Long Beach Public Library Foundation

From Job Seeker to Paralegal

Megan needed a job so she turned to the Library Foundation supported Family Learning Center at the Mark Twain Neighborhood Library. Read her letter of gratitude below.

I have been searching for a job in my new profession for 18 months and have had no luck…until today! I just received an offer letter to which I accepted.

The library resources at Mark Twain have been a God-send during my search. In addition, the Library staff have been extremely supportive and so kind. They truly made my job search experience better by just being here. They have been so supportive and helpful. It felt as if they were part of my job search team.

I earned my paralegal certificate and finally was offered a paralegal position at a tremendous family law practice so I would like to thank you.

I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life.

Thank you again,
Name has been changed at writer’s request.
Learn how you can support the Family Learning Center program and other free library services that make a difference in the lives of library patrons like Megan.

A Deep Dive into Reading – A Library Story

You can support free library programs that make a difference in the lives of families like Kadrin’s. Click the link below to make a tax-deductible donation. Any amount makes a difference.

Click to Donate

“You can see how her imagination is growing and she is learning all these new words,” Kadrin says as she watches her daughter explore the children’s section of the Main Library. They have been visiting the Library since her daughter was only 8 months old, enjoying the weekly Baby Storytime. Now they attend the Toddler Storytime and visit the Library at least twice per week. They have visited several Long Beach Public Libraries, but Main Library is their favorite thanks to the many children’s programs and the extensive collection of books.

Kadrin registered for the Dive into Reading program in April of this year when it first launched. The program is supported by donations to the Library Foundation and provides parents and guardians with tools and resources to help them read 1,000 books to their children before kindergarten. Book trackers are provided and guidance from librarians is available as well as opportunities to earn prizes. Progress walls have appeared at some of the libraries where families can see how far they’ve come in reaching the 1,000-book goal. Kadrin and her daughter have read over 620 books so far.

While the program encourages caregivers to read any children’s book, including repeating favorite books to their children, Kadrin took this as a challenge to complete the program by only reading new books from the Library. The popular Llama Llama series is a favorite of her daughter’s along with stories by Dr. Seuss and other books that rhyme or have a rhythm.

Kadrin also incorporates language lessons into her reading sessions. She reads the books in English first and then reads them again in her native Estonian to teach her daughter both languages. Since her daughter does not attend pre-school, the Library’s free programs like Dive into Reading and weekly storytime events provide social interaction and valuable learning opportunities.

A yellow fish marks Kadrin’s daughter’s progress on a nautically decorated wall in the Main Library children’s section. They are excited to continue the program and read 1,000 books and beyond before kindergarten.

To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library – New York Times Op-ed

“The founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage…” writes NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge Director Eric Klinenberg in his September 8, 2018 op-ed for the New York Times.

In his article, “To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library,” Klinenberg challenges the notion that libraries are obsolete. He points out that,  “According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a ‘major impact on their community.’” Despite this, public libraries are often restricted with tighter and tighter budgets making it difficult for these centers of learning and community building across the country to meet the many needs of families, children, students, older people, veterans, the disabled, and everyone else who depends on the Library.

Read Klinenberg’s full op-ed at nyti.ms/2x1kpLv.
And consider helping the Library Foundation support much-needed and free Long Beach Public Library programs. Your donation will help the Library transform lives and could even help create a more civil society here in Long Beach.

Click to Donate

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!

Long Beach Post: Online Services are no match for Long Beach’s Libraries

On July 26, 2018, The Grunion shared the following op-ed by Mayor Robert Garcia and our Executive Director, Kate Azar.

You can read the article below or click through to the Long Beach Post.

Despite these changing times when information is readily available to many people, libraries remain a critical resource in Long Beach today and they will continue to be in the future. They cannot be replaced by some online resources, as was claimed in a recent proposal in Forbes(Editor’s note: After significant backlash, the article has since been taken down.)

Our libraries provide much needed access to books and community spaces but this just scratches the surface of their offerings. The services of the Long Beach Public Library go beyond anything that can be found online and most of the services are free. Our libraries offer daily educational programs for patrons of all ages, job development workshops, computer and internet access, and many other programs and services to address the needs of families, students, seniors, those with disabilities, veterans, job seekers, and anyone else who wishes to learn. Here are just a few ways that our libraries provide value:

Books, Books, and More

Many of us enjoy a home collection of our favorite books, but only in our libraries will you find a seemingly endless catalog that will open your mind to new worlds both real and fictional. There are over 800,000 books, audio books, DVDs, and recordings available. Can’t find what you need? Ask a librarian. They are always expanding their catalog and looking for suggestions from patrons.

If you prefer your books digital, your Long Beach Public Library card gives you free access to an extensive library of e-books and audio books that you can download through the Cloud Library, Libby, OverDrive and Axis 360 apps straight to your computer, tablet or smartphone. Some have even traded in their $15 per month audio book subscription for the free Libby app.

Free access to non-fiction works, research texts and academic journals can save students hundreds and even thousands of dollars on books for school. With the country’s student loan debt recently reaching $1.5 trillion, every dollar counts when saving money on education. As a bonus, librarians and library staff can help patrons find the right resources. Many people turn to our archives to research their own genealogy, saving those hefty fees for popular genealogy websites and services.


