Long Beach Public Library Foundation

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!

Free Back-to-School Resources from the Library

As LBUSD students return to class for the 2021/2022 school year, the Library’s many free resources will help them stay on track and succeed. 10 Long Beach Public Libraries are open, providing the opportunity to browse the collection of more than 800,000 books and materials, receive guidance from librarians, and access computers and free WiFi.

Online Tutoring and Databases: The Library Foundation funded Brainfuse HelpNow program provides live tutoring in English and Spanish, virtual study rooms with other HelpNow users, college application guidance, and a library of lessons, videos, and practice tests. World Book Online is an online encyclopedia in English and Spanish that covers various topics ranging from animals and dinosaurs to ancient civilizations and the human body.

Tech To-Go: This new program allows library cardholders to check out Chromebooks and MiFi hotspots to access the internet for up to two weeks. The Library Foundation is proud to be a part of the community benefit partnership with Verizon that helped launch this program. Click Here to learn more.

Long Beach Public Library Kicks Off Summer Programs with Library Foundation Support

The Library Foundation is proud to help Long Beach students combat the “summer slide” by funding fun and educational programs all summer long! Thank you to our supporters for their donations of all sizes that make these learning opportunities possible.

The Long Beach Public Library kicked off its 2021 Summer Reading Program virtually on September 19 and invited everyone to read the colors of their world. The program includes reading challenges, opportunities to win prizes, and weekly virtual events and workshops for children, teens, and adults in English and Spanish. Registration is required to participate in reading challenges.

“Make.Create.Design: Video Games” by the Library’s makerspace Studio invites students, grades 7 to 12, to design their own video games from start to finish with free online software. This is a five-week virtual workshop series and begins June 24. Registration is required. Due to the high level of interest in this workshop series, the Library will give priority to residents of Long Beach.

Enjoy a Storytime to Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Enjoy a special storytime by Carmen D. Snuggs of the Library Foundation Board of Directors to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Carmen reads Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin. Find this book and more to celebrate AAPI heritage in the Long Beach Public Library’s catalog at http://encore.lbpl.org.

The Library Foundation recently launched a new fund supporting library materials that promote the voices, narratives, and histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This fund also supports resources and programs that educate the public on the origins of white privilege, white supremacy, and other forms of institutional racism and human rights issues that plague our society. Donate to this fund at the link below.

The Long Beach Public Library is commemorating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with a series of virtual programs. Check out the Library’s YouTube playlist to enjoy these programs whenever you’d like.

Library Launches Chromebook and Mobile Hotspot Lending Program Thanks to a Partnership with Verizon and the Library Foundation

On April 15, 2021, the Library launched its new Tech To-Go lending program to help local families bridge the digital divide. 1 in 4 Long Beach households lacks a reliable internet connection and a 2019 report by the City’s Technology and Innovation Commission showed that 45% of those residents rely on the Library to connect to the Internet. The Library Foundation is proud to be a part of the community benefit partnership with Verizon that made this program possible. As part of the program, Verizon provided the Library with 100 MiFi devices with features geared toward students and $50,000 to the Library Foundation to purchase Chromebooks.

Tech To-Go devices are equipped with automatic web filters, including Google SafeSearch for all Chromebook sessions, as well as high-school-level filters on the MiFi hotspots. The MiFi filters are geared toward students, but the devices can be used by non-students for job searching, career development, research projects, skill-building and more. Library cardholders 18 years and older can schedule requests for devices through the Library. Visit http://www.longbeach.gov/library/borrow/tech-to-go to learn more.

Summer 2020 Newsletter

Despite all of the challenges we faced, the Library Foundation helped the Library serve thousands this summer with innovative services thanks to your support. Check out our summer newsletter with details about virtual programs, how the Family Learning Center proved pandemic proof, social distance celebrating, and our fund for race, equity, and justice resources at the Library. 

Dive into Reading Goes Virtual

Thanks to donations to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the Dive into Reading early literacy program for families with children ages 0-5 is relaunching virtually. The live online launch event on August 29 at 10:30 a.m. on the Library’s Facebook page will include a craft workshop for children to make their own musical instruments and a bilingual musical performance. Schedule a pick-up of your child’s craft kit while supplies last by calling the Library at (562) 570-7500 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday.

Dive into Reading guides parents and guardians as they read 1,000 books to their children before kindergarten and raise life-long readers. The virtual version of the program includes online book trackers for parents and guardians and prizes for families that reach reading milestones.

