ecology and the environment.
  • It offers all patrons a more beautiful, peaceful setting.

Will the new building be more sustainable?

Yes! The architects who designed the site concepts for us presented a number of amazing, sustainable recommendations for the new facility. Specifically, they planned and budgeted for a USGBC LEED-certified facility incorporating reflective surfaces, renewable energy, solar, building envelope, recyclable materials, and water treatment strategies.

With proximity to the park and lake, they focused on bringing the site up to new stormwater treatment standards; incorporating pervious pavement on roadways, at-grade parking, courtyards and hardscapes; engineering so that the pavement itself treats the stormwater; using underground exfiltration systems; and incorporating rain gardens that make use of gravel and water-tolerant plants that blend into the landscaping and park. In the projected budget, there are funds to enhance the park with stormwater treatment, landscaping, terracing and other improvements.

Will the new library have more space?

Yes, the proposed plans call for a 50,000 sq. ft. facility, which is a much-needed increase from the current 33,000 sq. ft. building.

Why did the Commission select the MLK Park/Civic Center site? Did you consider other sites?

The Task Force investigated a total of 15 site possibilities, some owned by the city and some by private owners, in the quest for the best possible site for the new library. Factors that disqualified sites included: not large enough to accommodate the new building and parking, owners unwilling to sell property, unfavorable traffic conditions, and incompatibility with surrounding businesses/neighborhoods.

The Commission followed the recommendations of the City’s Library Facilities Task Force, which studied the issue for almost two years. The Task Force ultimately selected the MLK Park/Civic Center site because it provided the greatest opportunities for the community by combining the benefits and compelling attributes of both the library and the park. The site is fully able to accommodate the building and parking facility needed. The surrounding streets, Morse and Denning, have plenty of capacity to handle the additional car trips, and there are plans to enhance the walkability and bike-friendliness in the area. While Park Avenue will always be the heart of Winter Park, the site also represents a chance to expand the concept of the city core.

Isn’t it foolish to put the new library so close to a sinkhole?

The new library and events center is planned to go directly on the site of the current civic center and its parking lot, not near the site of the 1981 sinkhole that resulted in Lake Rose. Recent soil boring and geological studies show that the site planned for the new library is stable and well suited to the intended construction.

That area of the city already has problems with storm water drainage. Won’t putting the library in that area make the problem worse?

Other than occasional, localized street flooding associated with extreme Florida rain events, there are no storm water drainage problems in that area of the city. In 2013, the man-made retention pond lake in the middle of MLK Park, was enlarged and has already benefited from engineering improvements to increase its storm water handing capabilities. The pond has plenty of capacity and two different systems in place to prevent the pond from overflowing. Even the preliminary concepts for the library/event center contain engineering plans to effectively collect, treat and direct storm water. Any construction at the site will have to meet or exceed the City’s rigorous standards for storm water.

I agree that Winter Park needs a new library, but I hate the new location. Is there any chance they will change their mind about the location?

The Commission has determined that the location of the new library and events center will be at the site of the current civic center, near the intersection of Morse and Harper. The decision was made after more than a year of discussion. The referendum language doesn’t specify a location but the Commission has definitively chosen the current civic center site, adjacent to MLK Park.

Why would you put the new library near the Trader Joe’s traffic nightmare? I don’t want to have to go over there in that mess to use the library.

We understand that traffic on 17/92 can be frustrating but there are plenty of alternative, uncongested routes to the new location. Traffic experts have conducted studies showing that both Morse Boulevard and Denning Drive only carry a quarter of their traffic capacity on a daily basis, and those volumes have remained consistent for 25 years. Additionally, they do not foresee that changing within the next 25 years, even with the projected developments in the area. Two transportation studies conducted by the Library estimate that there are an average of 400-500 car trips to the WPPL on a daily basis, which can be easily accommodated by surrounding roads. There is no evidence to suggest that traffic in the area of Traders Joes or any planned developments in the area would hinder travel to the WPPL if alternate routes are used.

