Exchanging Stories at the Book Drop Bash

This weekend thousands of authors and booklovers will be grabbing their sunhats and hitting the lawns of USC for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. And for participating authors and Library Foundation Members, the festivities will continue long after the sun goes down as the Third Annual Book Drop Bash kicks-off at downtown’s historic Central Library on Saturday night.

Featuring the best book swap in town, Bash-goers will also have the chance to exchange stories with some of today’s most memorable storytellers. Honorary hosts Pico Iyer, Susan Straight, and T.C. Boyle have provided writing prompts for Library Foundation guests to complete throughout the Bash. For those who want extra time to get inspired by the prompts, here’s a sneak peek at the mysterious, the romantic, and the odd:

From Pico Iyer:
As she heard some whispering among the stacks–was that giggling? The sound of some shoes being slipped off?–she started to tiptoe along the section marked 818.2522, only to…

From Susan Straight:
In the library courtyard, the hedges glittering with dew, she sat down beside him on a bench…

From T.C. Boyle:
After they finished eating the last of the dogs, they turned, of necessity, to deep-frying the rats.

So bring your imagination and a book, or two, or three to swap–leftover books at the end of the evening will be donated to our award-winning Library Store where they will be sold to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library.

We look forward to celebrating the literary life of our great city with our Members and participating book festival authors. Members can purchase tickets here. If you would like to attend, but are not a Member, consider joining today!

For more info on the Book Drop Bash, click here.


A Message from the Chair of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Dear Reader:

I’m excited to officially invite you to celebrate the 2014 Stay Home and Read a Book Ball with me. Here’s an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and simultaneously keep alive the mission of the Los Angeles Public Library to “Provide free access to ideas and information.” By deciding not to get dressed up, not to drive across town, and not to valet park at some glittery ballroom, you’re playing a vital role in making available free cultural and educational programs for Angelenos throughout the city. Presto-digito!

Just think, when you contribute to the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, you encourage public discourse through programs like ALOUD, which presents more than 70 free author talks and conversations every year with internationally acclaimed novelists like Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood; human rights legends like Judge Albie Sachs and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee; master short story writers like George Saunders and Lorrie Moore; and, great chefs like L.A.’s own Roy Choi.

For my own evening as Official Stay-At-Home Philanthropist, I’ve plotted a few scenarios. Take one: Brocade dressing gown. Apricot silk mules.  Seated at dressing table. Dostoevsky.  Or maybe Patricia Highsmith. Cigarette holder. Bushmills with one rock. Take two (more likely):  Old sweatpants. Curled up on couch under red wool blanket. Fat grey cat staring into my eyes. Rereading Charlotte’s Web. Mug of hot masala chai.

Remember, you are the key to making possible cultural and educational programs like ALOUD for the people of Los Angeles. So, just before you take the first sip or turn the first page, whip out your checkbook (or credit card) and please… give generously.  Then, turn out the porch lights. Put your feet up. You’re not expecting anyone – just a rendezvous with those clever, persnickety, angst-ridden characters in your favorite book.  Have a ball!


Louise Steinman, Chair

This Year’s Highlights of Membership

Members of the Library Foundation are a dedicated group of people who share a deep commitment to helping the Library provide all Angelenos with access to ideas, information, and lifelong learning. We are so grateful for their support, and in return, have spent 2013 hosting a range of events to celebrate their love for the Los Angeles Public Library. Before we look ahead to 2014 and invite Members to join us for a new slate of special events, here’s a look back at some highlights from this truly remarkable year. If you are not a Member already, please consider becoming a Library Foundation Member today to take part in these special events.

2013 marked the debut of “The Writer’s Cut.” This new program brings today’s most well known television writers and showrunners to the Central Library to discuss storytelling for the small screen. Members heard behind-the-scenes tales from Dan O’Shannon (“Modern Family”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), and, pictured above, Vince Gilligan (“Breaking Bad”).

After the coziest of all fundraisers, the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, took place last year, writer Mark Salzman, chair of the event, invited Members to participate in a private writing workshop.

