$1 Million Donation Helps Orlando Public Library Open Tech Center

By Meghan Davis, intern, ALA Public Programs Office

The Orange County (Fla.) Library System wanted to give central Floridians the tools to contribute to the area’s creative and technology sectors.

Thanks to a $1 million gift, that vision resulted in the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation and Creativity, which opened in February on the second floor of the Orlando Public Library. This technology center offers patrons a 26,000-square-foot space that facilitates technologies like photo-editing and 3-D printing. As one visitor described it, the center provides her and other patrons with “21st-generation skill sets.”

Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, the Melrose Center was made possible through a donation from the Melrose Family Foundation in honor of Dorothy Lumley Melrose, an early supporter of the library. The center’s purpose, according to Orange County Library System Director and CEO Mary Ann Hodel, is to “establish a futuristic center for technology, innovation, and creativity” within the library. And it’s open to the whole community: after an orientation session, cardholders can use the space for free and non-residents can pay a fee to book the space. The center also hosts “Tech Talks” on topics ranging from model planes to “How to Hack Your Wedding Dress.”

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