Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Save the Date for Grape Expectations

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2022
5:00 to 9:00 PM
HOTEL MAYA

Join the Long Beach Public Library Foundation for an evening to remember with a lavish gourmet dinner, incredible wines, and exciting online and live auctions! The Grape Expectations gala is the Library Foundation’s signature fundraising event to support our work on behalf of the 12 Long Beach public libraries.


Please contact Deputy Executive Director of Development, Erica Bradley, at erica@lbplfoundation.org regarding sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tables.


Stay tuned for more details, including a sneak peek of this year’s menu and fine wine pairings.

Grape Expectations Exceeded with More than $215,000 Raised for the Library Foundation

Check back for news about the 19th annual Grape Expectations gala taking place in 2022!

On September 19, 2021, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation celebrated significant milestones and champions of literacy at the 18th annual Grape Expectation gala. The gala brought together more than 300 library supporters at the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) to celebrate the Library Foundation’s 25th anniversary and the Long Beach Public Library’s 125th anniversary. Guests enjoyed premier online and live auctions featuring fine wines and exciting experiences, dined on gourmet foods with wine pairings expertly chosen by Randy Kemner of The Wine Country, and raised more than $215,000 to support Library Foundation work on behalf of the City’s 12 public libraries. The Port of Long Beach generously supported the evening’s festivities as the Imperial Sponsor.

Congratulatory messages from Mayor Robert Garcia, Port of Long Beach Director Mario Cordero, and Billie Jean King.

Following a wine tasting and appetizer reception featuring local wineries, restaurants, and caterers who donated refreshments, guests were guided into MoLAA’s outdoor sculpture garden for dinner at sunset and live music by contemporary Bossa Nova singer Caro Pierotto and her band. The dinner opened with a welcome by Library Foundation Interim Executive Director Kathy McCarrell, Library Foundation 2021 Board President M. Lissette Flores, and Library Foundation 2020 Board President Sharon L. Weissman. They invited Cordelia Howard, Director of Library Services (1983-1998), to the stage to deliver a heartwarming speech about her friend and Library Foundation founding Board member, Margaret Durnin. With Howard’s encouragement, Durnin and fellow founders Bob Kilpatrick, Helena Belisle, and Robert Campbell generously contributed their resources, time, and expertise to form the Library Foundation in 1996. In 25 years, the Library Foundation has raised more than $25 million to support technology, programs, and resources at the City’s 12 public libraries. In Howard’s words, none of this would have been possible and, “there would be no Library Foundation had it not been for Margaret Durnin.” Following Howard’s speech, Durnin was welcomed onto the stage, where Flores and Weissman surprised Durnin and Howard by leading all guests in a Champagne toast in honor of all they have done to support literacy and education in Long Beach. Flores and Weissman also presented Durnin and Howard with proclamations from Congressman Alan Lowenthal, Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Mayor Robert Garcia, and Councilwoman Suzie Price.

From left to right: Library Foundation Interim Executive Director Kathy McCarrell; Library Foundation founding board member, Margaret Durnin; Former Director of Library Services Cordelia Howard; Library Foundation 2020 Board President Sharon L. Weissman; and Library Foundation 2021 Board President M. Lissette Flores lead guests in a toast celebrating the Library Foundation’s 25th anniversary.

The evening continued with a presentation of the 2021 Library Leadership Award to Vice Mayor Rex Richardson for his work supporting the Long Beach public libraries, notably the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library. Library Foundation Directors Emeriti and Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Capital Campaign Co-chairs Rick Alsagoff and Mary Hancock Hinds took to the stage to discuss how Vice Mayor Richardson involved local youth in the naming process of the Library and was deeply involved in creating a library to meet the many needs the community. Library Foundation Board President-elect and friend to Richardson, Ryan Ballard, welcomed Richardson to accept his award and shared that Richardson inspired him to join the Library Foundation Board of Directors.

Margaret Durnin and her husband, Dr. Charles Durnin, followed with a presentation to honor Joseph F. Prevratil, JD, with the 2021 Durnin Family Award for his dedication to libraries and literacy. Prevratil served on the Library Foundation Board from 2003 to 2014. During his term as President in 2013, the Library Foundation strengthened its endowment to lift the organization to a higher level of sustainability. In addition, from 1995 to 2019, Joe led the Archstone Foundation in its mission to contribute toward the needs of the aging population. During this time, the Archstone Foundation awarded over 1,100 grants totaling more than $117 million to many nonprofit organizations, including the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. These grants have supported the Library Foundation’s work on behalf of the 12 public libraries and the Library’s Homebound Readers delivery services for library patrons confined to their homes. As a Director Emeritus, Joe has remained engaged in Library Foundation activities and serves on the Legacy Committee, bringing our organization to the attention of those who care deeply about the future of Long Beach’s public libraries.

