Long Beach Public Library Foundation


LONG BEACH, California, June 24, 2020 – The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, in partnership with the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) and local faith leaders, has launched a fund for materials and programs related to race, equity, and justice at the Long Beach Public Library.

As an extension of the Library’s African American Resource Collection, supported and curated by AAHS-LB, this fund will support the purchase of new materials including books, eBooks, and audiobooks that promote the voices, narratives, and histories of African Americans. The fund will also support similarly-themed events and activities hosted by the Library. Programs and materials will also educate the public on issues such as anti-Black racism, white privilege, white supremacy, mass incarceration, other forms of institutional racism, and human rights issues that have plagued our society.

“The African American Heritage Society of Long Beach is proud to partner with the Long Beach Public Library Foundation to launch the fund for race, equity, and justice resources at the Library,” said Nicole Ballard, President of AAHS-LB. “Since 1619, people of African descent have endured devastating physiological, psychological, and socio-economic trauma from systemic racism and oppression in all of its forms. I believe that public acknowledgment of these critical issues, combined with resources and community support, will yield positive, meaningful changes. Therefore, we remain dedicated to preserving and expanding public awareness of the rich history and culture of Africans and African Americans through literacy and community programming.”

“Because of this effort, I am pleased that we are able to provide more resources on the issues of systemic oppression of Black people and the social injustices that people of color encounter on a daily basis,” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services for the Long Beach Public Library.

“As an organization that has long advocated for equity in education and literacy, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation board and staff wholeheartedly agree Black lives matter. When Reverends Melinda Teter Dodge and Katy Hyman approached us on behalf of a faith community looking to take action, we agreed our role in ending systematic racism would be to ensure anti-racist education was widely available to all who were committed to learning,” said Sharon Weissman, President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. “Funding resources to educate the public on white privilege, racism, and African American heritage is a critical component to finding equity for all members of the Long Beach community,”

This fund was conceived when local faith leaders, Reverend Teter Dodge and Reverend Hyman, contacted the Library Foundation to form a collaboration in support of broad community access to anti-racist educational resources through the Long Beach Public Library system.

“To become anti-racist, we must enact and support broad and deep systemic change, and that kind of change begins from within us. It begins—within our nation—within our states, cities, workplaces, communities, neighborhoods, home, and families.  But, most of all, this change begins within our own individual hearts,” said Reverend Teter Dodge. “We must take the steps to open our hearts to our own perpetuating systemic and individual racism and white privilege as well as hear from and listen deeply to the narratives of our African American communities.”

“White Christianity has actively contributed to racist structures and policies, both in the past and the present. As a historically white congregation, we want to take responsibility for our role in this and work to dismantle white supremacy,” said Reverend Hyman. “We believe that education and activism go hand in hand, so making materials widely accessible to the Long Beach community through the LBPL is an important part of the process.”

Those interested in supporting the fund are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation of any size online at lbplfoundation.org/aarc. Supporters may also issue checks or money orders to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation at 200 W. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802. Please indicate that the donation is for the African American Resource Center (AARC) or the Fund for Race, Equity, and Justice. Donors are also welcome to suggest anti-racist books they would like to see more widely available at the Library.  

The Long Beach Public Libraries are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn about library resources and services currently available including eBooks, audiobooks, research databases, weekly online programs, and the new contactless pick-up service for books and DVDs at longbeach.gov/library.


The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides support to enhance the Main Library and 11 neighborhood branches of the Long Beach Public Library and encourages literacy and education for all members of the community. LBPLfoundation.org  

Since 1997, the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) has dedicated its efforts and resources to the preservation of African and African-American history, achievement, and culture. With the establishment of the Long Beach Public Library’s African American Resource Center at Burnett Library, AAHS-LB continues to engage, educate, and empower the community through literacy, genealogy research, and public programming. www.aaheritagelb.org

Reverend Melinda Teter Dodge serves three United Methodist Churches across the city of Long Beach who are working together to lift up the voice of an all-inclusive, loving God who yearns for justice for all peoples. 