Members were also invited to many other exclusive events with celebrated authors including these Leadership Circle receptions and private events:
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Sharon Rising, Marlene Billington and Patt Morrison gather for a reception with Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California.

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As part of What Ever Happened to Moby Dick?, D. Graham Burnett with Douglas Murray, Bernadette Glenn, and Ken Brecher.

Songs in the Key of LA performance with Van Dyke Parks and special guests.

Membership also comes with some special savings benefits. This year, Members received early access to the Summer Sale at the award-winning Library Store and discounts at other Los Angeles organizations as part of May and November’s Member Appreciation Days.

As always, Members received priority notice of the ALOUD lineups throughout the year, and this past September Members also received priority notice to the launch of “Lost & Found at the Movies,” a new series celebrating the art of cinema and the vitality of film culture. Curated by John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, the program kicked off with Los Angeles Times and NPR Film Critic Kenneth Turan talking about how and where we watch films in L.A. (pictured above.)
The Young Literati’s annual Annenberg Beach House party was the perfect kick off to “Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?”. Members were treated to readings by Moby, Mark Z. Danielewski, Colin Hanks, and Attica Locke; a DJ set by Shepard Fairey; and a special acoustic performance by thenewno2.

Young Literati also enjoyed cocktails with Roy Choi after a particularly mouthwatering edition of ALOUD. During the evening, Roy Choi discussed his fascinating journey, which has culminated in his critically-acclaimed Kogi BBQ Trucks and several much-loved restaurants. He then joined Young Literati Members in the courtyard for a private reception featuring tacos and beer!
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And the Young Literati’s Private Party at Subliminal Projects was an evening of literary inspiration at Amanda and Shepard Fairey’s Echo Park gallery space. Kai and Sunny’s literature-inspired artwork provided a beautiful backdrop for Young Literati to mingle and enjoy special cocktails from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Thank you to all of our Members for spending the year with us! If you are looking for some last minute holiday gifts, Membership is the gift that keeps on giving. For a limited time this December and January, a generous Member of our Board of Directors will match your gift dollar for dollar when you join the Library Foundation.

For more information about Membership contact Erin Sapinoso at erinsapinoso@lfla.org. Or for more information about the Young Literati, contact Jennnifer Kondo at jenniferkondo@lfla.org.


‘Tis the season to support the Library Foundation of Los Angeles!

For a limited time only this December and January, a generous Member of our Board of Directors will match your gift dollar for dollar when you:

-          Join the Library Foundation as a new Member;

-          Re-join the Library Foundation if your Membership is currently expired;

-          Upgrade your current Membership to a higher level; or,

-          Give the gift of Membership at any level.

Spread the joy of free and universal access to information, lifelong learning, and critical thought by becoming a Library Foundation Member today!

In 2013, Library Foundation Members at different levels enjoyed:


Invitations to The Writer’s Cut programs



Performances surrounding

Songs in the Key of LA



Advance electronic notification of ALOUD programs



Young Literati celebrations



This challenge grant gives you the opportunity to end 2013 and start 2014 with a giving spirit and will double the value of your contribution to increase the impact of the Library Foundation’s efforts that support and strengthen the Los Angeles Public Library.

For more information about Membership opportunities, contact Membership Director Erin Sapinoso at 213.228.7552 or erinsapinoso@lfla.org.

Songs in the Key of L.A.: Tuning into a New Project from the Library Foundation and the Los Angeles Public Library

Long before the film industry took root as the cultural and financial epicenter of Hollywood, music paved the way for the growth and development of the Los Angeles we know today. Deep in the archives of the Los Angeles Public Library, there’s a vast sheet music collection from the 1840s through the 1950s, which provides historical insight into the  music of Southern California. You probably weren’t aware of such a treasure, and that’s why this summer, the Library Foundation and the Los Angeles Public Library are kicking off “Songs in the Key of L.A.,” the first in a series of collaborations to mine the Library’s vast collections. The project unveils for the first time the world’s only collection of Southern California sheet music and offers a never-before-seen look at the integral role music has played in defining the voice of our city.


