Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Summer Reading Program Launches with Live Music Performances at all 12 Public Libraries

The Long Beach Public Library invites you to blaze a new trail this summer through the annual Summer Reading program! The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is proud to sponsor this year’s program thanks to generous support from the Port of Long Beach.

From Saturday, June 18 to Saturday, August 13 readers of all ages can take part in the fun with prizes, programs, and special events designed to entertain and educate. To celebrate the launch of this year’s program, all 12 public libraries will host a live music performance during the first week of the program (June 21-24), courtesy of the Music Center of Los Angeles’ Art Grown program.

Additional support for the Summer Reading program was provided by the International Paper Foundation. Click the link below to learn more and register for this program.

Billie Jean King Main Library KidSpace Dedicated to John & Helen Apostle in Honor of $1 Million Gift to Children’s Programming

From left to right: Jim Sullos, Monika Lopez and Gary Van Arnam, John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation Co-trustees; Councilwoman Mary Zendejas; Ryan Ballard, Library Foundation Board President; Veronica Garcia Dávalos, Library Foundation Executive Director/CEO; Jay Swigart and Joan Solomon, John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation Co-trustees
Photo by Michael Fratino

On May 13, 2022, the Long Beach Public Library and Long Beach Public Library Foundation dedicated the children’s library at the Billie Jean King Main Library, the KidSpace, to the late John and Helen Apostle in a celebration attended by families, local leaders, and Library supporters. This honor recognizes a $1 million gift from the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation to support children’s programming. This gift was the largest pledge made to the Library Foundation as part of its New Main Campaign, which concluded in September 2020 after raising more than $3.3 million for technology, programs, and enhancements at Long Beach’s newest library. The New Main Campaign was co-chaired by Billie Jean King and Mayor Robert Garcia, with nearly 500 community members, book clubs, foundations, and local organizations contributing gifts of all sizes.

“We are proud to fund crucial programs for children who depend on the Long Beach Public Library,” said Jim Sullos, Trustee of the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation. “This important work will build a lasting legacy for John and Helen Apostle.”

Jim Sullos, Co-trustee of the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation
Photo by Michael Fratino

“The Billie Jean King Main Library is an incredible space and a center for education and community development in Downtown Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “I want to thank the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation for their generous support of these programs and resources for children and families in our community.”

The Apostle Foundation’s $1 million gift is being contributed over ten years. Half of the funds will be used to establish the John and Helen Apostle Endowed Fund for Children, to help these programs serve children for generations to come. The funds received have enabled the Library to hire three bilingual Library staff who design and implement children’s programs in Spanish and English, such as Dive into Reading/Sumérgete a Leer, Circle of Stories/Círculo de Cuentos, and Cuentos y Cantos. The Billie Jean King Main Library is the hub of the Long Beach Public Library system, and with this new support, these programs can be replicated at all 11 neighborhood libraries.

Photo by Michael Fratino

“The generous gift from the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation is one of the largest gifts the Library Foundation has ever received,” said Veronica Garcia Dávalos, Executive Director/CEO of the Library Foundation. “It comes when Long Beach youth need support to improve their reading capabilities and succeed in school. We are proud to honor John and Helen Apostle with this beautiful display in the Billie Jean King Main Library.”

According to a March 2022 report from the Long Beach Unified School District, during the first in-person school year since the pandemic began, 61 percent of elementary and 66 percent of middle school students in Long Beach read below grade level. According to a 2021 report released by the City Auditor, the Library should provide more materials and programs in languages other than English. Due to its limited budget, 95 percent of physical Library materials and 97 percent of programs are in English, even though 30 percent of residents in several Long Beach neighborhoods have limited English proficiency. It is crucial that the Library receive the funding necessary to provide more resources in Spanish, Khmer, Tagalog, and other languages spoken in Long Beach homes. This $1 million gift from the John Apostle and Helen Apostle Foundation has already made a significant impact in supporting important multilingual Library programming for youth in Long Beach.

Councilwoman Zendejas addresses the crowd at the dedication.
Photo by Michael Fratino

“The Library’s children’s programming is needed now more than ever,” said Ryan Ballard, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board President. “The impact of the Apostle Foundation’s gift will surely be felt throughout our communities, and we hope will inspire greater generosity in others as we seek to improve the outcomes for all Long Beach youth. We simply couldn’t be more excited and grateful!”

