Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Olga Chavez, Empowering Community and Corporate Social Responsibility Leader

Top leaders of the world have the exceptional simple habit of reading. Whether for enjoyment or enrichment, reading stimulates the mind and fuels creativity. Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads.

In celebration of Mother’s Day and the power of community engagement, Long Beach Leaders are Readers proudly presents Olga Chavez, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader at Marathon Petroleum Corporation, highlighting her philanthropic journey and dedication to empowering Southern California communities.

Continue reading to learn more about Ms. Chavez’s book recommendation and the leader behind it.

La Edad De Oro (The Golden Age)

by 

José Martí

Meet Olga Chavez:

What made you choose La Edad de Oro as your recommendation?

This book, La Edad de Oro, holds a special place in my heart because it embodies the spirit of resilience, hope, and the pursuit of knowledge despite adversity. José Martí, a Cuban icon of independence and freedom, first published this book in 1889. For me, this book was not just a collection of stories; it was a beacon of light during challenging times.

Martí’s words, penned in exile, spoke of a Cuba he longed to see—one where children were nurtured with love, educated with wisdom, and inspired to dream boldly. As a Cuban myself, La Edad de Oro reminded me of the importance of preserving my heritage, even when far from home. It taught me to cherish my culture, language, and history, no matter where life took me.

This book resonates with me because it represents the resilience of the human spirit, the power of education, and the beauty of dreaming beyond one’s circumstances. It reminds me that even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of hope, a spark of inspiration that can ignite change and illuminate the path forward.

I believe La Edad de Oro can inspire others by showing them that literature is not just words on a page; it is a mirror reflecting our deepest aspirations and a window into a world of possibilities. It encourages readers to embrace their heritage, celebrate their identity, and strive for a better future, just as Martí envisioned for his beloved Cuba.

Where there any stand-out scenes?

There are several standout scenes and passages from La Edad de Oro that have deeply impacted my life. One of the most memorable passages is from the preface, where José Martí writes about the importance of children and the role they play in shaping the future:

“Los niños, los niños, los niños son. Los niños, los niños, los niños serán. Y entre ellos, en primer término, los pobres, a quienes no es lícito negar cuanto es posible darles: no para compensarles de la herencia de las lágrimas, sino para redimirlos de ella.”

Translated, this passage emphasizes the importance of children, especially those who are less fortunate, and the need to provide them with everything possible, not to compensate them for the inheritance of tears, but to redeem them from it. This passage has resonated with me deeply, reminding me of the responsibility we have to nurture and educate the next generation.

Another impactful scene is the story of “Los Zapaticos de Rosa” (The Little Pink Shoes). This story tells the tale of a poor Cuban girl named Rosa who, despite her humble circumstances, remains kind-hearted and generous. When a wealthy woman passes by and admires Rosa’s beautiful pink shoes, Rosa selflessly gives them to her, even though they are her only pair.

This story is a powerful reminder of the importance of kindness, generosity, and empathy. It teaches us that true wealth is not measured by material possessions but by the goodness of our hearts. “Los Zapaticos de Rosa” has left a lasting impact on me, inspiring me to always be compassionate and considerate towards others, regardless of their background or circumstances.

What do you hope other readers get from reading your book recommendation?

I hope that other readers, like myself, will be inspired by the timeless wisdom and profound insights found in La Edad de Oro. I hope that they will see the importance of education, empathy, and kindness in shaping a better future for all. I hope that this book will encourage readers to cherish their heritage, celebrate their identity, and strive for a better world, just as José Martí envisioned for his cherished Cuba. Ultimately, I hope that La Edad de Oro will ignite a spark of curiosity and compassion in the hearts of its readers, inspiring them to dream boldly and act with courage and conviction.

Did someone read to you when you were a child?

Yes, my brother..

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude). Find it at your local library branch here.

How relevant or relatable are the themes or messages of the book to your own life or to society today?