Through a comprehensive anthology, new recordings, a special exhibition, a free concert with Grand Performances, and more, the Library Foundation and Library will bring the collection to light for contemporary reflection. “The Los Angeles Public Library is the place for Angelenos to explore, reimagine, and celebrate their history,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “We are pleased to bring this incredible collection to light, as it demonstrates this important fact: Public libraries are every-person institutions, where everyone, from scholars to middle schoolers, can unearth treasures that can teach, inspire, and even change their lives.”

“The idea of examining Los Angeles history through the lens of music came from a series of conversations I had with USC Professor Josh Kun, director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center,” explains Ken Brecher, the president of the Library Foundation. “We talked about ‘mining’ the collections of the Library for forgotten stories and imagined creating a book to showcase the power of music and its imagery in shaping both our sense of history and of home.” Agreeing to lead the research, Josh Kun and a group of his students, working with librarians from the Central Library, combed the Library’s roughly 50,000-piece sheet music collection. The stories Kun discovered—visually breathtaking cover art; a diverse mix of unrecorded jazz, pop, Mexican folks, and blues songs; an empire of unknown music publishers and songwriters—formed a singular portrait of the artistic, cultural, social, and political currents that influenced Los Angeles in the 19th and 20th centuries.

http://www.lapl.org/sites/default/files/media/images/collections/skla.jpgKicking off the project, on June 1, Angel City Press will publish Songs in the Key of Los Angeles: Sheet Music from the Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. Written by Kun and with special contributions from musical legends Van Dyke Parks, Stew, and a host of California historians, the anthology showcases more than 100 vintage sheet music covers from the collection, from California lullabies and Los Angeles waltzes, sunshine rags and sunset serenades, to emerging West Coast jazz and the legacy of Mexican folk traditions.  Available at bookstores throughout Southern California, the book will also be carried at The Library Store.

That same week, through the Library’s website, the Foundation will release five new recordings of music from the collection by beloved local artists Aloe Blacc, I See Hawks in L.A., Julia Holter, Petrojvic Blasting Company, and La Santa Cecilia. The recording sessions will be showcased online every two weeks in five short documentaries produced by KCET’s transmedia award-winning arts and culture series, Artbound. The first session with I See Hawks will also be featured during the Artbound television series on May 30 at 9 p.m.

On July 1, the exhibition, Songs in the Key of L.A., will open on the first floor of the historic Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles.  Featuring a rotating selection of pieces from the collection, the exhibition will use sheet music to explore the early history of Los Angeles’ music industry, civic music culture, and the role of music in shaping key stories central to the making of the city.

On July 13, the Foundation will host Kun, Los Angeles musical icon Van Dyke Parks, and surprise guests for a special evening of song and story specifically for Library Foundation Members. And on July 18, the Foundation’s award-winning ALOUD at the Central Library series gets in on the fun, hosting Kun and musical guest Quetzal (pictured below) for a rare evening of L.A. music history.

On July 25, Grand Performances hosts City Librarian John Szabo and Library Foundation President Ken Brecher for “Off the Shelf: Creating L.A.’s 21st Century Library,” a lively discussion about the future of the Los Angeles Public Library, starting with the “Songs in the Key of L.A.” project.

And finally, on August 2, Grand Performances, in collaboration with the Library Foundation, presents “Songs in the Key of L.A.” the concert.  With selections hand-picked by Kun, hometown heroes Ozomatli and special guests will bring songs from the collection to life in a free concert for the people of Los Angeles.

For more information about this and other special collections, visit www.lapl.org.


Deals Deals Deals!

The Library Store will be holding their annual SUPER SALE, starting this Friday 5/31 in Meeting Room A at Central Library. Hundreds of items are marked 50-75% off, with new items being added daily! Shop early for the best selection!