Grape Expectations Committee Chair Sean Reilly (129) and friends raise their paddles to bid.

Special Events Committee Chair Sean M. Reilly spoke next to thank guests and honor the 18th anniversary of Grape Expectations. Reilly has chaired the event committee since 2019 and leads all volunteer efforts that make Grape Expectations a success. He asked all in attendance who had ever served on the event’s committee to stand for applause. Those celebrated for their service to Grape Expectations include this year’s committee volunteers: Kate Azar, Ryan Ballard, M. Lissette Flores, Mary Hancock Hinds, Mary Lamo-Putnam, Barbara Long, Carmen O. Perez, Jeffrey Toelsin, Tony Tortorice, Joan Van Hooten, Sharon L. Weissman, Sally Wittenberg, and Greg Zinberg. Reilly also thanked his brother and film producer, Dan Reilly, for donating his time and resources to produce a short and inspirational film about the Library Foundation’s 25th anniversary that was shown during the event. Following this, guests excitedly raised their paddles to contribute more than $60,000 during the live auction and live ask.

Thank You to Our Lead Imperial Sponsor, the Port of Long Beach

Champion of Literacy, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson

Vice Mayor Richardson and his wife, Dr. Nina Richardson, (center) with Library Foundation Directors Emeriti and Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Capital Campaign Co-chairs Rick Alsagoff and Mary Hancock Hinds (left), and Library Foundation Board President-elect Ryan Ballard (far right).

For his dedication to libraries and literacy, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation was delighted to present Vice Mayor Rex Richardson with the 2021 Library Leadership Award at the 18th annual Grape Expectations gala on September 19. In the early 2010s, North Long Beach’s stunning Michele Obama Neighborhood Library was just a dream. Community members met with Library staff in the Jordan High School cafeteria to share visions for their neighborhood’s new library. By 2016, those visions had become a reality with the opening of the new Library’s doors. A significant key to that transformation was our honoree, Vice Mayor Richardson.

From those first meetings, Richardson was deeply involved, sharing ideas, resources, and, most importantly, his leadership skills, as demonstrated by the naming of the new library. Throughout the city, there was a wide range of ideas about what to name the new library. Its predecessor was simply called “North Library,” but this spectacular new structure needed a name to match its magnificence.

Many names were suggested with no consensus until Richardson came up with the ideal solution: ask the area’s young people what name would inspire them to visit and use this new resource. Jordan High School’s students resoundingly selected the First Lady.

With a new name in place, the Library Foundation was tasked with fundraising for enhancements such as the Family Learning Center, the Studio, furnishings, books, and technology. Richardson supported this effort with energy and enthusiasm as one of the fundraising campaign’s honorary co-chairs. The campaign raised more than $1 million, which will continue to benefit the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library for many years to come. Richardson has remained a steadfast supporter of the Library and the Library Foundation.

Champion of Literacy, Joseph F. Prevratil, JD

Joseph F. Prevratil, JD, (center) accepting the 2021 Durning Family Award from Margaret and Charles Durnin.

On September 19 at the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s Grape Expectations gala, we were proud to honor Joseph F. Prevratil, JD, with the 2021 Durnin Family Award for his dedication to libraries and literacy. His leadership and guidance has been key to the Library Foundation accomplishing many goals and developing a sustainable future.

From 1995 to 2019, Joe led the Archstone Foundation in its mission to contribute toward the needs of the aging population as President and CEO. He was instrumental in moving the Archstone Foundation from a focus on general health to its longstanding focus on aging. During this time, the Archstone Foundation awarded over 1,100 grants totaling more than $117 million to many nonprofit organizations, including the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. These grants have supported the Library Foundation’s work on behalf of the 12 public libraries and the Library’s Homebound Readers delivery services for library patrons confined to their homes. Joe is also a founding member of Grantmakers In Aging (GIA).

Joe served on the Library Foundation Board from 2003 to 2014. During his term as President in 2013, the Library Foundation strengthened its endowment to lift the organization to a higher level of sustainability. The Library Foundation also raised funds for the Library’s first makerspace Studio stocked with the latest in digital learning resources. During this time, the Library Foundation took an active role in advocating for what would become the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and Billie Jean King Main Library. In 2013, Joe was one of 25 leaders across the country invited to join a prestigious national Libraries, Museums, and Early Learning task force convened by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Through the years, Joe has helped strengthen Long Beach through his many leadership roles, including Chief Executive Director for the Port of Long Beach, President and CEO of the Queen Mary, and Chairman of the boards of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Downtown Long Beach Associates. He was a founding member of the CSULB Board of Governors and continues to be a member of the CSULB Research Foundation Board of Directors.

