Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.

Photo: Long Beach Public Library. Mary Hinds with her husband, Lt. Col. Steve Hinds, at the June 9, 2018 Main Library Veterans Resource Center.

“Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.” These are the words carved into the arch that Mary Hancock Hinds walked through every time she entered Long Beach Polytechnic High School as a student. Mary heard the message loud and clear and went on to become a true champion of education and community involvement in Long Beach.

Mary was born and raised in Long Beach and has been a life-long visitor of the public libraries. She signed up for her first library card in 1949 and has since turned to the Library whenever she was interested in learning something new. Mary went on to inspire learning in countless young people. After earning her BA from Mills College and her MA from Cal State Los Angeles, she taught in Long Beach, Carson, Belgium, and Okinawa, Japan. She also worked as an education reporter for the Press-Telegram.

In 1999, Mary returned to Long Beach when her husband, Lt. Col. Steve Hinds, retired from the Marine Corps. Mayor Beverly O’Neill connected Mary with Margaret Durnin and Gene Richey who invited Mary to join the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors. Mary contributed her many talents to the Board in various roles including Board Secretary, Co-chair of the Grape Expectations fundraiser, newsletter writer, and public relations representative.

However, one of Mary’s greatest acts of service to literacy and education came when she Co-chaired the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Campaign with fellow Board member Rick Alsagoff. The campaign earned over $1 million in donations to support programs at the Library which opened in the Fall of 2016. The new Library is the largest and most modern of the city’s neighborhood branch libraries. It serves as a replacement to the previous North Long Beach Library where Mary received her first library card as a child.

Today, Mary serves as a member of the Board of Directors of several Long Beach community organizations including the Library Foundation, WomenShelter Long Beach, the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation, and the Historical Society of Long Beach. She co-founded the Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force and is a member of the Junior League of Long Beach.

A lifelong Elvis fan, Mary’s groundbreaking book, Infinite Elvis, is found in more than 150 public and university libraries worldwide, as well as the archives at Graceland. She just completed a children’s mystery novel set at Rancho Los Cerritos in the 1880s.

Mary still visits the Library to learn and serve her community.

Expanding Horizons – A Library Story

You can support much-needed free Library programs for your Long Beach neighbors, like Saram, with a tax-deductible gift.

Click to Expand Horizons

At 27 years-old, Saram Routh knew it wasn’t too late to achieve her dream of earning her high school diploma, but she wasn’t quite sure how to get started on this goal. When Saram was a teenager, schooling had to take the back burner to pressing personal life issues. As she became older and more mature, she realized that not having a high school diploma was keeping her from making the best life possible for her beautiful, supportive family.

Photo: Long Beach Public Library. Saram Routh (Right) with General Librarian and Career Online High School Coordinator, Gina Robinson

Luckily, a few of Saram’s family members and friends had personal experience with Career Online High School, an accredited high school completion program offered by Long Beach Public Library through a partnership with Gale, a Cengage company. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation supports this program with scholarships, giving students the opportunity to earn their diploma for free.

“I’m always on the go,” shared Saram. “Every day I take my kids from school, work at my full-time job, keep an eye on my kids when they’re home, make my family dinner and do a million other things. I knew that for a program to work, I would need to be able to complete it on my schedule and from wherever I happened to be at the time.” Fortunately, Career Online High School is 100% online, so students can access their course materials at any time on their computers or on one the computers at any of the 12 Long Beach Public Libraries.

Gina Robinson, Career Online High School coordinator and librarian at the Long Beach Public Library, sees the Career Online High School program as a perfect complement to the other Long Beach Public Library programs: “Like our city, the library is always changing,” she said. “Libraries are for education and lifelong learning, and Career Online High School is a key component in that.” The library admitted its first adult students just two short years ago and has already celebrated the achievements of 36 graduates, including Saram. Currently, 40 Long Beach residents are working their way through the program, and the library still has many scholarships available to residents who are 19-years-old or older and would like to apply. Learn more about the application process at lbpl.org/events/cohs.

“Overall, my success with the program has helped further my belief that life isn’t about finding yourself — it’s about creating yourself,” shared Saram. Creating yourself is easiest when you have a support network to help you along the way. “My academic coach throughout this process provided that support for me,” she said. “She motivated me with kind words and pushed me to realize my full potential even when I was losing faith.” Each Career Online High School student is assigned their own personal academic coach to provide feedback about progress and offer connections to additional resources, should the student need them.