Sale Hours:

Friday 5/31  10:00am – 5:30pm

Saturday 6/1 10:00am – 5:30pm

Monday 6/3 10:00am – 7:00pm

Tuesday 6/4 10:00am – 7:00pm

Questions? Call The Library Store (213)228-7550

Want to shop the sale first? Members of The Library Foundation of Los Angeles are invited to a private Members-Only Preview Thursday 5/30 2:00pm – 7:00pm! Become a member of The Library Foundation by clicking HERE or contact Membership Director Erin Sapinoso at erinsapinoso@lfla.org.

It’s M.A.D. time again!

Hey Library Foundation Members: we appreciate you, and Member Appreciation Days are just around the corner!

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 3 – 5, 2013, show your Library Foundation Membership card to receive 20% discounts at participating stores and free admission at the following Southern California museums and institutions:

  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
  • Craft and Folk Art Museum (Friday only)
  • Heritage Square Museum
  • Japanese American National Museum
  • The Library Store at Central Library (Friday and Saturday only)
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
  • MOCA Grand Avenue
  • The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
  • MOCA Pacific Design Center
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • Pacific Asia Museum
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art
  • Pasadena Museum of History
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Skirball Cultural Center

How-to-Book-Festival with Attica Locke

Where else are you going to catch Margaret Atwood, Carol Burnett, Lemony Snicket, and Susan Feniger tag-teaming stages across a grassy college quad? The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is right around the corner, and to help guide your way through the largest public literary event in North America, we asked participating local author and Library Foundation Board Member Attica Locke for her tips on how-to-book-festival like a pro.

Attica Locke at ALOUD last year. Photo by Gary Leonard.

What sets apart the L.A. Times Festival of Books from other book fairs?

Locke: Besides Korean tacos and yoga pants, the L.A. Times Book Festival is the best thing ever to happen to L.A. It’s so incredibly comprehensive with an entire stage in Spanish, with music, cooking, and children’s events—it’s the most creative book festival around.

How have you participated with the festival over the years? And what are you doing there this year?

Locke: This is my fourth time being a panelist. I’m usually involved in the crime writing conversations, which draw very diverse crowds. This year, I’m on the “Crime Fiction: What We Can’t Tell You,” panel on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. But it always turns into a family event for me, so my husband and daughter come and we go around and explore.

What panels, readings, or events are you especially looking forward to this year?

Locke: On Saturday, I’m really looking forward to the Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen event. I’ve heard Lemony Snicket speak before and I’ve never heard an artist quite like him—he’s so entertaining. I want to pop in to the YA stage because as an author I’m interested in writing Young Adult fiction, and some of the greatest Young Adult fiction writers in the country will all be in L.A. on the YA stage. I want to hit the fiction panel on the “Social Novel” with Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Lethem, and Marisa Silver in conversation with David Ulin, the L.A. Times’ book editor—that’s going to be insane! I’m also curious about the “Hollywood Tales” history panel.

On Sunday, I’m amazed the day starts with the U.S.C. Trojan marching band, so I want get there early for that. Jamaica Kincaid in conversation with L.A. writer Hector Tobar sounds amazing, who is an incredible writer in his own right and he’s talking to one of the world’s most provocative writers—this will be a great featured event. Finally, the “Guns in America” panel is such a timely topic and I’m a big fan of Erwin Chemerinsky, who is an interesting thinker and a dean at the U.C.I. law school.

You’re an expert at this festival… Any tips for attendees?

Locke: Finding an out-of-the-way bathroom—away from the crowds is key. Also, to avoid lines, I think there’s some convenient stores around the U.S.C. campus that sell sandwiches for an easy lunch. Take public transportation—there’s no reason not to take the train to U.S.C. Also, if you plan to buy a lot of books like me, then bring one of those wheely things people take to Farmers Markets so you don’t break your back carrying around your load of books.

The days are jam-packed with events, but what about the evenings? What do the writers do after they leave the U.S.C. campus?

Locke: The L.A. Times Book Prize ceremony on Friday night is a big deal. But people are still talking about last year’s Book Drop Bash! I made so many connections with new people at the Young Literati’s Bash last year, and I’m a co-host of the event this year, which is at the downtown Central Library on Saturday night. It’s so fitting for everyone to gather there to continue the celebrations.