The themes and messages of La Edad de Oro are highly relevant and relatable to my own life and to society today. The book’s focus on the importance of education, empathy, and kindness resonates deeply with me. In today’s fast-paced and often divisive world, the message of nurturing the next generation, especially those who are less fortunate, is more important than ever.

Additionally, the book’s emphasis on the power of literature and storytelling to inspire change and shape a better future is something that I strongly believe in. In a world where information is constantly bombarding us, the ability to step back, reflect, and appreciate the beauty of language and storytelling is invaluable.

Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

I don’t have a preference myself, but many people enjoy the convenience of e-books, while others prefer the feel and experience of reading a physical paperback.

What are your favorite genres to read?

Poetry

Why do you think reading is important?

Reading is crucial because it enhances our learning, understanding of the world, and communication skills. It’s also an enjoyable way to unwind and escape reality. Reading enriches our vocabulary, critical thinking, and empathy, adding depth to our lives. Personally, I’m drawn to poetry because it provides a distinctive and compelling means of expressing emotions, ideas, and experiences.

If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

Embracing the Rainbow: A journey from Habana to Hope

Olga Chavez is the Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations Lead for Marathon Petroleum Corporation in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Refinery. For the past 12 years, Olga has been responsible for overseeing the management of a multi-million-dollar philanthropy budget to support local non-profits and the communities they serve. Olga works with the Marathon Leadership Team to develop and implement priorities and strategies for achieving balanced public policy and a consistent approach to ensure impactful community investment and outreach, and employee volunteerism.

Olga Chavez was born and raised in Cuba. She and her family immigrated to the United States 40 years ago. She comes from humble backgrounds, her father was a chef, and her mother a caregiver. Her beloved brother passed away not long after their arrival in the United States.

Olga has been very involved in the nonprofit world. Working within the energy industry has enabled her to establish several nonprofit organizations in the community. Some of the foundations formed by Olga are the Wilmington Coordinating Council, under the leadership of the late Shirley Atencio, Gulf Avenue Elementary PTO, and the Friends of the Rotary Club of Wilmington. Olga firmly believes in giving back to the community, and Marathon supports her efforts. She is engaged in several nonprofit boards, such as the Wilmington and Gardena-Carson YMCAs, the Rotary Club of Wilmington, and the San Pedro and Wilmington Chambers. Additionally, she is a member of the President’s Advisory Board – Special Advisors to the Battleship IOWA Museum.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Cathy De Leon, City of Long Beach Director of Library Services

Top leaders of the world have the exceptional simple habit of reading. Whether for enjoyment or enrichment, reading stimulates the mind and fuels creativity. Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads.

In honor of National Library Month, we are featuring the City of Long Beach Director of Library Services, Cathy De Leon!

Continue reading to learn more about Ms. De Leon’s book recommendation and the leader behind it.

Hello, Universe

by 

Erin Entrada Kelly

What made you choose Hello, Universe as your recommendation?

Erin Entrada Kelly is the first author of Filipino descent to be awarded the most prestigious award in children’s literature, the Newbery Medal, and she won it for this book. Hello, Universe tells the story of a shy Filipino boy named Virgil Salinas and three fellow middle schoolers whose worlds collide in unexpected ways. Published in 2017, this book resonated with me because it was one of the first times I ever saw myself–my culture, my family–in a book, as the stories and experiences of Filipino Americans are not often reflected in American literature. As a longtime children’s librarian, this book made me cry because of its candid and heartwarming depictions of Filipino American intergenerational family life. To me, this book embodies the power of telling diverse stories and how affirming and inclusive literature can and should be.

Where there any stand-out scenes?

There’s a scene where Virgil observes his grandmother, or lola, slicing mangos. The way that Entrada Kelly described this simple act really hit me because it’s something my lola did for me when I was a child and brought up a lot of powerful personal memories.

What do you hope other readers get from reading your book recommendation?

I never realized until I read Hello, Universe how starved I was to see these cultural aspects of my own experience on a page. Representation matters and I hope readers someday get to see themselves reflected in literature if they haven’t already.

Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

Paperbacks!

What was the last book you read?

Crying in H Mart. Find it at your local library branch here.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Billie Jean King, Long Beach Hometown Hero and Equality Champion

Top leaders of the world have the exceptional simple habit of reading. Whether for enjoyment or enrichment, reading stimulates the mind and fuels creativity. Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring a Long Beach hometown hero, legendary sports icon, philanthropist, New York Times bestselling author, and equality champion Billie Jean King.

Continue reading to learn more about Ms. King’s book recommendation and the leader behind it.

Tennis legend and women's equality activist, Billie Jean King, holding Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"

The Bluest Eye

by 

Toni Morrison

What made you choose The Bluest Eye as your recommendation?

Some of the best learnings come from books that are tough to read. This is one of those books. In this book, her first novel, Morrison, takes a stark look at racism and a quest for equality and authenticity through the eyes of a young African-American girl in the depression era. We have to remember when it was written and how much things have changed, and how much things can still improve.

What are your favorite genres to read?

I love history. My parents got my brother and me library cards when we were in elementary school so we learned how to use them early. Randy and I loved to read. I really loved bios on people. Just like I love documentaries on streaming and television now. I still like true stories about people – people’s stories inspire me.

What do you hope other readers get from reading your book recommendation?

I had wanted to read this book for years and it took me a while to get to it and it was worth it. It is a heartfelt look at a difficult story. Never give up on a good book. As they say, it’s better late than never.

How old were you when you got your first library card?

I was in Elementary school at Los Cerritos Elementary in Long Beach when I got my first Long Beach Public Library card. 

As a kid I asked if I could use my parents library card and the first library I remember going to was at Los Cerritos elementary school. We also went to Harte Library on W. Willow.  

Reading for free was a privilege which our parents were very clear on. Also having a choice of what we were able to read was also a privilege.

Why do you think reading is important?

Information gives you knowledge and knowledge gives you power.

Finally, if you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

All In

cover photo of the book all in, written by billie jean kingAll In is an autobiography/memoir and New York Times Bestseller written by Billie Jean King. 

“An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of the champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice.” Visit www.PenguinRandomHouse.com for the full overview.

 

Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles and 3 World TeamTennis championships, founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association and was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She founded the Billie Jean King Foundation and is part of the ownership groups of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angel City FC and on the Advisory Board of the Professional Women’s Hockey League. A New York Times bestselling author, her memoir, All In, was released in 2021 and released in paperback in 2023.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Sharon L. Weissman, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and Community Leader

Top leaders of the world have the exceptional simple habit of reading. Whether for enjoyment or enrichment, reading stimulates the mind and fuels creativity. Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads.

In honor of Library Lovers Month, we could think of no one better suited than our very own Sharon L. Weissman, a Member of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors, Member of the Harbor Board of Commissioners, and Member of the California Library Services Board of Directors. 

Continue reading to learn more about Sharon’s book recommendation and the leader behind it.

The Diary of a Young Girl

by 

Anne Frank

What made you choose The Diary of a Young Girl as your recommendation?

I choose The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank as my book because I believe it is a book that speaks to the troubles of our time. The Holocaust and the death of millions of Jews, Soviet POWs, Poles, Roma and Sinti, the disabled and LGBTQ persons at the hands of the Nazis demonstrates in the most horrible of examples the danger and horror of prejudice and bias. But Anne’s diary also speaks of the courage and kindness of those willing to hide and help those who were targeted by the Nazis. Courage and kindness are what we need very much today. Her most famous quote is the first of these three sentences that follow, but the hope she demonstrates in the first sentence and following two are remarkable considering her circumstance when she wrote them, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Were there any stand-out scenes or particular passages from your recommended book that have impacted your life?

Anne’s quote, In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” This is a sentiment I think of when I despair about the world or a personal circumstance. If she could have this optimism in her situation, surely I can in a much less dire situation.

