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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 Leaders are Readers: Everett Glenn, Long Beach Nonprofit Founder 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.

We invited Mr. Everett Glenn to start off our year and be our January 2024 Long Beach Leaders are Readers feature because his distinctive perspective on leadership and his commitment to positive change align perfectly with the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the profound inspiration the day embodies.

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

Success Runs in Our Race

by 

George C. Fraser

What made you choose Success Runs in Our Race to recommend to the community?

In my opinion, Success Runs in Our Race is a book folk can use to increase their ability to network, get together to get ahead, grow spiritually, and develop the resources leading to greater wealth and relationship success. The book allows us to realize our connectedness to one another and to share, give, and maximize all of our community and business resources.

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

“It takes teamwork to make the dream work”

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

More than a guide for personal achievement, Success Runs in our Race is an information-packed bible of networking that also seeks to inspire a social movement and a rebirth of the “Underground Railroad,” in which successful African Americans share the lessons of self-determination and empowerment with those still struggling to scale the ladder of success.

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

9

How did your recommended book make you think or feel about a certain topic or issue?

Made me think about what can happen when Black entrepreneurs, professionals and civic leaders come together to effect positive change in our community.

 
What did you learn from the book or what did it teach you about yourself or others?

That Black people are often our own worst enemy, relying on others who have more evidence of their disdain for us than concern, to help us solve our problems.

Did someone read to you when you were a child?

My mom

Has a book ever changed your life?

Not the book itself, but the decision to take action based on what I read…Success Runs in our Race

Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

Paperbacks

What are your favorite genres to read?

Technical/professional development

Where is your favorite place to read?

On my patio

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

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

What’s the last book you read?

Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More With Less (Which, by the way is available at Mark Twain Neighborhood Library)

Why do you think reading is important?

I think reading is important because strong reading skills are fundamental for academic success. Being literate opens doors to educational opportunities, higher learning, and better career prospects, empowering readers to reach their full potential.

Reading also provides an avenue for the reader to see themselves reflected in stories, characters, and experiences, empowering them to pursue their dreams, overcome challenges, and make a difference. Finally, reading also encourages critical thinking and empathy. It allows the reader to understand different perspectives, navigate complexities, and develop empathy for others’ experiences, fostering a more inclusive and understanding society.

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

The Good Glenn: The Rise, the Fall, the Resurrection

Everett Glenn is the Founder, CEO and Executive Director of Long Beach based nonprofit, BOSS. BOSS™ (Business Of Student Success) instills a mindset within their boys that advances both individual excellence and team mastery. The BOSS values are embedded in all that they do, fostering their boys’ intellectual, physical, and emotional well-being. 

Learn more about BOSS on their website: www.bossprograms.org

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 “Success Runs in Our Race” in the African American Heritage Collection at the Burnett Neighborhood Library!

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Sean Reilly, LBPLF President-elect

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. We’re ending our year with a very special feature: Sean Reilly, the incoming Library Foundation Board of Directors President. Currently serving as President-elect, Mr. Reilly will officially assume his two-year term in January, demonstrating his commitment to fostering literacy and community engagement in Long Beach.

Mr. Reilly has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

The Atlantis Gene

by 

A.G. Riddle

I selected book 1 in the trilogy (The Atlantis Trilogy) Titled The Atlantis Gene- by A.G. Riddle. This book speaks to my inner science fiction geek as it touches on the human science of genetic code, humanity’s future, and an amazing structure found on a floating giant Antarctic iceberg. As a reader/visualizer with a learning approach that is “spacial objective,” reading has always been a challenge for me in maintaining my interest, and A.G. Riddle is on point regarding my ability to stay engaged.

Like my other science fiction loves of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Stargate Atlantis, this writer and trilogy touches on hope for humanity, our innate sense of curiosity, and the constant need to explore the world around us and even space. This is very much a passion of mine, and this book takes me to those places, explores the unknown, and provides hope for humanity even through the many trials throughout the trilogy.

I hope I can inspire others who have the same challenges with reading. Enjoy this author’s way of weaving his storylines that feeds a spacial objective person’s desire to read and take the journey(s) others take while read and take the journey(s) others take while reading!

-Sean Reilly, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors President-elect

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 “The Atlantis Gene” at your local neighborhood branch!

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Diane Jacobus, Long Beach Community Leader

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. In honor of Veterans Day in November, we are highlighting Diane Jacobus!

Ms. Jacobus has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

Every Star Tells a Story:

Families of Fallen American Heroes Share Personal Stories of Courage and Hope

by 

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

 I have belonged to a Navy Family all my life. I joined the Gold Star Family much later. How this happened is told in my treasured book Every Star Tells a Story, published by American Gold Star Mothers, that recounts the sacrifices of fallen American heroes. My father, Lieutenant Commander Ernest M. Wade, MD, was one of these heroes and I was honored to tell his story.

In 1942, my father became a prisoner of the Japanese at Bilibid Prison Camp in Manilla, Philippines. He remained there until late 1944 when he was placed on a ship for transport to Japan. The ship was attacked in transit by Allied forces and my POW father was killed.

Since retiring as Senior Advisor to Mayor Beverly O’Neill and as the Protocol Officer for the Port of Long Beach, I have served on the board of Gold Star Manor in Long Beach. I continue to honor all of those who have served and protected the country they love.

– Diane Wade Jacobus

 

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 “Every Star Tells a Story” at your local neighborhood branch soon!