Everyone’s Staying Home to Support the Los Angeles Public Library!

The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball on Friday, March 1, 2013 is fast approaching, and in anticipation, Library lovers are eagerly sharing their support for knowledge, reading, and books.

Howard A. Rodman, Professor at the University of Southern California and Vice President of the Writers Guild of America West, writes:

“I grew up in an atheist household in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. My parents told me there was no religion. But they lied. When I’d visit my doctor, he’d ask not, what’s wrong, or even, how’s school. He’d say, ‘What have you read?’ When I’d ask my grandmother a question she’d say, ‘You have a question? Look it up in a book.’ Then she would whisper, ‘A library is a place with a lot of books.’

Where others would have a hearth or a breviary niche, we had The Wonder Book of Knowledge. All the world’s knowledge, and all the world’s wonder, in twelve volumes: A to BAL, BAL to BYZ, CAB to CLI, CLI to DEN, DEN to FIF, FIF to GRE, GRE to JES, JES to MIN, MIN to PEA, PEA to SAN, SAN to TID, and TIE to ZWY. When my parents would fight I’d hide under the piano, inhaling the faraway fragrant scent of the waxed wood sounding board, the raised lid become a giant sail, and I would stare at the Wonder Book of Knowledge, a cyclopedia of destinations – of places I would rather be. A-BAL, BAL-BYZ, sailing to Byzantium, CAB to CLI, CLI to DEN, ‘round the North Sea to Denmark, DEN-FIF, FIF to GRE, down the Aegean to Greece, GRE-JES, JES-MIN, aboard the U.S. Minnesota, MIN to PEA, PEA to SAN, San Francisco! Shore leave in North Beach!, SAN to TID, and TIE to ZWY. The island of Zwyzwyzwantia, where iridescent spider monkeys climb from volcanoes, where telekinetic pandas control the weather, and where perfumed pheasants roost all day in sun-dappled trees, singing to each other, and to us. And that – curled up under the piano, hiding from my parents, gazing out at a cut-rate encyclopedia, in the heart of godless Brooklyn – was how I became a writer. And I would venture that most every writer I know became a writer in similar fashion: staring at books, reading our way through the Universe. The Universe, as Borges says: which others call The Library.

And so as a writer and, most proudly, as a reader: it’s truly gratifying to bring attention to the libraries’ essential role in the creative life of our community.

(With a h/t to Tom McGuane for the idea of a piano lid as ship’s sail, to John August for the weather-controlling pandas, to Thomas Pynchon for the iridescent spider monkeys…)”


New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott‘s plans for March 1, 2013:

“I have gotten both dogs whipped up in anticipation of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball. Heaven: we’ll share the couch, and some cheese, but we’ll each have our own book, as neither of them reads English very well.”


Los Angeles-based author and journalist Hector Tobar‘s call for action:

“Down at the bottom of Bunker Hill, there’s a big building with a pyramid on top. It’s filled with thousands of magical devices, each the shape of a box. I go there, pick one up and take it home. I open it. Suddenly there are ancient Romans in my living room, a Spanish knight in my kitchen, a boy and a runaway slave on a raft floating down the hallway. Yes, every day is a ball, a journey or a miracle when you have a library card. Let’s celebrate the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball together.”


Author Terry Tempest Williams shares her thoughts on the Ball:

“I open the door, walk outside and turn another page.”


Los Angeles’ first Poet Laureate Eloise Klein Healy describes her clothing for the occasion:

“My usual reading attire at home is a comfortable outfit of plaid flannel shirt and pajama bottoms of a different plaid.  Since the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball is a formal affair, I plan to up the ante and read my book while clad in at least three plaids.”


There’s still time to RSVP!  Also, make sure to let us know how you’re celebrating by emailing Erin Sapinoso at erinsapinoso@lfla.org, tweeting us at @LibraryFoundLA with the hashtag #LFLAStayHome, and leaving comments on our Facebook page.