Reverend Katy Hyman is a community minister at First Congregational Church of Long Beach, a liberal, progressive church, welcoming of all, and passionately committed to social justice. FCCLB is a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, located in downtown Long Beach on the corner of 3rd and Cedar 

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation Unequivocally Affirms that Black Lives Matter

In the last few weeks, the City of Long Beach, and the world, have experienced an extraordinary uprising in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and staff have taken this time to listen, learn, and analyze our own role in upholding systemic racism. As an organization that has long advocated for equity in education and literacy, we unequivocally affirm that Black lives, indeed, matter.

While we are an organization that relies heavily on the power of the written word, we know words are not enough. For too long, nonprofit organizations like ours have failed to take deliberate actions that significantly dismantle systemic racism. Our organization has worked for years to support educational programs and provide resources to all who visit the public libraries in Long Beach. Still, we understand Black people and people of color face crippling inequality in virtually every aspect of American society including housing, healthcare, and education.

Therefore, we have outlined a number of actions we will take to address this critical issue:

  • Like our colleagues at the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL), we believe knowledge is the strongest tool we have to fight racism and injustice. Therefore, we will direct financial and other resources to ensure our libraries include widely available books and materials that represent the voices, stories, and histories of people of color as well as resources to educate the public on the origins of racism, white privilege, white supremacy, mass incarceration, and other issues that have plagued our society. We are grateful for our collaboration with the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach and the Long Beach faith community to ensure these resources are widely available at all 12 libraries in the city, in the LBPL online catalog, and as part of LBPL’s African American Resource Collection.
  • We will continue to use our advocacy efforts to fight for equitable access to educational resources and programs in Long Beach. This will include ensuring Library services are as available and accessible as possible to all residents of Long Beach, including families who cannot access preschool, those disadvantaged by the digital divide, disabled patrons, LGBTQ patrons, young people who seek educational resources and a safe place to socialize, adults who would like to earn 21st century job skills and seek résumé assistance, those experiencing homelessness, and more.
  • We commit to more consistently raising the voices of people of color. This will include raising funds for library programming that focuses on important topics such as cultural appropriation, racism, implicit bias, diversity, community healing, and more.
  • We will also continue our efforts to diversify our board of directors, so our leadership adequately reflects Long Beach’s diverse community. In the past three years, we have transformed the makeup of our board to include more people of color.  We know how important it is to actively engage all members of our community and ensure more people of color have a seat at the table and hold positions of power within our organization and elsewhere. We have seen how inviting a diverse set of voices—those from various racial, cultural, geographic, age, and economic backgrounds—has strengthened our organization and boosted our community impact and exposure, allowing us to promote literacy at every economic level.

If you would like to learn more about these resources and support our efforts, please visit lbplfoundation.org/aarc.

This is just a start. We know the actions we take today are important but also just the beginning of an effort to truly dismantling the centuries of systemic racism in our society. We will continue to look inward, joining the California Library Association (CLA) in reflecting upon how we have unwittingly perpetuated institutional racism, taking responsibility for challenging racial inequity, and implementing positive change in our organization and the public libraries. Like the CLA, we understand libraries are not only places of learning, but also institutions of social change. 

Although the 12 Long Beach Public Libraries are temporarily closed in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Library’s extensive collection of free online resources, including eBooks, audiobooks, and other resources related to the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice are available at longbeach.gov/library/your-library-at-home.

Thank you, stay safe, and keep learning.

Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and Staff

Celebrate Pride Month by Exploring LGBTQ History

Celebrate Pride Month by using your Long Beach Public Library card to visit the Archives of Sexuality & Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940. The archives, part of the Library’s digital resources, include photos, newsletters, papers, government documents, pamphlets, and primary sources that shed light on the gay rights movement, activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and more.

Learn more about the Library’s many online resources at longbeach.gov/library/your-library-at-home.

Long Beach Public Library Launches Virtual Summer Reading Program

The Library Foundation is proud to support the Long Beach Public Library’s first virtual Summer Reading Program. Thank you to our donors for helping to make this possible!

The Program’s kick-off at noon on June 13 includes a live online event with performances by children’s entertainers Buster Balloon and Marc Griffiths. Visit the Library’s Facebook page at the kick-off time to join the fun! www.facebook.com/LongBeachPublicLibrary

Reading recommendations and activities are available for children, teens, and adults. Spanish language resources are available as well. Every week until July 25, the Library will host weekly online events to inspire readers including Craft Tuesdays, Storytime Fridays, and Science Saturdays. Learn more and register for your online reading tracker at www.longbeach.gov/library/learn/summer-reading-2020.

