Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Books That Make Long Beach Librarians Feel Thankful

These recommended books are available at the Long Beach Public Library. Visit the Library’s catalog at encore.lbpl.org.

“The book I am most thankful for is Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Hitching around the world you find that people the world over are kind and extremely generous. They want the same things that everyone wants, friendship, education, health care, a home and a job. Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl gives inspiration, hope and a brighter view of the world through the eyes of a young girl during a terrible time in the history of the world.

Thank you, Anne Frank, for your lovely words of hope: ‘I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart,’ and, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’ “

– Debi Vilander, Supervising Librarian at Bay Shore Neighborhood Library

“I am thankful for the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White because I believe it suggested to my young, pliable mind, the possibility that animals have souls, personalities, desires, and the ability to love, a belief that has been proven over and over again in the 56 years since I first read it.”

– Erica Lansdown, Senior Librarian at Los Altos Neighborhood Library

“I am thankful for the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand a very well-researched book that follows Louie Zamperini from his childhood as a troubled youth in Torrance, CA to becoming a Boy Scout, and going to USC where he honed his athletic ability that enabled him to compete in Hitler’s 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

Shot down during World War II and surviving brutal POW camps, Louie returned home with what we now know as PTSD which he overcame with the power of Jesus Christ that allowed him to forgive his prison camp tormentor and transform his life.”

– Gail Tweedt, Senior Librarian at El Dorado Neighborhood Library

“I have two books that I am thankful for. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I am thankful for these books because to me they represent what reading is all about. Both stories are so vivid, perfectly paced, and entertaining that the stories suck the reader in and don’t let go, even after finishing the book.  I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read that truly equal these two in storytelling.”

– Jennifer Songster, Senior Librarian at Mark Twain Neighborhood Library

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle is one of my favorite books.  Mayle uses wit and humor to tell an entertaining story of moving to Provence.  I wanted to pack my bags and take a trip to Provence after reading this book! 

– Cyndi, Senior Librarian at Alamitos Neighborhood Library

“In My Papi Has A Motorcyle, a little girl named Daisy waits for her dad to come home from work so they can ride around their city, Corona, Calif., on the back of his motorcycle. They pass a tortilla shop, a raspado shop, her grandparent’s house, and her dad’s construction site. I lived in the Inland Empire for a few years and the illustrations bring back fond memories of a city I spent time with my family when I was young. 

The book is illustrated by Zeke Peña and written by Isabel Quintero. It’s a love letter to the city, and her father. The book is published in both English and Spanish.”

– Shiloh Richardson Moore, Senior Librarian at Burnett Neighborhood Library

Dive into Reading – Live Performer

Come out for a live performance that will entertain families with children ages 0-5 and learn about the Dive into Reading program.

This program is supported by donations to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and helps parents and guardians read 1,000+ books to their children before kindergarten. Reading regularly to children fuels their imagination and creativity and helps develop lifelong readers.

Learn more on the Library’s website. Click HERE.

Library Launches Adult Literacy Program with Library Foundation Support

In Los Angeles County, approximately 1 in 3 adults struggles with basic literacy skills according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This means that they may not be able to read news articles, job applications, medical prescriptions, voting forms, and many other sources of important information. Adults who struggle with reading may have been denied jobs and might not be able to read to their own children or help them with their homework which can create a cycle of illiteracy.

LB Reads is the new Long Beach Public Library Foundation supported tutoring program at the Library that provides one-on-one tutoring for English-speaking adults as they become proficient readers. This program can help participants improve their career prospects and enable them to guide their own children in learning to read.

The Library is currently seeking volunteers for this program. CLICK HERE to learn more about the program and how to become a tutor.

You can also support much-needed educational opportunities like this program with a donation to Library Foundation funded programs. CLICK HERE to support.

Congratulations Dive into Reading Graduates!

On April 19, the Long Beach Public Library held the first graduation celebration for children in the Dive into Reading program. Dozens of children and their families packed the community room of Mark Twain Neighborhood Library for ocean themed stories, games, and crafts. All graduates wore purple graduation caps and were awarded a certificate of completion from the Library.

This program supports parents and guardians as they read 1,000 or more books with their children before kindergarten.

The Library Foundation is proud to fund this program thanks to the following donors: The Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation, International Paper Foundation, Vic and Patty McCarty, Margaret Kott, the Edith H. Holland Literacy Fund, Long Beach Rotary’s Reading By 9, John Arcos and Janet Leonards, The Johnson Family, and George and Janet Watts. Your support is helping to raise life-long readers!

Lean more about Dive into Reading on the Library’s website. Click HERE.

The Long Beach Public Library Khmer Collection is Evolving

“[The Khmer Collection] isn’t just about language, it’s about my roots and culture,” said Sanghak Kan, a Library contractor who works for the United Cambodian Community in Long Beach. Sanghak volunteers at the Mark Twain Library on the weekends to teach Khmer to children and adults.
Long Beach is home to the largest population of Cambodians outside of Cambodia and the Long Beach Public Library has the largest collection of Khmer materials of any public library in the United States. Currently, patrons are only able to search for these materials by visiting the Library in person, but that’s about to change.
This past December, the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library funded a trip for Senior Librarian Jennifer Songster to travel to Cambodia to bring back 1,300 new books to add to the collection. Thanks to a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act, the Library is currently completing a Khmer Cataloging Project that will make books in the collection searchable in Khmer script in the Library’s online catalog. Library cardholders will be able to search for the exact book they are looking for online and visit the Library where that book is available or request that it be transferred for pick up at their local library. Many of the books in the Khmer collection are not available at any other libraries or book stores in the country.

Learn more about upcoming free Khmer language classes and storytime events held every Saturday at the Mark Twain Library. Click to Learn More.

Check out a recent segment on Spectrum News 1 about the Khmer Cataloging Project. Click to View.

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 at Main Library

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, 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