Talk of the Towne
OPLF Library Legacy Gala

Back in the late 1990s when the City of Orange Public Library Foundation (OPLF) formed to raise funds for pending library construction, those in the group decided that a gala would get the ball rolling. Their first event in 2004 highlighted a western theme, and the following year they hosted an “Orange Crate Cabaret.”

“The galas always feature fun themes, and they’re a real treat for everyone who attends,” says Priscilla Selman, secretary of the OPLF’s board and director of special events. She oversees the galas, including this year’s festivities to be held on the grounds of the new 210-acre Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center.

The wilderness-themed event on Sunday, April 22nd from 4 - 9 pm will feature smoker and mesquite-grilled BBQ, beer tasting, live music, native wild animal presentations and live and silent auctions. “We’ll enjoy music from a Chapman University percussion group, as well as guitarists,” says Selman. Local history will also be shared with the display of photos from a private collection featuring Irvine Park circa the 1940s.

“We often tie historical events to the gala themes when appropriate,” says Selman. “For instance, the 2008 gala commemorated the 1940s, while at the same time celebrated the History Center at the library,” she says of the event, which featured the appearance of three song leaders who graduated from Orange High School in 1945. All in their eighties, Irene Gardner Hobbs, Norma Kustel Beck and Norma Christopher Winton, were happy to attend the event.

Another highlight of this year’s gala is the presentation of the Library Legacy Awards by MC Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez, says Associate Director of the Foundation Julie Kramer. “Those distinguished individuals and organizations to receive special recognition this year are Joanne Coontz, who will be presented with the Community Leadership Legacy Award. The Education Legacy Award will go to the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, and the Mead Family will receive the History Legacy Award.”

The annual gala is the main fundraising effort of the OPLF, which was established in 1998 as a collaborative effort by local leaders and municipal officials to develop an outstanding Orange Library system. Since 2002, more than 80 individuals, families, businesses and organizations made over a million dollars in cash and in-kind donations to the foundation to help fund the Main Library & History Center and maintain high-quality library materials and facilities.

For information regarding this year’s gala, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact Julie Kramer at (714) 288-2470;, or visit Admission is $75 per person.

Published in the Mar/Apr 2012 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Written by Julie Bawden-Davis, Photograph by Julie Kramer

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