This new version of the Library’s annual program to help children continue learning through the summer is one of the many educational and entertaining online resources available to library cardholders. The 12 Long Beach Public Libraries remain temporarily closed to reduce the community spread of COVID-19. Learn more about the Library’s online resources and how to obtain a temporary library card if you need one at longbeach.gov/library/your-library-at-home.

A Message from California State Librarian Greg Lucas – Grape Expectations: Stay Home & Read Edition

A Message from Director of Library Services Glenda Williams – Grape Expectations: Stay Home & Read Edition

Hello Library Supporters!

I hope you all are doing well during this extraordinary time of COVID-19. Thank you for joining the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s Stay Home & Read Edition of Grape Expectations. While I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to enjoy the gala in-person, we are grateful to see the outpouring of library support during this challenging time. Your donation of any size allows the Library Foundation to continue its important work of fund programs and resources at the 12 public libraries. While the libraries are temporarily closed, many digital resources are available. And we know that all our resources will be needed more than ever when the Library is allowed to safely reopen.   

As we all continue to abide by the City of Long Beach “Safer at Home” ordinance, it can be challenging to find high quality sources for online learning and enrichment, or to improve job skills during this uncertain economy.  I want you to know that your Long Beach Public Library is here for you!

Long Beach residents can access free online support at the Long Beach Public Library’s new Your Library at Home webpage, your “one-stop shop” of online resources for families during this Safer at Home period.

Discover Gale Courses to enhance or learn new job skills or brush up your resume with Brainfuse JobNow.  Do you need to practice for the SAT, ACT, AP (Advanced Placement) or U.S. Citizenship tests?  Check out our Testing and Education Reference Center for free simulated practice tests and more!  There are more than 50 languages spoken in our city.  Why not learn a new language with Mango Languages?  You can also check out an e-book or listen to an audiobook through Overdrive and the Cloud Library, stream a movie through Kanopy or listen to music with Freegal.

I’m also excited to announce that we just launched Udemy, an online learning platform that offers thousands of on-demand, video-led courses on a variety of topics ranging from business, to information technology, and even personal development.  Check out more information here: http://www.longbeach.gov/library/news/udemy/.

Our youth can connect with a live tutor with Brainfuse HelpNow, a resource supported by the Library Foundation, for homework assistance and our little ones can enjoy animated, read aloud books with Tumblebook Junior.  Virtual story times are now available on the Library’s Facebook page and Youtube channel.  Please visit www.longbeach.gov/library and enjoy “Your Library at Home.”

What if you don’t have a Long Beach Public Library card?  No problem!  It is even easier than ever to get one.  You can sign up online and then call 562.570.7500 to activate your library card.  Library staff are standing by Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm to assist.

While some Long Beach Public Library staff are busy preparing and curating online content and answering your library questions, other Library staff have been redeployed to assist during this novel coronavirus pandemic.  All City of Long Beach employees are registered disaster workers, and this includes the staff at Long Beach Public Library.  Library staff have been working at shelters and sewing facial coverings, while others are answering phone calls at the City’s Joint Information Center (JIC) or taking calls from seniors in collaboration with our City’s Department of Health and Human Services.

We can’t wait to welcome our Long Beach community back into our facilities once we are able, and we are in the process of planning library services for that time while abiding by any restrictions that are in place.  We know that people will need help with searching for jobs, connecting to social services and accessing resources to meet their personal and educational goals. Every dollar that you donate will help our Long Beach residents with this effort. Until we can see you again, please enjoy “Your Library at Home” while you Stay Safer at Home. 

Stay safe, take care, and thank you!

Glenda Williams
Director of Library Services
Long Beach Public Library

Online Tutoring and Job Search Support with Your Library Card

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is proud to fund Brainfuse HelpNow and JobNow as part of the Library’s Family Learning Center program. These free online resources provide live one-on-one guidance, skill-building activities, practice tests, and more for students and job seekers. Individualized support is needed now more than ever to help students face this challenging semester and assist workers as they find new jobs to reignite our local economy. Thank you to our donors for making this possible!