John and Helen Apostle were Long Beach-based entrepreneurs who were actively involved in local civic and philanthropic endeavors. The Apostles, former owners of the Golden Sails Inn in Long Beach, were longtime supporters of the City’s libraries. They placed their estate in their charitable foundation to benefit the community, needy children, and the elderly.

The KidSpace dedicated to John and Helen Apostle with a plaque and a new art wall featuring dolphins leaping through waves is the ocean-themed children’s section of the Billie Jean King Main Library. It contains a collection of approximately 45,000 books and materials for youth ages zero to 12, computers with tools and software just for children, interactive educational stations, study tables and lounge chairs for reading and learning, a Studio Jr offering makerspace STEAM workshops, and the Rotary Storytime Theater. All KidSpace resources are available whenever the Billie Jean Main Library is open. Visit the Library’s website at longbeach.gov/library for open hours and the Library’s program and events calendar.

More than 60% of Long Beach students read below grade level. Double your impact with a National Library Week donation!

The Long Beach Unified School District recently reported that during this first in-person school year since the pandemic began, 61% of elementary and 66% of middle school students in Long Beach read below grade level. Even more shocking, 8% of elementary and 35% of middle school students read at three or more grade levels behind their current grade.

Help fund resources for students and all who depend on the 12 Long Beach public libraries with a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Thanks to an anonymous donor, you have the opportunity to double your impact when you celebrate our libraries during National Library Week (April 3 9) and Library Giving Day (April 6)!

A family at a recent Library Foundation-funded Circle of Stories/Círculo de Cuentos bilingual early literacy program. All families in attendance received backpacks with free educational tools.

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 in response to Library budget cuts. Thanks to your donations, every year we provide more than $1 million for library programs, technology, materials, and other enhancements at the 12 public libraries, including:

  • homework help, job search support, and computer training through the Family Learning Center program;
  • early literacy programs in English and Spanish;
  • a new dictionary/thesaurus for every LBUSD 3rd grade student to keep in their home libraries;
  • Chromebooks and wireless internet devices available for check out;
  • adaptive technology for those with disabilities;
  • 3D printers, advanced design software, and other creative resources in the Library’s makerspace Studio;
  • scholarships for adults earning their high school diploma through the Library;
  • and more!

Whether you give $5 or $500, your generosity makes a difference for the thousands of Long Beach families who depend on the Long Beach Public Library’s free educational resources.

Library Foundation Supported Programs in Lincoln Park

In March, the Library resumed in-person storytimes and other programs for youth, including the return of Circle of Stories/Círculo de Cuentos in the newly remodeled Lincoln Park. Circle of Stories/Círculo de Cuentos is a Library Foundation-funded bilingual program for families with children ages 2 to 5. Librarians led children in educational songs, games, and storytimes in Spanish and English. Thanks to Library Foundation donors, each child in attendance received a backpack containing activity guides and tools to increase child engagement.

In April, the Library will host the Library Foundation-funded Cuentos y Cantos Spanish and English storytime program in Lincoln Park every Friday at 10:00 AM. Families with children ages 2 to 5 are invited to read, talk, sing, and play ¡en inglés y en español!

Check out the Library’s calendar to view the full list of upcoming events and programs.

Family Learning Centers Resume In-person Guidance for Youth and Adult Learners

In March, the Long Beach Public Library announced the reopening of the Family Learning Centers at Billie Jean King Main Library and Michelle Obama, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Burnett neighborhood libraries. Trained Learning Guides are available at the Centers to provide one-on-one homework help to students of all grade levels. Adult learners are welcome for support with job searches, résumé development, and computer use. 

The Library Foundation is proud to have supported the Family Learning Center program since its founding in 1999. Every year, thanks to your donations, thousands of students receive the free, one-on-one guidance they need to succeed in school.

Educational Resources Funded in 2021 Thanks to Your Donations

Thanks to your support, the Library Foundation made the following resources possible in 2021 to help many in Long Beach get their lives and livelihoods back on track. You can give those who depend on the Library even more reason to celebrate in 2022 with a tax-deductible donation to help us support library programs, technology, and resources. Every dollar makes a difference!

