Long Beach Public Library Foundation

The Grunion: Libraries At Work

On December 22, 2017, The Grunion shared the following op-ed by Long Beach City Councilwoman Suzie Price and our Executive Director, Kate Azar.

You can read the article below or click through to The Grunion.

The holiday season reminds us to be grateful for all that we have motivating us to strive to be better. All year long, we work to make what is great about Long Beach even better, and there is no better example of our community working to improve themselves and our city than what you will see in our 12 city libraries.

We are fortunate to have one of the best library systems in the country. This year, the Long Beach Public Library won the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries. Every day you see our libraries in action with programs like teaching reading skills to children during story time, students receiving homework help, adults working on resumes, as well as disabled veterans using the library’s free assistive technology and community advocates supporting families. All that while neighborhood associations meet in community rooms.

Some say the Internet and personal smart devices have made libraries irrelevant, but the bustling activity at our libraries tells a different story. The recent news that our city faces a startling digital divide — with one in four households lacking an adequate portal to the Internet — coupled with the fact that more than 1 million patrons visited Long Beach public libraries this year using more than 7 million library resources, tells us our libraries are more relevant than ever. Our libraries have long served as the best resource this city has in bridging this divide and are proud to continue doing so.

Whatever issue you think is most important — homelessness, the changing economy, poverty, education, crime — our libraries play a positive role in addressing it.

Many people do not know the library’s valuable resources and programs would not be possible without donations to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. These programs include the Family Learning Center, with computers and student homework support, guidance on college applications, and support on developing resumes and job searches. The Library Foundation and their donors also fund the Studio maker spaces and Mobile Studio with technology and instruction in coding, 3D printing, robotics, graphic design and other marketable 21st century job skills, and it provides scholarships to adults earning their high school diploma in the library’s Career Online High School program.

It is crucial that our city continues to fund the library and support the impact it makes. This is why the City Council voted unanimously to fund Sunday hours at four of our library branches in 2017 and 2018. But, we know that we can do more, both on a civic level and as individuals. Donations of any size to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation make a significant difference in funding fantastic programs.

Each and every one of us has the ability to help transform the life of one of the people in our community through our libraries. Please join us this holiday season in giving a gift that impacts your children, neighbors and community for generations to come. It’s a great investment in our city and a great investment in our future. In today’s fast-moving world, the free resources that the library provides to all residents and the spirit of community created by the mere existence of a library in our neighborhoods can’t be underestimated. Support your library today!

You can learn more at www.lbplfoundation.org or call (562) 628-2441.

Suzie Price is the Third District Councilwoman, and Kate Azar is the executive director of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.