Long Beach Public Library Foundation

New Books to Discover for Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month and check out these new, critically acclaimed titles available at the Long Beach Public Library. Click the link below for the Library’s catalog to find out which branch library is currently carrying these books, request them from home, or download the e-book or audio book versions if they are available.

Library Catalog

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

2019 Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award for New Talent winner

From the publisher: Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Best-selling hard cover book of 2018

From the publisher: In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.

2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction winner

From the publisher: In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart

2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction winner

From the publisher: A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro – the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music,and drama would inspire Black people to greatness.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction winner

From the publisher: In his artfully crafted and boldly revealing memoir, writing professor Laymon recalls the traumas of his Mississippi youth; the depthless hunger that elevated his weight; his obsessive, corrective regime of diet and exercise; his gambling, teaching, activism, and trust in the power of writing.

Holiday Reading Recommendations from Long Beach Librarians

Picks for Families

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein 

A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.

“I like this book because it reminds adults and children that the holidays are not just about the stores, getting gifts and Santa but about learning to give and to receive.”
– Debi Vilander, Bay Shore Library Senior Librarian

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel

Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.

“The illustrations portray the goblins in all their scariness. A tale of courage and faith.”
– Pam Carlson, Children’s Librarian, Main Library

Santa Duck by David Milgrim

After Duck receives a mystery gift of a Santa hat, he puts it on and all the other animals bombard him with their wish lists despite his vehement denials that he is “Not Santa!!”

“I like to share this with kids because it is silly fun. Santa himself arrives at the end to thank Duck for his excellent help.”
– Pam Carlson, Children’s Librarian

Top Elf by Caleb Huett

When Santa announces his retirement, a cutthroat competition of various challenges commences among the elves to choose his replacement.

“A mix of American Idol and Survivor for the Christmas season.”
– Pam Carlson, VG Children’s Librarian at Main Library

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal.

“The book explores the wonder and beauty of snowflakes with determination and passion.”
– Josephine Caron, Dana Library Senior Librarian

Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

Thinking that “all of the other reindeer” she hears people singing about include her, Olive the dog reports to the North Pole to help Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

“One reason I am particularly fond of it, is because the first time a young patron asked me to find the book for her, I misunderstood also and was looking for a book titled, All of the Other Reindeer!
– Jennifer Songster, Mark Twain Senior Librarian

Pick for Adults

“The Night Before Christmas” by Nikolai Gogol (available in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, translated and annotated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)

Written in 1831, this dark tale relates the adventures of Vakula, the blacksmith, in his fight against the devil, who has stolen the moon above the village of Dikanka and is wreaking havoc on its inhabitants, all to win the love of the most beautiful girl in town.
“It is a funny and charming story that captures the mood of a charming village on a cold, crisp Christmas Eve.

Carolers stroll singing for treats from the townspeople.The town is populated by a variety of important men made laughable by their weaknesses, a crowd of fierce housewives, and groups of laughing girls.

A humorous little folk tale – a departure from the norm.”
– Debi Vilander, Bay Shore Library Senior Librarian

Click for Library Catalog



Grunion Gazette: Long Beach Rotary Steps Up Again To Foster Literacy

Click to Read Coverage

2018 Literary Award Highlights for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Discovering different cultural voices at the Library is a great way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. As you search for books by Latino authors, there are several new and compelling works that have received recognition by prestigious literary organizations. Below are a few recent winners and finalists for major literary awards to read as we honor Hispanic culture.

All books listed are available at the Long Beach Public Library. CLICK HERE to find them in the catalog.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
2018 National Book Award Young People’s Literature Longlist title
2018 Kirkus Young Adult Prize finalist

From the publisher: Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
2018 Pura Belpré Children’s Literature Award winner

From the publisher: In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
2018 Bard Fiction Prize winner
2017 John Leonard Prize for Best First Book in Any Genre winner
2017 National Book Award Fiction finalist

From the publisher: In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

Halsey Street by Naima Coster
2018 Kirkus Fiction & Literature Prize finalist

From the publisher: An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.





Summer Reading Takes Children to New Heights

Photo: Long Beach Public Library

Once the school year ends, children face the summer slide where they miss out on learning opportunities and often fall behind academically. A study funded by the U.S. Department of Education showed that summer reading loss can add up to the equivalent of three years of reading loss by the end of 5th grade. If left unattended, the gap can widen to four years of reading loss by the end of 12th grade. This issue has a harsh effect on low-income children with more than 80% of children from economically disadvantaged communities losing reading skills over the summer.

Photo: Long Beach Public Library.

To combat these statistics and help local children reach their full potential, the Long Beach librarians are taking on the role of literary travel agents for the “Reading Takes You Everywhere” Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme invites readers to explore new worlds, both real and fictional, with passports provided by the Library to track their literary journeys. Librarians reward readers in the program with prizes. There are over 70 events and activities for children, teens, adults, and families from story times and live musical performances to magic shows and encounters with visiting wildlife.