What do you hope other readers get from reading your book recommendation?

I hope they would understand that prejudice never has a good outcome. Kindness and the courage to say that something is wrong or untrue will make this a better country and a better world.

 How old were you when you got your first library card?

I don’t remember not having one.

Did someone read to you when you were a child?

Yes, my mother was a reader and read to my sister and me until we learned to read. This habit has served me well in school and my work life.

Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

Although I prefer physical books to e-books, sometimes I am eager to begin a particular book and if the e-book is available from the library, I download it so I can begin reading it right away.

What are your favorite genres to read?

Mystery, historical fiction, literary fiction and humor.

Where is your favorite place to read?

My sofa. 

Is there an author you’d like to meet? Can you share their name or work?

Anne Tyler, I loved her novels Breathing Lessons, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and The Accidental Tourist, among others.

What’s the last book you read?

Cannery Row (which you can find at your local neighborhood library branch by clicking here)

What book will you read next?

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

Why do you think reading is important?

I grew up in a family of modest means. Reading made a world that could have been so small, so large. Reading allows us to experience things and places we may never see. Books take us on a journey to so many worlds and we meet so many people.

Finally, if you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

It’s All About the Story

Sharon L. Weissman, former Senior Advisor to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, is a member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.  She also served as Mayor Garcia’s liaison to the arts community, the Long Beach Public Library and its support groups, including the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, and Sister Cities organizations. 

Ms. Weissman has a background in public policy, having served as Chief of Staff to Dr. Garcia when he was Vice Mayor of Long Beach and Chief of Staff to former California State Senator and Assemblymember Jenny Oropeza. 

Prior to her work with elected officials, Ms. Weissman was the Director of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach; the Station Manager of CSULB’s jazz radio station, KLON-FM (now KKJZ), and an instructor at the university in the fields of radio, TV and film.

Serving California, Ms. Weissman was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the California Library Services Board from May 2023 through December 2025. Serving her community, Ms. Weissman is a member of the Executive Committee and former President and Vice President of Public Affairs of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation; a member of the Advisory Board of CSULB’s Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy and the Advisory Board of the Museum of Latin American Art; a former Board Member of the Arts Council for Long Beach, the Long Beach Symphony and Sister Cities of Long Beach; and a former Chair of the Long Beach Fair Housing Foundation.

Part of our Long Beach Leaders are Readers program includes inviting the featured leader to sign the inside of their book recommendation so that future patrons who check the book out will be able to learn about the significance of the book to our local leaders. Keep an eye out for the signed recommendations at your local branch!


Find “Diary of a Young Girl” at your local neighborhood library branch!

Long Beach Public Library Foundation Announces New Board of Directors President, Sean Reilly

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is thrilled to announce the appointment of Sean Reilly as the new President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors.  With extensive experience in finance, community development, and event production, Sean brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for education, literacy and community advancement and a genuine passion for Long Beach libraries.

As President, Sean will lead the Library Foundation in its mission to provide support to enhance the Long Beach Public Library and encourage literacy and education for all members of the community, while working collaboratively with the Board of Directors, Library Foundation staff, volunteers, and community partners to advance the Library Foundation’s impact.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sean as the President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation  Board of Directors. With his leadership and dedication to community service and education, we are confident that he will play a pivotal role in advancing our organization’s vision and goals.

As we embark on this new chapter with Sean at the helm, we anticipate a continued momentum of our efforts to support and advocate for the Long Beach Public Libraries. His presidency marks an exciting phase for our organization as we embark on a brand new three-year strategic plan, focusing on the Family Learning Centers and Studios, and we are honored to have him lead us into the future,” said Veronica Garcia Dávalos, Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s Executive Director and CEO.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation,” stated Sean Reilly.  “I am deeply committed to the vital role that public libraries play in fostering a more literate, informed, and connected community.  I look forward to working with the dedicated team and community stakeholders to strengthen our impact and ensure inclusive access to educational resources for all.”

