OCPS and Orange County Library share similar goals
Posted on 03/06/2023
Mondays with Maria Banner



Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hi everyone. I'm Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools. I have another new guest joining us from Monday's with Maria. He is Steve Powell, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Library System. Thank you for joining me this morning.

Steve Powell: Well, good morning, and thank you for having me.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So I understand that you started your role just a little bit before I did. Right, in August? Yes. Oh, that's wonderful. Congratulations. Thank you. And you know, the partnership with Orange County Library and Orange County Public Schools runs deep and it's been in existence for decades. We have very similar goals when it comes to helping our children learn and grow while engaging in amazing experiences and opportunities. Would you tell us about some of the current programs that are available in our libraries?

Steve Powell: Well, it's great that you mentioned amazing opportunities and experiences, because that's part of our mission. We really want to support education and learning throughout our entire community. But specifically we have similar goals, as you mentioned with OCPS. A couple of new things that we're doing right now is we're celebrating the 100 year celebration of the Orange County Library System in Orlando. All year long we'll be having signature author events for adults. We'll be having programming for kids around the concept of 100 years. We've got everything covered, I believe, and we're going to walk through the decades and we'll see how it goes, but it's, it's been a great event so far and we'll continue that. I'd also like to mention that we no longer have overdue fines. So anybody who has materials out that they think they owe us money for, if they'd please bring them back, we'd like to reinstate their account. If they don't have those materials, please come in or call us. We'd like to work through the issues you might have with your account. We'd love to have everyone in Orange County Library district using us.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, I think that's wonderful that you're allowing people to come back without paying the fines. I know that was an issue for some and a hundred years. That's amazing. So every student in Orange County Public Schools has access to the library system directly from their digital device. What should our parents know about that access and what it provides?

Steve Powell: So that access is something we call the virtual library card, and it provides students access to study guides eBooks, audiobooks. There's homework help in there. There's tutoring available to students, and it's all curated by grade level. And I think that's important for parents to know. Additionally we have a program where we support media specialists and teachers. We have an Orange County Library staff member signed up for every school. Every OCPs school has a liaison and we support their access to our resources. And when they need us on site to do visits, we come to the schools and do presentations or whatever they need us to do

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Such a wonderful way for us to collaborate. If parents or students want to visit one of our branches. I understand we have 15 across the entire county. What would the families find in our local libraries?

Steve Powell: Well, they would find a variety of things. They would find anything from family programming. We do yoga as families. We also have Cuisine Corner Junior, which young learners can attend and learn how to make snacks and package them up for the rest of their family. It's just about anything. What I would encourage our community to do is come in and visit us because there's something there for everyone. Certainly we have books and DVDs and CDs and you can browse for your next great read, but we'd like you to check out all the other things we have as well.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yoga, that might be interesting. It's good to know. Good to know. And if someone wanted to get involved, how would they go about doing that?

Steve Powell: So the first step would be all they need to do is visit one of our locations. If they have an ID and a residence within the Orange County Library district, we can sign them up for a library card. If they're too busy to come in, they can go to our website and fill out a form and we'll issue their library card to them and mail it to them. So either way, we just need them to contact us. We'd be glad to have everyone back or in. It's their library. It's for the community. We're here to support their information, their education, and their recreation. So please come on in.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Sounds simple enough. Thank you so much for joining us, and thank you all for watching. As promised, we will continue to keep you updated on all the news and information you need to know right here. I'll see you next week.