How much public input has there been on a new library and where to put it? No one asked me.

There have been eight public forums with a total in person attendance of 696 and online participation of 713. These forums were publicized in many ways, including local media, signage, mailings and via social media. Additionally, presentations and listening sessions were held at the Winter Park Woman’s Club, The Cloisters residence, Heart of Winter Park, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and other community groups. Library staff, Task Force members and City staff met individually with many interested citizens one-on-one as well. Citizen input has been heard at multiple City Commission meetings, and Commissioners received hundreds of emails on the subject before they made their final decision. The ultimate public input will be Tuesday, March 15, 2016 when residents of Winter Park vote on the ballot initiative to provide the necessary funding, but input will not end there. The City has already indicated that there will be opportunities for public input on the architectural style and design ultimately chosen for the new facilities.

Will there be a chance for more public input?

According to the Commission, there will be significant public input into what the new library and events center will look like. This will happen after the City has selected an architect to design the project. The public will have the ultimate say in the project when they go to the polls March 15 to vote on the ballot initiative to fund the library and civic center construction.

Who did you consult before you decided to build a new library?

The City Commission’s decision to move forward with a new library is the culmination of two years of consultations and investigation. The process started with the Library’s patrons and their changing needs for information services. Library staff and Trustees spent over a year investigating community needs and the City’s Library Facility Task Force investigated for another year, conducting five public forums and talking to library experts around the country. The City Commission then engaged the services of its consulting architects who held three more community-input forums and brought in national experts on cities, placemaking and libraries. With the sum of that investigation and input, the Commission unanimously voted to proceed with a new library.

Why are they replacing the Civic Center? There is nothing wrong with the current one.

The current Civic Center is an aging and dated facility that needs major renovation or replacement within the next several years. There are increasing maintenance costs associated with the current Civic Center facility that will only increase as time goes on. Additionally, the interior of the current civic center is a nondescript building with an inefficient use of space; it lacks the infrastructure to do many of the things modern brides and event hosts wish to do. It is also ill-suited to accommodate performances. Many would-be renters comment that what they are looking for is a unique destination for their wedding. Replacing the current civic center with a new events center would allow for the construction of a beautiful new facility, fully equipped for modern events that showcases the very best Winter Park has to offer.

Why did the City Commission decide to make a new events center part of the library process?

The efficiencies of addressing both the library and the civic center as a single community offering is a rare opportunity that responsibly makes the most efficient use of the city’s land and financial resources. Now, when construction costs and interests rates are low, the opportunity to provide the community with two new, necessary facilities was too great to pass up.

Will the new events center be larger than the current civic center?

Yes, the new events center has been proposed at 8,000 sq. ft, large enough to accomodate bigger performances or events of up to 500 people.

The community invested a lot of money to build a new community center. Do we really need a community center and an events center?

There are different roles for a community center and an events center, and there is a definite need for both in Winter Park. The new community center has been a success, hosting hundreds of programs and events each year. It serves as an important sports and fitness center as well as meeting place, and is scheduled with fitness programs, camps, afterschool programs and city meetings throughout each day.

Because it is so heavily used, it is not readily available for many larger events. Although it is capable of hosting larger gatherings, its internal configuration and the fact that sports and fitness programs continue during private rentals, make it a challenging venue for private events such as weddings and receptions. A new events center would not only accommodate these events, but could also serve as a local venue for performances such as local recitals and concerts – uses the community center was not designed to host.

What will happen to the current civic center building?

The current civic center will be demolished to make way for the new library, events center and parking. By reimagining how the site will be configured, all three facilities can be constructed on the site of the existing civic center with only .84% additional land being used.

The civic center’s name honors Rachel Murrah, who was an important leader in our City. Will the new facility be named after Rachel?

