The Peninsula Friends of the Library are busy planning a big honkin’ gala to kick off its annual fundraiser as well as organizing a couple of fab trips to places like Croatia or New Orleans.

The gala, dubbed “Night on Bourbon Street” will be held on March 9 at the Peninsula Center Library featuring an evening of scrumptious food and toe-tapping music. Revelers will enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling of supporting the Palos Verdes Library District (PVLD) while being entertained by The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band—the one and same featured at Disneyland.

Epicurean delights for the evening will be supplied by Primal Alchemy, which bills itself as “the first Southern California chef-owned, food-forward catering company focusing on local, seasonal cuisine utilizing sustainable practices.”

In other words, Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Executive Director of Peninsula Friends of the Library Colleen Cotter said the gala is a combination effort to raise money and find new donors and members.

“Our goal by June 30, 2019 is to have 1,000 members—right now we have over 800,” Cotter said. “Members and donors in our community support the Peninsula Friends of the Library to keep our PVLD one of the best in the country.”

Cotter said members can join the Friends for as little as $25 yearly, or whatever is most comfortable.

Additionally, as part of the Friends’ fundraising effort, they are working with Collette, a hundred-year-old, family-owned tour company and Sharon Ryan owner of An Uncommon Journey travel agency in Palos Verdes Estates to host two awe-inspiring trips.

Discover Croatia, Slovenia and the Adriatic Coast is being offered with multiple discounts on Oct. 21 to Nov.1, 2019 with part of the proceeds going toward the Friends of the Library.

Another trip, America's Music Cities, to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville on Oct. 20 to Oct. 27, 2019 is also being offered in concert with the Friends of the Library’s fundraising efforts.

The last day to sign up is April 15.

Palos Verdes Estates resident Sharron Parke recently attended a presentation about the two trips which were co-hosted at the Peninsula Library with Collette and An Uncommon Journey representatives.

As vice president of the library’s board of directors Parke heard about the library’s new travel program and wanted to see if the Croatian trip was a good fit for her and husband Bob, who happened to be volunteering downstairs in the Library gift shop that day.

Both agreed the Croatian trip was something that interested them.

But for the Parkes, the Croatian excursion is more than just a holiday for them.

“We have several trips planned this year because it’s our 50th wedding anniversary,” Bob Parke said. “This is one of the key trips we are planning. The price on this one is better than any of the other ones we’ve seen.”

The Peninsula Friends of the Library is the sole fundraising organization of the PVLD. The all-volunteer membership organization was founded by a group of devoted library supporters in 1961 to enhance the services and programs of the Peninsula’s three libraries.

Today the Friends provide about $400,000 annually to PVLD, and the endowment has grown to more than $1.5 million. The Friends are now an integral component of PVLD—supporting 1,000 programs a year including summer reading, outreach to seniors, book sales, special events, volunteers, funding of the Teen Annex, and providing five percent of the Library’s budget, without which the peninsula libraries would be forced to reduce operating hours and cut services.

But more help is needed.

“Without continued support, we would not be able to fund many projects and programs,” Cotter said. “Having more Friends is good for our Library District and our community.”

Tickets for A Night on Bourbon Street are $175 and includes an open bar. Visit

For trip information and reservations visit: or call Sharon Ryan at 310-540-4304.

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