The Marion County Public Library System (the Library System) provides public library services to the residents of Marion County, Florida. The Library System is comprised of interdependent libraries and collections designed to make its total resources readily available and accessible to the community.
In 1961 the City of Ocala, Citrus County and Levy County formed the Central Florida Regional Library. The City of Ocala operated and funded virtually all library service in Marion County until 1964, when Marion County, with existing libraries in Belleview and Dunnellon, joined the Library System. Citrus County left the system in 1987. On Oct. 1, 1997, the Marion County Board of County Commissioners became the governing body of the Marion County Public Library System. By an interlocal agreement, library personnel continued to be administrated by the City of Ocala until October 1999, when they became Marion County employees. Also in October 1999, the Levy County Board of Commissioners created the independent Levy County Public Library System.
Operations for the Marion County Public Library System are funded by Marion County ad valorem taxes. The Library System also receives funds from various grants, miscellaneous fines and fees and an annual State Aid to Libraries grant from the State of Florida.
The residents of Marion County are served by the Headquarters-Ocala location in Ocala and seven branches in Belleview, Dunnellon, Forest Corners, Fort McCoy, Marion Oaks, Reddick and southwest Marion County (Freedom Public Library, near the State Road 200 corridor). The Marion County Bookmobile provides library service to outlying areas of the county. Daycare centers, private schools, retirement complexes and housing communities in Ocala are served by the Community Bookmobile. (Click here for library locations and hours as well as bookmobile schedules.)
The System offers a collection of more than 549,099 volumes in the eight libraries and two bookmobiles. A broad-based print and non-print collection makes the Marion County Public Library Headquarters-Ocala the major public library resource in the System. The smaller collections of the community branch libraries are planned to satisfy the most general and frequent needs of the residents. Public access computers and Wi-Fi are available at each public library branch.
The Library System has more than 225,118 registered borrowers. During FY 10-11, more than 1,424,614 items were circulated and more than 1,224,758 questions were answered. Also during that same period, those visiting the library used more than 796,227 items while in the library. Library facilities are open from three to seven days per week. The Marion County Public Library, Headquarters-Ocala is open seven days per week.
The Library System is bordered by Alachua, Levy, Citrus, Sumter, Lake, Putnam and Volusia counties. Of these, the Library System has reciprocal borrowing agreements with Alachua, Lake, Levy and Citrus counties which allow citizens from Marion County to obtain a free library card in the respective counties and vice versa.
Recent and Upcoming Events
On Feb. 13, 2010 the 10,800 square foot, LEED gold-certified Forest Public Library opened, more than doubling the library space for Forest area residents. Property acquisition and construction costs were largely funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant and Local Option sales tax proceeds. For information on future plans, reference the Marion County Public Library System's Long Range Plan which can be accessed on this website (click here).