Orange County Library System named Florida library of the year

Director Mary Anne Hodel awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

The Orange County Library System was honored at the annual Florida Library Association conference in Daytona on May 20, 2021. (OCLS)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Library System is “Florida Library of the Year.”

The library system received several recognitions Thursday from the Florida Library Association during an annual conference.

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Director and CEO Mary Anne Hodel received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the OCLS received the Maria Chavez Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives” award for its ESOL programs and the Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award for its virtual field trips program.

The accolades comes as the library system has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic offering book, music and DVD delivery and continued genealogy services.

[READ: Orange County Library offers free access to ancestry, genealogy center]

Throughout the pandemic, the OCLS never stopped serving the community. When the branches were forced to close, staff worked from home to convert hundreds of in-person classes, events and programs to a virtual format. All branches were reopened by June 1.

“I am so proud of the way our staff rallied to keep our libraries in operation during one of the most challenging times we’ve ever experienced,” Library Director/CEO Mary Anne Hodel said in a statement. “This award is wonderful recognition of their hard work.”

Hodel has led the library system for nearly 20 years, introducing technology advancements, made investments in programs that for the community and steered OCLS through a global pandemic.

All of the awards were presented to OCLS at the annual Florida Library Association conference in Daytona on May 20.