May 27, 2017

Orlando Library Donation to Build Creative Technology Center

Melrose Foundation giant check

Melrose presents a check to the OCLS

A $1 million donation to the Orlando Public Library will be used to create The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity, the library announced April 16. The center will house labs for visual arts, film, digital media, graphic design and audio engineering on the second floor of the library, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The books from that space have already been moved to the third and fourth floors, Tracy Zampaglione, a library spokesperson, told LJ.

The OPL is also applying for a grant to build an adjoining fabrication lab that will allow patrons to make anything from 3D models to jewelry. Renovations will begin immediately and are intended to be completed within one year.

“As far as we know, no other library in the country will have this range of capabilities,” said Mary Anne Hodel, library director and CEO. “I feel like I’ve found a four-leaf clover and rabbit’s foot and winning lottery ticket — all in one.”

The $1 million from Melrose’s family foundation is the largest single donation ever made to the Orange County Library System, which was named the Library of the Future in 2011 by the American Library Association.

The digital arts center was part of a wish list the library had shelved pending a stronger economy. But then Kendrick Melrose, former CEO of landscape equipment firm Toro, contacted Hodel about doing something in memory of his mother, Dorothy Lumley Melrose, who was very involved in the construction of the Orlando Public Library in the 1960s. She also taught school and later became the city’s first female stockbroker as well as a writer for several eminent financial publications.

“My mother did a lot of things in this community, but she had the greatest passion and talked the most about the library,” said Melrose.

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Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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