The Orinda Library began in 1914 as a small book collection in the local schoolhouse. From 1956-1958, Orindans raised $115,000 to build the first library on Irwin Way. Years later, the new library was built as a partnership—the Friends of the Orinda Library own the physical building, the City of Orinda owns the land, and the library is operated by the Contra Costa County Library system. The Orinda Library is the only Friends-owned library in the county.
The Friends of the Orinda Library were formed in the 1950s. From 1997-2001, we raised over 75% of the funds (over five million dollars) to build the new library that you see today.
The Friends of the Orinda Library play a central role in supporting the day-to-day operations of the library, raising over $80,000 annually. We have also been a driving force behind several parcel tax campaigns to provide funds to keep our library open 60 hours per week.
The Friends of the Orinda Library is a 501(c)(3) California non-profit corporation made up of over 500 local residents and is run by a Board of Directors, made up of over 25 volunteer members.
What We Do
The Friends of the Orinda Library purchase over 85% of the library’s new materials each year, including:
- 5,000 new books
- DVDs, including popular movies, TV shows, and documentaries
- Audiobooks on CD
- Subscriptions to over 80 magazines, among them Architectural Digest, Bicycling, Consumer Reports, Cooks Illustrated, Discover, Garden Design, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Real Simple, Runner’s World, Scientific American, Vogue, Wine Spectator, and many children’s magazines
- Subscriptions to highly-valued financial periodicals, including Barron’s, The Economist, Investor’s Business Daily, S&P Outlook, Value Line, and The Wall Street Journal.
In addition, the Friends fund many of the library’s enrichment programs for children, teens, and adults, including:
- The Summer and Winter Concert Series
- Speaker Programs
- The Summer Reading Programs
- Lamorinda Reads
- Paws to Read
- Annual Poul Anderson Creative Writing Contest for high school students
How We Do It
The Friends of the Orinda Library funds these wonderful programs in two ways:
Who We Are
Book Sorting Room
Art in Public Places
Writing Contest Coordinator