Many people associate Orlando, Florida as the Happiest Place on Earth thanks to our theme parks and attractions. But the tourists don’t know about our best-kept secret: my Happiest Place on Earth: the Orange County Library System. Why? Let me share my #story.
My family and I moved to Orlando eighteen years ago, leaving our beloved family in Venezuela to seek a better future for our three kids who were then 2, 9 and 13 years old. Living on a budget and new to the area, I found the library to be a resourceful place to find useful information. It was also a great place to entertain and educate my kids with programs, books, audio books, and other services–all free of charge! Our first decade here was basically focused on my family’s needs.
Then around 2007, I fell in love with romance books. I was a lone reader and had no friends who loved the genre to share my new passion with. So a few years later, in 2010, I wrote my first fan mail letter to New York Times Bestselling Author Kristan Higgins. She was so genuine and kind! A real person, just like me! She invited me to follow her on Facebook. That’s when I discovered Romancelandia, a wonderful and supportive online community! I was so happy to engage with other readers and authors around the world. I found my tribe! YES!!!
A couple of years later I started my blog, Lorelei’s Lit Lair. I took some workshops at the Alafaya Library to learn how to build one. One day, I shared with enthusiasm my blogging experience with Danielle King, who at the time was the Manager of the Alafaya Branch. She was so impressed and saw a wonderful opportunity to share my vision of romance with others. I was honored to have a table to showcase recommendations of some of my favorite authors and books for patrons to check out.
Soon after, I began hosting monthly meetings, and the idea to host the first annual Romance, Wine & Chocolate was born. For three years in a row, the event has been at capacity, and we are now making preparations to celebrate the 4th Annual Romance, Wine & Chocolate event on August 30th. This year, we moved the event to the Chickasaw Branch to accommodate more readers because last year’s event sold out in twelve hours!
I dare say “Romance, Wine & Chocolate” is the Best Free Romance Reader Event in Orlando FL!
[Note: While #RWC19 is a free event, you must register at RWC-2019.eventbrite.com]
In 2018, the Orange County Library System was one of ten national institutions to win the National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. That’s like winning an Oscar! This award is the highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant contributions to their communities. I’m not surprised. I’ve always said my library is the best!
I was humbled when they asked me to share my story, and honored to be featured in their Annual Report along with other fine members of the community. This is not your average, boring report. You’ll see at the end of this post a link to all the fun and interesting facts, short stories, so beautifully presented in 13 colorful pages. It’s more like a yearbook!
Going from being a lone romance reader to an advocate for the Romance Community, to hosting annual Romance, Wine & Chocolate events locally which feature some of the best and emerging authors in the industry, I couldn’t have done this without the partnership and support of the Orange County Library System who have helped me expand my reach.
Today Lorelei’s Lit Lair has almost 4,000 followers and subscribers, and I’m so grateful to all the authors, readers, reviewers, and Lit Lair Ladies who have made me the Happiest Blogger on Earth. At least that’s how I feel. I hope to continue spreading fiction with heart, romance and joy to others through books and events like these.
THANK YOU, ORANGE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM and FOLLOWERS! Orange County Library System Annual Report 2018
I also discovered a wonderful blogger community through OCLS:
They’re hosting the 9th annual Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference ~Saturday, September 7th at Full Sail University. Learn more and get your tickets here. This will be my 3rd year attending!
Their theme this year is ‘Tell your #story’, which inspired me to create this post and to celebrate our wonderful community!
Do you have a place that makes you happy in your area? Do you visit your library? I’d love to hear about your best kept secret place to visit. Share in the comments!
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