What’s next for Saram? The future is wide open! “I see big changes ahead now that I’ve earned my diploma and filled this missing point of my life. Doors have opened for me, and I’m already finding opportunities that I couldn’t have dreamed of before.” Saram plans to go to college once she determines what specific career is her passion. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do, and now I have the foundation I need to explore my passions!”

Story prepared in partnership with Gale, a Cengage company.

Photo: Long Beach Public Library. (Left to right) Saram Routh with her fellow graduates at their August 18, 2018 graduation ceremony; Dr. Tiffany Brown, LBUSD Assistant Superintendent and commencement speaker; Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services.

Summer 2018 Newsletter

Check out the Long Beach Public Library Foundation newsletter for Summer 2018 featuring news about our latest literacy programs, the Mobile Studio powered by Andeavor, Grape Expectations, and the new Main Library. Thank you to our donors for making this possible!

Honoring Jack and Barbara Irvin

We were proud to honor Jack and Barbara Irvin with the Durnin Family Award at our 2018 Grape Expectations gala for their dedication to libraries and literacy.

Libraries have played a significant role in the Irvins’ lives as they raised their family in Long Beach. Barbara would often take their sons, Michael and Brian, to the Bay Shore Neighborhood Library and instilled in them a love of literacy.

Jack and Barbara were first invited to support the Long Beach Public Library Foundation by their dear friend and founder of the Library Foundation, Margaret Durnin, nearly two decades ago. Jack has served on the Library Foundation Board of Directors for 18 years. The Irvins have given generously to many library programs, but have a fondness in their hearts for the great impact that the early literacy programs have had on Long Beach.

As Long Beach residents for the past 57 years, real estate agents, and parents who have seen their children and grandchildren, Ethan and Emerson, educated in the city’s public schools, Jack and Barbara want to help build up Long Beach into a safe and nurturing city for all families. The Library Foundation supports programs like the Family Learning Center Program, Dictionary Days, the Summer Reading Program, and Dive into Reading which have encouraged hundreds of thousands of Long Beach youth to become lifelong readers.

Jack and Barbara recently celebrated 47 years of marriage. Their nest has emptied with Michael going to USC and Brian going to UCLA. Michael lives in Los Angeles and works for RealD, a 3D technology company. Jack, Barbara, and Brian are now Team Irvin, a real estate business that is a part of Coldwell Banker Coastal Alliance. They are committed to continuing their support of libraries and literacy programs that create a more successful future for local children and Long Beach.

A Nurturing Place to Succeed – Nariah’s Story

Nariah has been visiting the Family Learning Center since her sophomore year of high school. High school can be a stressful time with difficult classes and all the preparation it takes to graduate and move on to the next step. When Nariah first discovered the Library, she would usually go to Dana Neighborhood Library or Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and do her homework in the public space. Even though she was able to get her work done, she discovered that the Family Learning Centers at both branches provide an environment that was more helpful to her.

Because she doesn’t have a computer with internet access at home, Nariah appreciates that the Family Learning Centers have computers she can use. The centers are staffed by Learning Guides offering one-on-one guidance for homework and research.

“The Library is a big reason reason I push myself to be something. I enjoy meeting new people and the staff. I feel comfortable in this environment.”

Today, Nariah is a Library volunteer and enjoys supporting the librarians and staff who have supported her.

The Family Learning Center program is funded by the Library Foundation and offers support to students, job seekers, seniors, veterans, and anyone else who visits the Library looking for guidance with a project or research. You can support this program with a tax-deductible donation to celebrate National Library Month. CLICK HERE


Connecting and Making a Difference – Steve’s Story

Steve Leary first visited the Long Beach Public Library in 2008. At that time, he was apprehensive about using one of the library’s computers. Due to the high cost of internet, he didn’t have a computer at home. With encouragement from his younger sister, who lives in Ireland and wanted to be able to communicate with him online, Steve gave it a try. The Library offers a General Computer Use class that gave Steve the opportunity to receive one-on-one support to set up his email and use basic programs.