Photo: Long Beach Public Library.

The Library Foundation is proud to once again support this program thanks to donations to our organization, including a generous contribution from Niagara Cares. Visit your local Long Beach Public Library to embark on your journey. CLICK HERE to check out the Summer Reading events calendar.

If you would like to support the Library Foundation as we continue to fund Library programs like summer reading, consider making a tax-deductible donation.

Click to Donate

Photo: Long Beach Public Library


Long Beach Dictionary Days Celebrates 15th Anniversary

On February 28, 2018, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation celebrated the 15th Anniversary of Dictionary Days and over 115,000 dictionaries gifted to Long Beach 3rd grade students as part of the program.

Check out the video below of the celebration at Los Altos Neighborhood Library.

Celebrating 15 Years of Dictionary Days

Dictionary Days 2018

Celebrate Dictionary Days, February 15th – February 24th, by joining Burnett, Dana, Bret Harte and Michelle Obama Libraries for magic, games, treats and more! 📚For more information, visit https://buff.ly/2BK2huL.

Posted by Long Beach Public Library on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In 2003, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation joined forces to promote literacy for local students. Since that year, every Long Beach Unified School District third grade student has received a brand new dictionary – over 115,000 dictionaries gifted – thanks to the generosity of the Miller Foundation.

According the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, when children enter the fourth grade, their lessons shift. Instead of learning to read, they read to learn. Unfortunately, studies show that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to leave high school without a diploma.

The Long Beach Public Library supports students during this crucial period with Dictionary Day events designed to instill a lifelong love of reading. Librarians teach students how to properly use their new dictionaries through fun and creative activities that help improve reading comprehension.

This year’s Dictionary Days are free of charge and open to all students:

Winter Word Olympics – February 15 at 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Burnett Neighborhood Library, 560 E. Hill St., Long Beach, CA 90806

Potions with Professor Snape – February 20 at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Dana Neighborhood Library, 3680 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90807

Harry Potter’s Magical Dictionary – February 22 at 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Bret Harte Neighborhood Library, 1595 W. Willow St., Long Beach, CA 90810

Enchanted Garden – February 24 at 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90805


Mayor’s Book Club Welcomed Best-selling Children’s Author Jan Brett to Long Beach

Hundreds gathered as Mayor Robert Garcia welcomed New York Times best-selling children’s author, Jan Brett at a free community event on December 9, 2017 at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This second annual Mayor’s Book Club event featured Brett’s latest book, The Mermaid, and was sponsored by the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the Mayor’s Fund for Education, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Public Library.

“I grew up reading. I grew up in libraries. It’s really important that we promote reading and literacy and great events that engage all people,” said Mayor Garcia as he invited Mrs. Brett to the stage.

Known for her intricate and vibrant illustrations, Brett inspired young artists in the crowd with a drawing demonstration of a Giant Pacific Octopus from her book, a species of octopus featured in an Aquarium of the Pacific exhibit and in her book.

“My favorite trait is curiosity because when I was little it was the thing that made me want to try things for the first time and made me excited about the world,” Brett explained to the children when explaining how she was inspired to become a writer.

“The Long Beach Public Library and our Foundation are committed to promoting literacy and education in Long Beach. Studies show that children who do not learn how to read proficiently by the 3rd grade are four times more likely than their peers to leave high school without a diploma. This event is just one way we aim to inspire our city’s next generation of readers and turn that statistic around,” said Kate Azar, Executive Director of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.

LBUSD Board of Education President Megan Kerr, Aquarium of the Pacific President Dr. Jerry Schubel, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Executive Director Kate Azar, children’s author, Jan Brett, Mayor Robert Garcia and Mayor’s Fund for Education Executive Director Karissa Selvester.

At the end of the presentation, Karissa Selvester, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund for Education, announced that all children in attendance would receive a free copy of The Mermaid as an early holiday gift from her organization.

Barnes and Noble at the Long Beach Towne Center will donate a portion of book sales from the event to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.

Brett’s artwork will be auctioned off for charity at the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s upcoming Grape Expectations gala on June 10th, 2018. To get tickets or bid on the artwork, please contact the Library Foundation at info@LBPLfoundation.org.

The Mermaid, and Brett’s other award-winning children’s books are available for check out at the Long Beach Public Library.

Photos provided by Lindsey Ingram and the Mayor’s Fund for Education.

Storytime at the Aquarium with Jan Brett Live Streaming on Saturday, Dec. 9

Tune in below at 10:00 am PST on December 9, 2017 for a live feed of the Mayor’s Book Club Storytime at the Aquarium with New York Times best-selling children’s author, Jan Brett. Watch Mayor Robert Garcia and Jan Brett as she shares her latest book, The Mermaid at this community event already at capacity.

This event made possible thanks to the Mayor’s Book Club, the Long Beach Public Library, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the Mayor’s Fund for Education and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

If you’d like to support library programs in Long Beach consider donating to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. Click to Donate