Photo by Josh Felise

EDIT: This post originally stated that the Orange County and Winter Park libraries do not have reciprocal benefits, but cardholders can check out most materials, but do not have access to full library programs and services.

According to the Winter Park library’s marketing specialist, Dori Madison, the library’s Board of Trustees has decided to redefine the library’s leadership structure and, “bring it into the 21st Century, for a more 360-degree library.” The decision to shake things up was aided by the international non-profit think tank, the Aspen Institute (Website).

As a result of the restructuring, the previous Executive Director, Shawn Shaffer, has been let go, and an interim director installed in her place; enter Cynthia Wood. Wood (LinkedIn) has a long history in Winter Park, namely with Rollins College, and more recently as the lead in her own philanthropy advising company, Cynthia Wood, Philanthropy Partner, LLC.

A new development person has also been hired but not on an interim basis, and is already on-staff to help lead new capital campaigns for the upcoming library project – designed by celeb architect David Adjaye, the man behind the award-winning National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

This is a key move as the Winter Park Public Library is only 30 percent funded by County tax dollars, versus 79 percent for Orange County Library System branches in 2019. Before you get upset though, the reason for that disparity is because when the OCLS district was formed, Winter Park and Maitland already had their own independent libraries, so they were excluded. Residents in both Maitland and Winter Park do not pay taxes to support the Orange County Library District so they don’t receive extra funding. Cardholders of either library do get borrowing privileges at the other branches but not full services.

The first steps for the search for a new director have already begun, but the Board is still identifying expectations for the new position. Dori Madison told Bungalower that while the Board was grateful for Shaffer’s role in getting the library to where it is today, saying “She certainly left the library stronger and better than when she arrived.”

However, the needs for the new library call for a much more dynamic leader – one that will likely be found in another part of the country, or potentially from across the pond.

Madison herself was hired in November 2017 when the Board laid off their public relations staff and hired her company, Axon2 (Website), to oversee all communications, marketing, and PR for the library.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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