Learn more on the Library’s website at http://www.longbeach.gov/library/learn/dive-into-reading/.

Take Action to Prevent Library Hour and Budget Cuts

UPDATE: On September 8, the City Council voted to approve Mayor Garcia’s recommendation to restore the funds cut from the Library’s proposed budget and to maintain a 5-days-a-week schedule for all 12 libraries in FY21. The City Council also approved a recommendation to look at opportunities to expand hours at some libraries in the future.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ADVOCATED FOR THE LIBRARY AND HELPED MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation urges the City Council to fulfill Mayor Robert Garcia’s recommendation by rejecting any reduction in Library hours and voting to maintain the Library’s current budget without any additional cuts. While we understand the City faces a number of challenges, reducing access to Library services only exacerbates the digital, educational, and economic divides that plague Long Beach.

The City’s proposed FY21 budget drastically cuts the hours of 9 public libraries to a 3-days-a-week schedule. Families dealing with the challenges of homeschooling and those affected by record unemployment need the Library now more than ever. This is not the time to limit the Library’s capacity to serve Long Beach and leave valuable educational resources behind closed doors.

You can help prevent this by telling the City Council that ALL 12 Long Beach Public Libraries should receive funding to be open at least 5 days per week and no additional cuts should be made to the Library’s already lean budget. The City Council will have their first opportunity to adopt the budget on September 1 so your actions are needed as soon as possible.

LONG BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION, AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE SOCIETY OF LONG BEACH, AND FAITH LEADERS LAUNCH FUND FOR RACE, EQUITY, AND JUSTICE RESOURCES AT THE LONG BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY

LONG BEACH, California, June 24, 2020 – The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, in partnership with the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) and local faith leaders, has launched a fund for materials and programs related to race, equity, and justice at the Long Beach Public Library.

As an extension of the Library’s African American Resource Collection, supported and curated by AAHS-LB, this fund will support the purchase of new materials including books, eBooks, and audiobooks that promote the voices, narratives, and histories of African Americans. The fund will also support similarly-themed events and activities hosted by the Library. Programs and materials will also educate the public on issues such as anti-Black racism, white privilege, white supremacy, mass incarceration, other forms of institutional racism, and human rights issues that have plagued our society.

“The African American Heritage Society of Long Beach is proud to partner with the Long Beach Public Library Foundation to launch the fund for race, equity, and justice resources at the Library,” said Nicole Ballard, President of AAHS-LB. “Since 1619, people of African descent have endured devastating physiological, psychological, and socio-economic trauma from systemic racism and oppression in all of its forms. I believe that public acknowledgment of these critical issues, combined with resources and community support, will yield positive, meaningful changes. Therefore, we remain dedicated to preserving and expanding public awareness of the rich history and culture of Africans and African Americans through literacy and community programming.”

“Because of this effort, I am pleased that we are able to provide more resources on the issues of systemic oppression of Black people and the social injustices that people of color encounter on a daily basis,” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services for the Long Beach Public Library.

“As an organization that has long advocated for equity in education and literacy, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation board and staff wholeheartedly agree Black lives matter. When Reverends Melinda Teter Dodge and Katy Hyman approached us on behalf of a faith community looking to take action, we agreed our role in ending systematic racism would be to ensure anti-racist education was widely available to all who were committed to learning,” said Sharon Weissman, President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. “Funding resources to educate the public on white privilege, racism, and African American heritage is a critical component to finding equity for all members of the Long Beach community,”

This fund was conceived when local faith leaders, Reverend Teter Dodge and Reverend Hyman, contacted the Library Foundation to form a collaboration in support of broad community access to anti-racist educational resources through the Long Beach Public Library system.

“To become anti-racist, we must enact and support broad and deep systemic change, and that kind of change begins from within us. It begins—within our nation—within our states, cities, workplaces, communities, neighborhoods, home, and families.  But, most of all, this change begins within our own individual hearts,” said Reverend Teter Dodge. “We must take the steps to open our hearts to our own perpetuating systemic and individual racism and white privilege as well as hear from and listen deeply to the narratives of our African American communities.”

“White Christianity has actively contributed to racist structures and policies, both in the past and the present. As a historically white congregation, we want to take responsibility for our role in this and work to dismantle white supremacy,” said Reverend Hyman. “We believe that education and activism go hand in hand, so making materials widely accessible to the Long Beach community through the LBPL is an important part of the process.”