The Murrahs were beloved supporters of the WPPL, with Rachel serving as Board president for many years in 1970 and Kenneth acting as a devoted donor and friend until his passing in 2014. Kenneth knew the civic center site was in consideration at the time he died and still left a significant contribution toward the new building effort in his estate. Although it’s too early for specific plans, both the Library Board and the City have indicated that Rachel and Kenneth will continue to be honored in some way at the new library and events center.

Why do you want to move the Library? Why are you moving the Library?

No one wants to move the library for the sake of moving. The community needs a new library building. 

The current site is too small to create a sustainable and effective library. Moving gives the community much better options for a long term solution. 

Staying here (renovating/expanding or demolishing/rebuilding) is the most expensive option and it causes the most upheaval because we have to move out for a year or more.

Do you really NEED a new building?

Yes, the community really does need a new library building! The Task Force's investigation showed missing resources and numerous deficiencies.

There isn’t enough room for the collections we have and it’s not possible to adapt the space we have for innovations to come. The collections we have are on shelves that are too high and too low for many people.

  • In the Children’s area, for every item we add, we have to remove one to make room.
  • There are almost no quiet spaces.
  • There aren’t any study rooms, which we are asked for on a daily basis.
  • The building can’t handle the increasing electrical demands or support updated data lines for Internet and technology infrastructure, and will not be able to meet future needs.

The role of libraries is changing from being a place where people solely consume content to being a place where people can create content. The current building doesn’t allow for any of that, but the new building would.

How many Winter Park residents actually use the library?

There are over 15,000 named users at the WPPL. When reporting to the state, the library counts the number of cardholders, which is different than the number of named users. Our real user number includes cardholders and the additional family members whose names are added to each card but do not get cards of their own. Many married couples share one card and many families consolidate their library checkouts to a single card, leaving children and spouses uncounted. Due to software limitations, the library must hand-review additional named cardholders, which was done for this process. The library is unable to count residents who use library resources or services but don’t check out materials. In addition to named users, we know that over 21,000 people attended classes or events at the library last year. Going by cardholder numbers alone would be inaccurate and incomplete.

Now that more and more materials are moving onto digital formats, why are we building a bigger library?

First, it’s crucial to say that libraries are not (and never have been) in the book business. They are in the INFORMATION business. As citizens of The Information Age, libraries fill a critical, unique role as trusted community hubs and sources of knowledge and information. Not only does Winter Park need a library to house books and resources, it needs the library to be a place where the community, especially our young people and business professionals, can meet, collaborate and create. The current library building is woefully short on quiet spaces, creative spaces, room for children’s materials and programming, and meeting spaces. Additionally, it’s crucial to know that despite the growing availability of digital books and other information, books are not going away anytime soon. Recent studies show that 60 to 70 percent of people aged 16 – 24 strongly prefer print books. That tells us that libraries will need to accommodate print for at least another half century. A key characteristic of the new library won’t just be more space, it will be flexible space – meaning that as the community’s needs change and technologies emerge, the building is capable of transforming without structural modifications. This is a building meant to last for generations and building too small based on a misperception would be a short-sighted choice and a lost opportunity with long-term consequences.

What will happen to the current building once the library moves into the new facility?

The City of Winter Park owns the current building and property and it will decide what to do. Several options for this building have been mentioned including making it a park, relocating City departments, leasing it or finding another City use for it. The City has repeatedly said that IF it decided to sell (which it has not decided to do) it would go out for bid where a variety of potential buyers would have the opportunity to purchase it.

Are you moving the Library so Rollins can have the property? Was Rollins involved in the decision to move the library?

No. Not even a little bit. At no time during the 18 month process did Rollins or its representatives attempt to influence the process or encourage the Library to leave the current site.

Is it a done deal? I don't want the Library to move.

At this point, the City Commission has decided that the best location for a new library will be the site of the current civic center. The evidence given by the Task Force supported the decision. The City’s architect consultants have developed a plan to put the new library, a new events center and one-story parking structure on the current civic center site. Residents will have the opportunity to approve a bond referendum in March 2016 that will provide the funding for the new projects. Even if the referendum passes, there is still plenty of room for residents to have input on the style, design and nature of the new facilities.