Learning how to communicate online has opened a whole new world for Steve. As a civic-minded Long Beach resident, Steve uses email and social media to connect with Mayor Garcia and City Councilmembers about the issues that matter most to him. He supports nonprofit organizations and community groups that he first connects with online. In April 2018, The Grunion published an Op-Ed by Steve in which he expressed his support for Urban Community Outreach, a nonprofit offering services to Long Beach’s homeless population. He is currently in the city’s Neighborhood Leadership Program to develop more skills, knowledge, and resources to make a difference in Long Beach.

Steve was able to discover these opportunities with the Library computers. It is estimated that 25% of Long Beach households do not have an adequate internet portal, and Steve is one of the residents without a connection. However, the computers available at the Library have had a major impact on his life. He has visited almost every branch, but usually goes to the Alamitos Neighborhood Library.

Every day the Library opens new doors for people like Steve. You can support Library programs with a tax-deductible donation to celebrate National Library Month. CLICK HERE

Library Career Online High School Graduating Class of 2018!

In 2016, the Long Beach Public Library began offering the Career Online High School program for local adults, who were not able to graduate during their youth, to earn their accredited high school diploma through an online program at the Library. The Library Foundation supports this program with scholarships to make this opportunity accessible to those who need it. So far, 28 students have graduated.

On March 10, 2018 nine of these students celebrated their graduation in front of family and friends. Many at the ceremony spoke of their family serving as inspiration for their hard work including commencement speaker, Tracy Colunga, Innovation Team Director for the City of Long Beach.

These graduates can now transfer their credits to continue their education at a community college or university.

Check out the video below to hear from the proud graduates themselves.


Danita Humphrey Honored with Go Long Beach Award

On March 16, Mayor Robert Garcia held the annual Go Long Beach Awards, to honor bright stars in Long Beach who are doing incredible things in our community. We are so proud to say that Danita Humphrey, of our Board of Directors Executive Committee, was honored for her passion for helping others.

In addition to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, Danita serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Young Horizons Child Care Centers and the American Red Cross – Greater Long Beach Chapter. She is also the Past President of the Junior League of Long Beach.

A Story from the Library – Aarron and Erica

You can help us write stories like Aarron and Erica’s at LBPLfoundation.org/donation

A second grader named Aarron Coleman once walked across the street from his school to the Burnett Neighborhood Library for the first time. After school, the library buzzes with young students looking for a safe place to go in a neighborhood where the poverty rate is nearly double the city average. Aarron was looking to check out a book, but he found so much more.

In the decade since Aarron first walked into that library, he has grown into an impressive young man, He could often be found in the Library’s Family Learning Center working with a Learning Guide on his homework. As he entered middle school, his homework assignments became more demanding, including reports on historical events, analysis of great literary works, advanced math problems, and science projects. The Long Beach Public Library has supported him and his family along the way.

The Family Learning Centers, funded by the Library Foundation, are available to patrons at each of the 12 city libraries. Learning Center Guides provide vital academic support in the areas of math, science, technology, English language learning and job skills enhancement. Thousands of families like Aarron’s rely on the Family Learning Centers for homework help, job search and résumé support.

Aarron is now a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School where he plays on the football team, studies hard in four Advanced Placement classes, participates in Mock Court, and serves as an ambassador to the local middle schools on college readiness and library resources. He has worked very hard for his success and through the years he has received crucial guidance from senior librarian, Erica Lansdown.

When you meet Erica, it is immediately clear that she has a passion and gift for helping students. Erica has worked at Burnett Library for over a decade. She recalls fondly how Aarron grew from a mischievous boy, discovering and learning so much through library programs. Like all LBUSD third graders, Aarron received a free dictionary through the Library’s Dictionary Days, a Long Beach Public Library Foundation program supported by the Miller Foundation. Aarron still has that dictionary today, and he even volunteered at last year’s Dictionary Days festivities.

Today, Aarron is very busy with school and extracurricular activities, but he still visits the Burnett Neighborhood Library to catch up with Erica. He discusses his college applications with her and is already thinking ahead to law school. One of his college application essays focuses on how the library made a difference in his life.

The programs that Aarron participated in throughout his childhood are supported by the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and are made possible thanks to your generous support. You can help the library keep and grow these vital programs with your donation.

Your investment in our libraries, and library patrons like Aarron, shapes the future for them and for our city.

Help us write more stories like Aarron and Erica’s at LBPLfoundation.org/donation