About the Library

Founding


The Library was founded in 1885, making it one of the oldest libraries in Orange County. Postmaster Robert E. Tener donated his collection of 300 books and ran the library as a private organization, using dues from the members to build and maintain the collection. The Library itself was housed in the (former) Post Office Building on South Glassell. It remained a private membership organization until 1894, when it was turned over to the City of Orange.
This is a watercolor painting which renders three Main Library buildings from 1905, 1961 and 2007.

Carnegie Building


In 1905, the City was a recipient of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic work and was granted funding for a new library building.  The Carnegie building was located at the corner of Chapman and Center streets where the Orange Public Library & History Center stands today. 

City Population Grows - Taft and El Modena Branch Libraries Built


The Carnegie building was demolished in 1961 to make way for a new 17,000 square foot “Main” Library, which would provide service to a [then] projected population of 40,000 residents.  As the population grew, so did the Library.  The Taft Branch Library opened in northeast Orange in 1969 and the El Modena Branch Library opened in the east-end of the city in 1978.

Expansion - Orange Public Library & History Center


In 2007, the “Main” Library underwent an expansion and was transformed to a 45,000 square foot space.  The new building garnered a new name – Orange Public Library & History Center.  In addition to the long awaited History Center, the expansion provided space for a children's library, teen zone, quiet study rooms and a homework center.

Orange Public Library Today


We serve more than 140,000 residents through a variety of traditional services including print materials, DVDs, music, and entertaining/educational programs for all ages.  In addition, we provide on-trend services such as: Internet access, Wi-Fi for mobile devices, digital content, and e-services.  We strive to be  responsive to the modern day needs of our patrons, while honoring our heritage and maintaining the longstanding connection with the Orange community through preservation of the City's rich history.  Click here to download the OPL Celebration Report: 2017.

Mission Statement


To welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning to preserve local history and to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and technology.