As a Director Emeritus, Joe has remained engaged in Library Foundation activities and serves on the Legacy Committee, bringing our organization to the attention of those who care deeply about the future of Long Beach’s public libraries. Through his leadership and generosity, Joe has provided crucial resources for the many who depend on the Library.

Reading Recommendations from Long Beach Librarians

2019 Librarian Appreciation Event hosted by the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library.

Share in the joy of reading with recommendations from Long Beach Public Library librarians. The books listed below for children, teens, and adults are part of the Library’s eBook collection on Overdrive. Sign in with your library card barcode and pin to check out these books and more. If you would like to apply for a temporary library card to access this resource, click here.

Picture Books
Dino-Basketball (Dino Series) by Lisa Wheeler
Dream Animals: a Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin
Give Me Back My Bones by Kim Norman
It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah
Planet Kindergarten (Series) by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Super Red Riding Hood by Claudia Davila
Tina Cocolina: Queen of the Cupcakesby Pablo Cartaya
The Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken by Helen Lester

Early Chapter Books
Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
In a Blink (Never Girls) by Kiki Thorpe
Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess) by Ursula Vernon
Billions of Bats (Buzz Beaker Brainstorm) by Scott Nickel

Children’s Fiction
The City of Ember (Ember Series) by Jeanne DuPrau
Door in the Alley (The Explorers) by Adrienne Kress
Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins
National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (NERDS) by Michael Buckley
Peter and the Starcatchers (series) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Sweep: the Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

Middle School
The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) by Michael Scott
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls) by Ally Carter
Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids) by Helene Boudreau
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles) by Colin Meloy

Teens
Bloody Jack (Series) by L. A. Meyer
Dead is the New Black (Dead Is Series) by Marlene Perez
Intertwined (Series) by Gena Showalter
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking) by Patrick Ness
The Looking Glass Wars (Series) by Frank Beddor
The Monstrumologist (Series) by Rick Yancey
Mortal Engines (Predator Cities) by Philip Reeves
Three Dark Crowns (Series) by Kendare Blake
Vampire Academy (Series) by Richelle Mead

Adults
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Library Book by Susan Orlean
Well Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Bibliotech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey

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

16th Annual Grape Expectations

On June 9, 2019 we celebrated the 16th annual Grape Expectations gala in support of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. Over 300 guests enjoyed premier silent and live auctions featuring fine wines and exciting experiences, dined on gourmet foods with expertly chosen wine pairings by Randy Kemner of The Wine County, and raised more than $180,000 to help us support the Long Beach Public Library in transforming lives.

This year, we were proud to honor Marathon Petroleum Corporation with the 2019 Library Leadership Award and Victor and Patricia McCarty with the 2019 Durnin Family Award.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, formerly Andeavor and Tesoro, generously supports the Library’s Mobile Studio, allowing it to travel to libraries, parks, schools, and community events throughout the city and host workshops to teach robotics, 3D printing, graphic design, coding, and more. Learn more about how Marathon Petroleum supports innovative programs at the Library. Click HERE.

Vic and Patty McCarty have supported library programs in Long Beach since 1999. Vic was one the Library Foundation’s earliest Board members and continues to provide guidance as a member of the Foundation’s Finance Committee. Vic and Patty have generously donated to support programs and technology at the Mark Twain Library, the Michelle Obama Library, and the new Main Library opening later this summer. Learn more about Vic and Patty’s dedication to literacy and education. Click HERE.

We were thrilled to welcome Jennifer Silver, President of the Southland Council of Teachers of English and Dr. Bill Younglove of the California Association of Teachers of English Board of Directors who attended our gala to recognize the Dictionary Days program with the California Association of Teachers of English 2019 Award of Merit. In accepting the award, Kate Azar, Library Foundation Executive Director, announced that the Library Foundation shares this honor with the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation for making this program possible. Learn more about this statewide honor for Dictionary Days. Click HERE.