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation envisions a thriving Long Beach community full of lifelong learners, equitable access, inclusive spaces, and limitless possibilities. The Foundation’s mission is to provide support to enhance the Long Beach Public Library and encourage literacy and education for all members of the community.

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation eagerly anticipates the positive impact and transformative leadership that Sean will continue to provide throughout the next two years as President of the Board of Directors.

Welcoming Julia Huang to the Board of Directors

Julia Y.C. Huang is the Founder and CEO of Intertrend, a multicultural creative agency at the intersection of emerging trends and the interaction between brands and consumers. Intertrend is known in the industry to create deeply resonant and exceptional consumer experiences for leading brands in automotive, financial services, retail, entertainment, pharmaceutical and telecom.

Taiwanese American-born, raised and educated in Japan and Taiwan, Huang went to grad school to study communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working in New York City and Los Angeles in product development and then in Mergers & Acquisitions, a chance opportunity led Huang to the field of communications and the founding of Intertrend in 1991.

As the CEO of Intertrend, Huang is responsible for managing two award-winning companies headquartered in Long Beach, California: Intertrend and Imprint, an incubator for new businesses. Known for her strong belief that diversity drives creativity, she is a constant contributor to industry thought-leadership content, events, and academia. She was named by Avenue Magazine as one of the 500 most influential Asian Americans and in 2014, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference selected Julia as one of the Top Ten Entrepreneurs in the U.S. Most recently, Julia was named the City National Bank Entrepreneur of the Year bestowed upon her by the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, Intertrend is consistently selected as the 100 Top Female-Owned Businesses by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Intertrend has won numerous industry awards including the American Advertising Award; the ANA Multicultural Excellence Award; the Gold Award for Creative Campaign of the Year from the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF); and the Marketer of the Year Award from 3AF. In addition, Intertrend won the People’s Choice for Exhibition of the Year at the Frame Magazine Awards and the Bronze Cube for Spatial Design at the ADC 99th Annual Awards, both for The Art of Bloom exhibition.

Huang is an active member of the Long Beach and greater Los Angeles communities. In addition to serving on the Library Foundation Board of Directors, she serves on the board for KCRW/National Public Radio as well as volunteering her time with the Long Beach Economic Development Partnership and supporting Long Beach Walls (formerly Pow!Wow! Long Beach).

Having been raised in different cultural environments, Huang stresses the importance of community and civic engagement. She has received many accolades for her philanthropic activities supporting arts and culture, both locally and globally.

Welcoming Colleen Bentley to the Board of Directors

Colleen Bentley joins the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors after many years of volunteering her time and expertise to support the Library Foundation’s advocacy work as a member of the Public Affairs Committee. In addition to her work with the Library Foundation, she currently serves on the Long Beach Transit Board of Directors, CSULB Alumni Council, Long Beach Community Improvement League Board of Directors, Leadership Long Beach Honorary Board of Governors, and previously with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) AND Public Information Officers Advisory Committee.

Colleen worked at the California State University Chancellor’s Office for 25 years, where she served as Public Affairs Director and Special Projects Director. Her work included working with the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, and the 23 campus presidents on media relations, communication issues, and video/web projects. Prior to her role with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Colleen was the Associate Director of Public Information for the University of California, Irvine, and also worked as a reporter for the San Pedro News Pilot and the Las Vegas Sun. She earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and completed her graduate work at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Welcoming Diane Anglin to the Board of Directors

Diane Anglin is a Senior Advisor at Carta Advisors, LLC – Clark Construction Group and previously served as Marketing Director of Clark Construction Group. She is an experienced executive with demonstrated expertise in strategy and team collaborations, who fosters an environment of creativity and exceptional teamwork to problem-solve, and fill communication gaps.