Those interested in supporting the fund are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation of any size online at lbplfoundation.org/aarc. Supporters may also issue checks or money orders to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation at 200 W. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802. Please indicate that the donation is for the African American Resource Center (AARC) or the Fund for Race, Equity, and Justice. Donors are also welcome to suggest anti-racist books they would like to see more widely available at the Library.  

The Long Beach Public Libraries are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn about library resources and services currently available including eBooks, audiobooks, research databases, weekly online programs, and the new contactless pick-up service for books and DVDs at longbeach.gov/library.

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The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides support to enhance the Main Library and 11 neighborhood branches of the Long Beach Public Library and encourages literacy and education for all members of the community. LBPLfoundation.org  

Since 1997, the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) has dedicated its efforts and resources to the preservation of African and African-American history, achievement, and culture. With the establishment of the Long Beach Public Library’s African American Resource Center at Burnett Library, AAHS-LB continues to engage, educate, and empower the community through literacy, genealogy research, and public programming. www.aaheritagelb.org

Reverend Melinda Teter Dodge serves three United Methodist Churches across the city of Long Beach who are working together to lift up the voice of an all-inclusive, loving God who yearns for justice for all peoples. 

Reverend Katy Hyman is a community minister at First Congregational Church of Long Beach, a liberal, progressive church, welcoming of all, and passionately committed to social justice. FCCLB is a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, located in downtown Long Beach on the corner of 3rd and Cedar 

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation Unequivocally Affirms that Black Lives Matter

The City of Long Beach, and the world, have experienced an extraordinary uprising in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and staff have taken this time to listen, learn, and analyze our own role in upholding systemic racism. As an organization that has long advocated for equity in education and literacy, we unequivocally affirm that Black lives, indeed, matter.

While we are an organization that relies heavily on the power of the written word, we know words are not enough. For too long, nonprofit organizations like ours have failed to take deliberate actions that significantly dismantle systemic racism. Our organization has worked for years to support educational programs and provide resources to all who visit the public libraries in Long Beach. Still, we understand Black people and people of color face crippling inequality in virtually every aspect of American society including housing, healthcare, and education.

Therefore, we have outlined a number of actions we will take to address this critical issue:

  • Like our colleagues at the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL), we believe knowledge is the strongest tool we have to fight racism and injustice. Therefore, we will direct financial and other resources to ensure our libraries include widely available books and materials that represent the voices, stories, and histories of people of color as well as resources to educate the public on the origins of racism, white privilege, white supremacy, mass incarceration, and other issues that have plagued our society. We are grateful for our collaboration with the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach and the Long Beach faith community to ensure these resources are widely available at all 12 libraries in the city, in the LBPL online catalog, and as part of LBPL’s African American Resource Collection.
  • We will continue to use our advocacy efforts to fight for equitable access to educational resources and programs in Long Beach. This will include ensuring Library services are as available and accessible as possible to all residents of Long Beach, including families who cannot access preschool, those disadvantaged by the digital divide, disabled patrons, LGBTQ patrons, young people who seek educational resources and a safe place to socialize, adults who would like to earn 21st century job skills and seek résumé assistance, those experiencing homelessness, and more.
  • We commit to more consistently raising the voices of people of color. This will include raising funds for library programming that focuses on important topics such as cultural appropriation, racism, implicit bias, diversity, community healing, and more.
  • We will also continue our efforts to diversify our board of directors, so our leadership adequately reflects Long Beach’s diverse community. In the past three years, we have transformed the makeup of our board to include more people of color.  We know how important it is to actively engage all members of our community and ensure more people of color have a seat at the table and hold positions of power within our organization and elsewhere. We have seen how inviting a diverse set of voices—those from various racial, cultural, geographic, age, and economic backgrounds—has strengthened our organization and boosted our community impact and exposure, allowing us to promote literacy at every economic level.

If you would like to learn more about these resources and support our efforts, please visit lbplfoundation.org/aarc.

This is just a start. We know the actions we take today are important but also just the beginning of an effort to truly dismantling the centuries of systemic racism in our society. We will continue to look inward, joining the California Library Association (CLA) in reflecting upon how we have unwittingly perpetuated institutional racism, taking responsibility for challenging racial inequity, and implementing positive change in our organization and the public libraries. Like the CLA, we understand libraries are not only places of learning, but also institutions of social change. 

Although the 12 Long Beach Public Libraries are temporarily closed in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Library’s extensive collection of free online resources, including eBooks, audiobooks, and other resources related to the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice are available at longbeach.gov/library/your-library-at-home.

Thank you, stay safe, and keep learning.

Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and Staff