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Carmen O. Perez, Long Beach Community Leader

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. In honor of Latino Heritage Month, we are highlighting Carmen O. Perez, a long time community leader in the City of Long Beach!

Ms. Perez has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

How Green was My Valley

by 

Richard Llewellyn

I love this book! A comforting book I find myself reading from time to time. A gift from my sister around the late 50’s…

This book is about a strong Family, Love, Faith, Work & Unions, Death, and Life.  Meeting lives Challenges and embracing the outcomes, no matter what!

My sister knew I liked “traveling ” when reading books, to know different places, and always dream of visiting these parts of the world. This setting is in Wales. The closest I came to this place was Italy , yet remembering this book while I marveled at the beautiful green landscape.

 

– Carmen O. Perez

Carmen O. Perez has served Long Beach for over 30 years and is best known as the Port of Long Beach’s first Latina Harbor Commissioner, significantly helping to increase trade at the Port during her 12 years on the commission.

During her time as Harbor Commissioner, trade at the port tripled and she helped open the port to the public through free harbor cruises so citizens could get a close-up look at port operations. She was also appointed by Governor Gray Davis to the California World Trade Commission. 

In honor of her service, Mayor Robert Garcia awarded Carmen the Key to the City in 2018. She is a proud grandmother and great grandmother. 

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 “How Green was My Valley” at your local neighborhood branch here!

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Ellie Perez, LGBTQ Community Leader and Activist

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. This month, we have a very special featured leader: LGBTQ Center of Long Beach Interim Executive Director and community leader and activist, Ellie Perez. Ms. Perez has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

Pride and Joy

by Frank J. Sileo

 

My recommended book is “Pride and Joy” by author Frank J. Sileo, Ph.D., a New Jersey licensed psychologist, and a multi-award-winning author of 14 other children’s picture books and a parenting book. Dr. Frank J. Sileo is also a member of the YOU ARE WELCOME HERE Safe Spaces Alliance.

Pride and Joy is a book about being an LGBTQ+ ally and the little things we can do to make our LGBTQ+ family and community feel loved, respected, and supported. 

Visit Gay Long Beach and the Safe Spaces Alliance is excited to donate 4 copies of this book to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. 

For more information on Dr. Frank J. Sileo’s work please visit his website. Follow him on Instagram here.

– Ellie Perez 

Ellie Perez is Executive Director of Visit Gay Long Beach, Co-founder of the Safe Spaces Alliance and Interim Executive Director of the LGBTQ Center Long Beach

Learn more about Visit Gay Long Beach and the Safe Spaces Alliance here

Learn more about the LGBTQ Center Long Beach here.

 

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 “Pride and Joy” at your local neighborhood branch soon!

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Long Beach’s First Ever Youth Poet Laureate, Claire Beeli

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. This month, we have a very special featured leader: Long Beach’s very first Youth Poet Laureate, Claire Beeli. Ms. Beeli has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

The Dispossessed

by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Dispossessed taught me much of what I know about writing, by virtue of the quality of Le Guin’s work. More than that, though, this book unifies love, science, family, and revolutionary political commentary in a way that is both personal and Earth-spanning. It is a master class in storytelling—I wish I could give every young writer a copy!

-Claire Beeli

Long Beach 2023 Youth Poet Laureate

Claire Beeli is a local high school student, published poet, community volunteer, and an advocate for literacy, the library and the arts! You can view her winning submission for the Youth Poet Laureate competition here.

Learn more about the Youth Poet Laureate program on the Long Beach Public Library website.


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 “The Dispossessed” at your local neighborhood branch here.


Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Mayor Rex Richardson, City of Long Beach

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. This month, we have a very special featured leader in honor of Father’s Day: City of Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. Mayor Richardson has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge

by Etan Thomas

This book is for all the dads out there. Fatherhood can look a lot of different ways and the stories inside Etan Thomas’ book remind us of that. These stories are a great reminder for me that no matter what your fatherhood journey looks like, if your kids are three or thirty, we all have the same goal: to be the best Dad we can be.

-Rex Richardson

Mayor, City of Long Beach

Rex Richardson is the 29th Mayor of Long Beach: a husband, father, and trailblazer as the first Black mayor in the city’s history. Mayor Rex Richardson and his wife Dr. Nina Richardson are proudly raising their two young daughters, Alina and Mila, in the North Long Beach community.

Learn more about Mayor Richardson on the City of Long Beach website.


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 “Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge” at your local neighborhood branch here.


Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Julia Huang, CEO of Intertrend Communications

Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads. In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month we’ve asked LBPLF Board Member Julia Huang, Founder and CEO of Intertrend Communications, to be our May feature. Julia has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

Stay True

by Hua Hsu

Taiwanese American author Hua Hsu’s Stay True is a memoir that explores grief, friendship, and the complexities of growing up in a multicultural environment, making it a personal and relatable journey to me. Hsu’s tender and vulnerable writing brings to life the nuances of Asian American identity, effortlessly weaving humor and heartache throughout.  As I read this book, I find myself reflecting on my own friendships, memories, and the challenges faced by our community. This thought-provoking and deeply personal memoir is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the transformative power of friendships and the bittersweet nature of loss through a unique cultural lens.

-Julia Huang

Founder and CEO, Intertrend Communications

Board Member, Long Beach Public Library 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 “Stay True” at your local neighborhood branch here.