One of our favorite moments of the night reminded us how one person’s support for the Library can make a difference for so many. Sanghak Kan, a dedicated Library volunteer, shared his story with our attendees. After immigrating to the United States from Cambodia with his family, Sanghak discovered the Mark Twain Library where he connected with others in his community and his family benefited from the Library Foundation funded Family Learning Center and Summer Reading programs. Sanghak and his family now volunteer their time at the Library every weekend to support the Khmer language programs. Read Sanghak’s story. Click HERE.

After Sanghak shared his story, 70 attendees raised their bid paddles during our Live Ask to donate to the Library Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who donated, attended, volunteered, bid, and celebrated library programs with us. We hope to see you at the next Grape Expectations!

Click for Grape Expectations Photos

THANK YOU TO OUR 2019 GRAPE EXPECTATIONS COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS
Sean Reilly, Chair
Mary Hancock Hinds
Mary Lamo-Putnam
Russ Parsons
Barbara Schwerin
Jeffrey Toelsin
Sharon Weissman

THANK YOU TO OUR 2019 GRAPE EXPECTATIONS SPONSORS

THANK YOU TO OUR APPETIZER SPONSORS


Learning and Teaching at the Library – Sanghak Kan’s Story

Sanghak Kan sharing his story at the 16th Annual Grape Expectations gala.

Many of our Library Foundation donors and the Library’s volunteers provide support because a public library made a difference in their lives and they want to help others who depend on library programs. Sanghak Kan and his family are prime examples of those who have had their lives transformed by the Library and then support the Library in making a difference in the lives of others.

Sanghak Kan and his wife, Sophea Chim, immigrated to the United States in 2017 with their children after 12 years of applications. They quickly settled in Long Beach’s Cambodia Town and it wasn’t long before they visited the Mark Twain Library. Senior Librarian Jennifer Songster introduced them to resources to connect with their new community and services for their children. Their eldest daughter received homework help from the Family Learning Center and developed her reading skills through the Summer Reading program. Both of these programs are supported by the Library Foundation.

Sanghak wrote a letter of thanks to Mark Twain Library staff last year:

Congratulations to my beloved daughter who is a first-grader in the Long Beach Unified School District. She received the Character Award, “I will always be a scholar,” last month!

As a parent I am so excited about her first ever achievement in first grade. I recognize that this good result came from many factors, and one among those is the Summer Reading Program. Heartfelt thanks to the City of Long Beach and especially the Mark Twain Library for making the Summer Reading Program happen smoothly and fruitfully. This program builds a habit and love of reading for children and gets them involved with creative, innovative and joyous activities.

Hand in hand – families, schools, and libraries – we can shape our young generations for a bright and prosperous future.

Sanghak and Sophea have set out to support the Library in doing just that.

Sanghak Kan teaching a Khmer language class at the Mark Twain Library.

In less than two years they have become two of the Library’s most dedicated volunteers. Sanghak volunteers every weekend to teach beginning Khmer language classes at the Mark Twain Library. Last month, he started an English language class for Khmer speakers.

Sophea assists with the classes and she and Sanghak also lead the Library’s new Khmer-English Storytime every Saturday. Their daughter has followed her parent’s example and volunteers as a guest reader at the storytime events.

In addition to his volunteer work, Sanghak began working as a contractor for the Library earlier this year to complete the Khmer Cataloging Project which will make books in the collection searchable in Khmer script in the Library’s online catalog. The Long Beach Public Library has the largest collection of Khmer materials of any public library in the country. The collection has recently expanded thanks to a book buying trip to Cambodia that the Library Foundation helped fund in December 2018.

Sanghak is truly making an impact in our Long Beach community and we hope others follow in his example to help the Library transform even more lives.

KhmerTV PSA about the Library’s Khmer language programs featuring Sanghak Kan, Sophea Chim and their children.

Dictionary Days Receives Statewide Recognition

On June 9, at the 2019 Grape Expectations gala, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation was awarded the California Association of Teachers of English 2019 Award of Merit for the annual Dictionary Days program. In accepting the award, Kate Azar, Library Foundation Executive Director, announced that the Library Foundation shares this honor with the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation for making this program possible.

Every year since 2003, the Library Foundation and the Miller Foundation join forces to promote literacy for local students. Over 120,000 dictionary/thesauruses have been given to Long Beach third grade students since the program’s inception thanks to the generosity of the Miller Foundation. Dictionary Day events every Spring help students navigate their lessons by teaching dictionary use through fun and creative activities designed to help improve reading comprehension.

(Left to right) Jennifer Silver, President, Southland Council of Teachers of English; Kate Azar, Executive Director, Long Beach Public Library Foundation; and
Dr. Bill Younglove, member, California Association of Teachers of English
Board of Directors