A Long Beach resident for more than two decades, Diane and her family enjoy the historic neighborhoods throughout the city and seeing the growth success of small, and diverse businesses since moving here. Raising two kids, Miles and Evan, the family spends a lot of time outside usually surfing, camping, or hiking. Often traveling to remote places such as Thailand, Costa Rica, and Nepal, to explore and celebrate other cultures. The youngest of 13 siblings she is originally from Maine. Having climbed a number of mountain peaks, several with her children including nearby Mt. Baldy, Diane is a recent author of “Balancing on the Knife Edge” – a mountaineering adventure memoir reflecting both on a harrowing trek and the teachings of her father guiding the way. In Long Beach, Diane has had a personal focus on partnering with local organizations to support underserved children and the homeless in our community. 

Diane’s community involvement includes service with COA Long Beach, Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, Rebuilding Together, American Heart Association, Design Build Institute of America, Western Pacific Region, and Lean Construction Institute.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers — Margaret Durnin

This is the first feature in our new series in which leaders in our community will share recommended reads available in the Long Beach Public Library’s collection.

Margaret Durnin with her husband, Charley, in the Billie Jean King Main Library.

Margaret Durnin, Founder of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation

In honor of Women’s History Month, Margaret has shared a couple of her current favorite books written by women.

Life Under Cover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox
At twenty-one, Amaryllis Fox was recruited by the CIA as she exited her university studies. Her memoir reads like a suspenseful spy novel and the reader must continue to remind herself that this story is true.

Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke 
Elephant Company is a wonderful tale of friendship, breathtaking bravery, and daring during WWII when Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942. One particular tusker, Bandoola, attempts to lead his band of elephants and desperate refugees over an impossible mountainous trek to India.

Ryan Ballard, 2022 Board President

Ryan Ballard has served on the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board since late 2017. He has contributed to the growth and success of our organization and led efforts for the Board of Directors to better reflect our diverse city as VP of Board Development in 2019. Ballard is also an Advisory Board member of the African American Firefighter Museum, a former Den Leader for Boy Scouts of America, and a former board member for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. as its Western Region Assistant Vice President. He has served on the pastoral staff of First Church of God-Center of Hope in Inglewood, CA as the Youth Director. In addition to his work with nonprofit organizations, Ballard is a Resource Specialist Teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Ryan Ballard with his wife, Nicole, and their three sons at the grand opening of the Billie Jean King Main Library on September 21, 2019

A Letter from Our Board President

Dearest Library Supporters,

“We aren’t your grandmother’s library.” That’s a quote I heard around the time of the opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in North Long Beach in 2016. It’s a nod to the fact that libraries are no longer a quiet place to simply check out and read books or a place to do homework. Libraries represent so much more, and the vast amounts of free resources available to patrons make them centers of information, community, learning, and growth. (See Palaces for the People: Library as Community Builder)

Gone are the days of scrolling through library card catalogs, or being “hushed” for breathing too loudly. Our libraries have become one-stop interactive hubs for providing services to their visitors. From free access to computers with internet access to our Family Learning Centers which provide one-on-one homework, job support, and computer use assistance, Long Beach’s public libraries are becoming institutions we can’t live without. I’ve often said that libraries are the great equalizers; housed within them are the keys to a brighter future with the resources that provide a direct pathway to success. For instance, the Library’s Career Online High School gives a second chance to adults seeking to obtain an accredited diploma.

To be fair, I have pondered the pros and cons of our library system and what public libraries, in general, provide to communities. I was stumped, as I could not think of anything negative to say about libraries. Although the word most associated with libraries is “books,” I continue to be amazed that this age-old institution has evolved into a safe space that addresses the unique and myriad needs of our community. I guess that’s the beauty of a library…it sparks creativity which has no bounds.

In keeping with the mission, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation provides support to enhance our libraries. At our core is the promotion of literacy and education for all members of the community. We do this good work thanks to your large and small contributions to support this worthy cause. We cannot do this alone. Please join us in our relentless pursuit to expand the reach of a library system that is improving the world one book and one service at a time.

Together we can; together we must,

Ryan Ballard
2022 Board President