Brainfuse HelpNow provides a wide variety of online tools for students grades K-12. In addition to live tutoring in English and Spanish, students can access a writing lab, a foreign language lab, virtual study rooms with other HelpNow users, college application guidance, and a library of lessons, videos, and practice tests. Adult learners can also access live tutoring along with high school equivalency preparation tools, software lessons, and resources to prepare for the US Citizenship test.

Brainfuse JobNow offers live coaching for job searches, applications, résumé development, and interview preparation. A library of lessons, videos, and practice tests give job seekers the opportunity to add new skills to their résumé.

A Long Beach Public Library card is needed to access these resources. They cannot be accessed with a temporary barcode.

Free Online Resources Available to Library Cardholders

All resources listed below are available for free with your Long Beach Public Library card.

If you do not have a library card and would like to enjoy many of these resources, you can apply for a temporary online barcode and pin valid for 60 days. Apply at https://innopac.lbpl.org/selfreg.
Please note that only the following resources are available with a temporary barcode and pin: Overdrive, cloudLibrary, TumbleBooks, TumbleBookCloud Junior, Freegal, and The New York Times. View the Library’s full list of online resources at http://longbeach.gov/library/digital-library/.

READ ON YOUR PHONE, TABLET, OR COMPUTER: The library’s catalog contains thousands of eBooks and audiobooks for readers of all ages. OverDrive and cloudLibrary gives you access to the complete collection.

GRADES K-12 EDUCATION: Brainfuse HelpNow is a Library Foundation supported resource offering live online tutoring in English and Spanish for students of all grades along with a library of lessons, videos, and tests. Parents can also keep their children engaged during school closures with educational activities on LearningExpress Library, World Book Online, and Britannica SchoolBritannica Escolar offers Spanish language educational resources.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Brainfuse JobNow is a Library Foundation supported resource offering live online interview coaching and résumé guidance along with many skill-building lessons. Brainfuse VetNow offers the same resources tailored to the needs of veterans.  Gale Courses offers a wide range of college-level and professional development courses. LearningExpress Library offers additional professional development lessons and test prep for college entrance exams. Learn a new language to add to your résumé with Mango.

MOVIES, MUSIC, AND MAGAZINES: Take a break and enjoy one of the thousands of indie films and documentaries on Kanopy and age-appropriate films and series on Kanopy Kids. Stream music and music videos on Freegal and enjoy five free song downloads per week. Access recent issues of popular magazines on RBdigital.

A Message About the Temporary Closure of All Libraries

Dear Library Supporters,

We care about your health and that of all who depend on the Long Beach Public Library. On March 14, the City of Long Beach announced a series of temporary precautionary changes in order to reduce the risk of community spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes the closure of all public libraries through March 31, 2020 or until further notice. All late fees will be suspended, and due dates extended during this period. Click here to read the full announcement.

During this time, it’s important to keep learning and combat isolation and boredom. For the many families, students, job-seekers, and older people who are looking for educational tools and entertainment to enjoy at home, the Library’s vast collection of eBooks, audiobooks, and online resources is available to library cardholders 24/7.  Click here to check out descriptions of some of these free resources.

Despite this temporary closure, the Library Foundation is committed to supporting much-needed programs, technology, and resources available to the 1 million annual library visitors. We are continuing our fundraising efforts, including our signature Grape Expectations fundraiser, and appreciate your support during this time.  Click here to learn more about the library resources your donations support.

Stay up to date on the City’s latest COVID-19 related news and ways you can stop the spread of the disease at http://longbeach.gov/covid19.

Stay safe and happy reading!

From all of us at the Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Exciting Changes for the African American Resource Center

Aaron Day and Indira Hale Tucker from the African American Heritage Society speak at the dedication of the new genealogy section of the Main Library on June 28, 2004.
Long Beach Public Library Digital Archives

On October 10, 1998, the African American Resource Center was officially dedicated at the Burnett Neighborhood Library in central Long Beach thanks to the support of the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach. Today, the Heritage Society continues to curate and revitalize the collection of over 1,200 items which was recently moved to its own dedicated alcove at the Library.

Indira Hale Tucker, a founding board member of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, and Doris Topsy Elvord, former Vice Mayor of Long Beach, spearheaded the formation of the Heritage Society under the charitable umbrella of the Friends of the Long Beach Public Library in 1997.

Check out the Long Beach Post’s recent interview with Nicole Ballard, President of the Heritage Society, to learn more about how the collection has evolved through the years. Click Here.