DVD rentals live on at the library with recent blockbuster hits like “Black Panther”and popular TV shows like “Game of Thrones.” You can also stream critically acclaimed indie films, documentaries and classic movies at home through the Kanopy app with your library card.

You can even go to the movies at the library. The Main Library is currently hosting a Marilyn Monroe film series on the big screen in their auditorium and many of the local branches host movie screenings in their community rooms. With movie tickets and popcorn prices always increasing, it’s refreshing to get out of the heat and enjoy a good flick for free.

Internet Access

All 12 library branches offer general use computers and free Wi-Fi. For many in our community, the library is the only place they can access a computer or the internet. In fact, one in four  households in Long Beach do not have an adequate portal to the internet. Some of these residents only have access through smartphones which do not allow them to complete their homework assignments, draft resumes, complete job applications, explore job postings, and anything else that requires a computer with internet access. Our libraries even have qualified Learning Guides on standby to help with homework or job search related projects.

Professional Development

Want to learn how to use the latest Adobe design programs or take a class in accounting, Excel, or Spanish? Why pay hefty tuition fees when you can learn it for free online with your library card? Download the Mango Languages app and enter your library card number for free language lessons, take practice SAT, GRE or civil service tests on LearningExpress, receive resume and job search support through Brainfuse JobNow, or explore the many Gale Courses to learn how to use the latest computer software, earn professional certificates, and more.

When individuals develop marketable job skills and advance their careers, it benefits the economic well-being of their families and our entire community.

Lifelong Learning

Patrons of all ages continue to learn and socialize at the library. Families can attend weekly bilingual storytime and early childhood reading programs; children and teens can combat the “summer slide” and have fun competing for prizes in the Summer Reading program; older readers can join book clubs; adults can earn their accredited high school diploma through the Library’s Career Online High School; creative minds of all ages can receive instruction in 3D printing, graphic design, video game design, robotics and coding. The list of educational programs goes on and on and it’s all free with a library card.

Funding the Long Beach Public Library is a valuable investment in our city’s education system and our economy. And these services will continue to expand with the new Main Library, downtown’s new center of learning, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. Not only can the many free services our library offers save you money, but they are also crucial to our city’s low-income residents who rely on the library for more than just books and socialization.

Long Beach libraries provide hundreds of free services that allow the city’s residents to enrich their own lives, making our city a safer and more economically successful place to live. Check out the library’s full calendar of programs and events at LBPL.org.

If you love the library and want to invest in our community, visit the Long Beach Public Library Foundation at lbplfoundation.org.

Take Action for Libraries!

Take Action for Libraries!

Today, the American Library Association has gathered hundreds of librarians and library advocates from across the country to meet with their Representatives and Senators in Washington D.C. about the importance of supporting libraries on the national level.

You can join them by calling your representatives today and tomorrow to express your support for the Long Beach Public Library and telling them what a difference libraries have made in your life.

What to Tell Your Representatives

We join the American Library Association in asking our Representatives and Senators to support the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 (S. 2271). This bill reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services and allows it to continue funding libraries nationwide through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The LSTA needs support to be fully funded in the next fiscal year and reach the 120,000 libraries which benefit from its contributions. This is a bipartisan piece of legislation that needs more support to move forward.
Just last year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries, to the Long Beach Public Library.

Make the Call

After you call, invite your friends to join and celebrate National Library Legislative Day with #NLLD2018 on social media.
Long Beach Federal Representatives
Senator Dianne Feinstein
(310) 914-7300
EmailSenator Kamala Harris
(310) 231-4494

Congressman Alan Lowenthal
(562) 436-3828

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán
(310) 831-1799

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

Visit Your Local Public Library (Opinion)

The following letter to the editor by our Board President, Susan Redfield, appeared in the March 22, 2018 issue of the Press-Telegram. To view the original letter on the Press-Telegram’s website, Click HERE.

Re “California librarian not a prim post at all” (Opinion, March 17):

Thank you for Larry Wilson’s piece about Greg Lucas, California’s state librarian. Like Greg, our libraries are so much more than the dated stereotypes people sometimes recall.

In Long Beach, our libraries have joined the 21st Century, offering more than just books. Over 1 million patrons visited our city libraries last year to access digital resources, 3D printers, free coding classes, homework help, job skills training and more.

In 2016, the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library branch opened in north Long Beach, an area that very much needed the community resources it offered. More than 5,000 people visited opening day, including many who made small contributions to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s $1 million fundraising campaign for the library. Since then, the library’s visits have increased by 70 percent and program participation has increased by 90 percent.

The Long Beach Public Library will further modernize with a new main library in downtown Long Beach. Praised as one of the most innovative public-private partnerships in the state, the new library will be a beacon of education and economic development in Long Beach, transforming the lives of patrons and our community.

Even if you are lucky enough to rely on your smartphones as the main source of information, it’s time to visit your local public library. You’ll be impressed by what you find.

— Susan Redfield, Long Beach
The letter writer is president of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of the Directors.