Family Learning Center Program

This program provides one-on-one homework help, job search support, and computer training. It continued in 2021 with the reopening of in-person centers and through its online component, Brainfuse, that all library cardholders can access 24/7. The Library Foundation has funded this program since its inception in 1999.

Dive into School Launches

This new program made possible by donations to the Library Foundation includes virtual and in-person workshops designed to teach age-appropriate language, literacy, math, and social-emotional skills that children should acquire before entering kindergarten. Workshops are available in both English and Spanish.

Celebrating Our Heritage

The Library has a long history of promoting inclusivity and diversity by highlighting the many cultures represented in Long Beach. This year, the Library Foundation was proud to fund educational events to celebrate Black History Month and Latino Heritage Month with support from F&M Bank, and to start our Fund for Asian American & Pacific Islander Voices.

Tech To-Go

In April, the Library launched its new Tech To-Go Chromebook and pre-paid wifi hotspot lending program to help local families bridge the digital divide. One in four Long Beach households lacks a reliable internet connection. The Library Foundation is proud to be a part of the community benefit partnership with Verizon that launched this program. 

Makerspace Studio

The Library’s most innovative resources made a comeback this year. The Library Foundation-funded makerspace studios at the Billie Jean King Main Library and the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library reopened this summer and resumed offering in-person instruction in 3D printing, graphic design, robotics, and more.

Early Literacy

Promoting literacy in Long Beach starts with raising the next generation of dedicated readers who are prepared to succeed in school and beyond. This year, the Library Foundation funded several virtual literacy programs for families including Dive into Reading, Circle of Stories, the Young Readers Club, and the Summer Reading Program.

We also partnered with Léeme un Libro (Read Me a Book) and, with funding from the Long Beach Community Foundation, made it possible for more than 1,200 new Spanish-language books and 2,700 craft packs to be delivered to migrant children sheltered at the Long Beach HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) site this summer.

2021 Newsletter

Learn about the new Library programs and resources we supported in 2021 including several early literacy programs, the Studio’s new CurioCity STEAM workshops, and the Tech To-Go Chromebook and wireless internet device check out service.

Library Launches CurioCity: STEAM & Beyond

Students in the Library’s Studio learning how to build robotic drones.

In October 2021, the Library launched the CurioCity program to introduce youth ages 12 and up to a wide array of creative interests within the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Robotics, interactive electronics, and modular synthesizers are just some of the subjects that students are learning through biweekly workshops. The program involves experts in these fields to help lead the workshops and inspire young minds.

This program is the latest from the Library’s makerspace Studio which provides expert instruction in 3D modeling, graphic design, coding, and more. The Library Foundation is proud to provide funding for the makerspace Studio thanks to generous support from the Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and many donors across Long Beach who support the Library’s innovative programs.

Students maneuvering flying fish drones that they assembled.

The Library’s Mobile Studio Powered by Marathon Petroleum

During our Grape Expectations fundraiser on September 19, 2021, we were proud to welcome Brad Levi, Vice President of Refining at the Marathon Petroleum Corporation Los Angeles Refinery, where he announced Marathon’s latest contribution of $60,000 to fund the Long Beach Public Library’s Mobile Studio. The Mobile Studio hosts STEAM workshops at locations throughout Long Beach, including branch libraries, parks, schools, and community events. This makerspace on wheels is stocked with technology and supplies for instruction in 3D printing, robotics, coding, graphic design, and other science, engineering, and art projects. The workshops invite children, teens, and adults to develop 21st century marketable skills.

Marathon has supported the Mobile Studio since its launch in 2017. In 2019, the Library Foundation awarded Marathon with the 2019 Library Leadership Award for their support of library programs.

From left: Library Foundation Board President M. Lissette Flores, Director of Library Services Glenda Williams, and Brad Levi of Marathon Petroleum in front of the Library’s Mobile Studio at the 2021 Grape Expectations fundraiser.

Celebrate Latino Heritage Month with Vida Latina

The Long Beach Public Library will host its third annual Vida Latina event series in celebration of Latino Heritage Month! This year’s Vida Latina will include free in-person and virtual family programs from Saturday, September 18, through Saturday, October 30.

Vida Latina will feature a variety of programs for all ages, including bilingual storytimes for young children, a Spanish book series for school-age children, Spanish short story readings for teens and adults and a Community Lotería Night for all ages.

Vida Latina is generously supported by Farmers & Merchants Bank!