Exactly what are you planning to do or offer in a new building that you absolutely can’t in the current facility?

  • The new building will be built with the 21st century in mind. That means we won’t just build a library that can do what we need it to today. It will be built to accommodate the needs of today and be flexible enough for whatever comes along in the decades ahead. The old building is capable of neither.
  • Dedicated computer labs and technology training facilities will allow residents to prepare or retrain for the 21st century economy by building digital skills.
  • A new facility will finally have enough space to support Early Literacy efforts through excellent collections of children’s books, music and videos on accessible shelving in inviting, age-appropriate spaces.
  • Unlike the current facility, a new building will be engineered to balance noisy activity with quiet spaces for reading or productivity.
  • It will provide spaces where small groups can meet to study, conduct business meetings, or collaborate on projects.
  • We will be able to provide a Business and Entrepreneur Center equipped with resources and trained personnel to help local businesses and aspiring businesspeople develop new products or services and find markets in which to sell them.
  • A fully realized makerspace will provide equipment, software and tools that allow creatives to bring creations to life whether it’s an app, video, craft or publication.
  • Our local history can be properly preserved and put on display with facilities designed to maintain correct humidity and light controls for the precious documents in our Winter History & Archives Collection. We will finally be able to help residents preserve their own family histories and contribute to the larger community archive by providing equipment and expertise to assist in the digitization of photos and the recording of oral histories.
  • We can become a library of things, a community hub that allows people to check out more than books or other media. Using successful models from around the country, we can check out musical instruments, fishing poles, sewing machines, tools, or whatever the community needs, expanding on the idea of the emerging “sharing economy.”
  • Users will have a vastly improved and safer experience through ADA accessible features, elevators capable of safely transporting patients during an emergency, and open spaces.

From the very start, a core value the community expressed in their desire for a new building was flexibility… the ability to transform as the community’s needs grow and change. We know the above is what we can be in a new facility, but even more powerful is the fact that a new building could evolve as the current facility is incapable of doing.

Support Materials

• Task Force Presentation of Final Report to the City Commission - June 22, 2015
• The Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries Resources report RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
• The Library of the Future - PowerPoint Presentation by Clyde Scoles, Director/Fiscal Officer of Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and nationally recognized expert in public library facilities and construction - presented to the Winter Park City Commission June 9. Note: The libraries pictured in this presentation are examples of libraries in other communities around the country and do not represent plans suggested for the Winter Park community. 
• Report from The Douglas Company regarding potential renovation of current Library facilities. ** Estimate costs in this report do NOT include costs of furnishing, fixtures, equipment and technology. It also does not address a three-story parking garage.
• Preliminary Evaluation of Potential Sites for Library Construction and Path to Success slide from ACi
• Preliminary Draft Budget of Revenue and Expenses
• The Library by the Numbers - an info graphic about the Library 
• Presentation to Task Force by ACi 9-10-2014 - shows possibility of expansion on current Library site using existing building structure
• September 17 Community Forum outline
• Feedback from the September 17 Community Forum
• "Considerations for the Future of the Winter Park Public Library" by Chip Weston
• Task Force Timeline


City of Winter Park's Library Facility Task Force

The official charge of the task force was to make recommendations to the Commission on the need, location, cost and funding strategies for a new or remodeled library facility.

Task Force Members

Gary Barker

- appointed by Commissioner Carolyn Cooper

Daniel Butts

- appointed by the WPPL

Jeffry Jontz

- appointed by the WPPL

Jan Walker

- appointed by the WPPL

Nancy Miles

- appointed by Commissioner Tom McMacken

Joel Roberts

- appointed by Mayor Ken Bradley

Sam Stark

- appointed by Commissioner Steve Leary

Chip Weston

- appointed by Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel

Ex-officio Members

Shawn Shaffer

Executive Director

of the WPPL

Randy Knight

City Manager