Have a Ball with Junot Díaz, Carlos Santana, Patton Oswalt, and More

“Our libraries, in their promotion and practice of literacy, in their providing free access of information to all, in their diverse educational and artistic programs, in their astounding egalitarianism, represent what is best about our society.  And what is best about us,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, and this year’s Stay Home and Read a Book Ball Chair.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to support the incredible work of the Los Angeles Public Library,” Díaz says of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, which invites participants to come together on March 1 by staying at home and reading a book. “Saving lives and saving the future by the simple act of reading—I ask you: what could be more heavenly than that?”  We agree—nothing could be better! Please join us for this special event, now in its 27th year, that benefits the cultural and educational programs of the Los Angeles Public Library. Read below why others are staying home and supporting the Library, and why you should join in too!

“I invite you, wholeheartedly, to read books that remind you of your highest self and emancipate you from mental slavery or false beliefs and illusions.  The more you invest in attracting books that resonate with the frequency of your true self, the more light you will bring to the world.” –Carlos Santana

“Tonight I’m going to have a conversation that is interesting and fun and unstoppable.  I might get emotional.  I might cry.  I might break up laughing.  But I know I won’t be bored. That’s how it is whenever I open a book.” –Ceci Bastida

“You’re grounded!!!!  You can’t go out and prowl the L.A. streets.  You’ve got to do something more edifying, emboldening and altogether more groovy.  You gots to stay home tonite and read a good book!!!!!!!!!!” –James Ellroy

“L.A.’s public libraries served as refuge from the violence and suicide-inducing emptiness of my barrio existence.  Whether as a stammering Spanish-only child trying with great effort to absorb the English words in books like Charlotte’s Web.  Or as a teenaged gang member, turning tattered pages in juvenile hall or homeless inside an abandoned car. Books called me to life, to destiny, to imagination. To stay home and read a book—a luxury, a miracle, true magic.” –Luis J. Rodriguez

“Whether it’s Benito Cereno or Billy Budd or Jane Eyre or Tess, a Confidence Man, a Secret Agent, or even Two Serious Ladies instead of one – I’m guaranteed the rare satisfaction of life, in all its hues, when I skip the forgettable, the social world, and select my evening date from the pages of a book.” –Rachel Kushner

“All I’ve ever wanted was to stay inside and read a book.  Thanks to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, that dream will come true.” –Patton Oswalt

Make your dream come true too! Learn more about attending the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball on March 1st and supporting the Los Angeles Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

ALOUD Launches Spring Line-up

From a Nobel Prize winner to an acclaimed hip-hop artist, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ critically-acclaimed ALOUD series presents an exciting slate of free public programs this spring exploring issues of activism, poetry, politics, performance, and more at downtown’s historic Central Library.

On Wednesday, March 4, ALOUD welcomes Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and consultant on the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave, to discuss his latest book, which reveals extraordinary new findings about the Underground Railroad. The next day, Thursday, March 5, the multi-talented dancer, choreographer, and director Bill T. Jones (pictured above) visits ALOUD for a conversation and performance with dancers from his company, celebrating the publication of a new book based on his brilliant work as an African American artist in the white-dominated dance world.

Historian Timothy Snyder and journalist Masha Gessen, two essential thinkers on Eastern European politics, convene to offer a revelatory look at the propaganda and reality of the war in Ukraine on Tuesday, March 10. On Monday, March 23, together for the first time on stage, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Adam Johnson and bestselling nonfiction author Blaine Harden explore how different paths of storytelling led them to similar truths about the illusive culture of North Korea.

Thomas McGuane joins ALOUD on Tuesday, March 31, for a reading and conversation about Crow Fair: Stories, his first collection in nine years, which confirms his status as one of America’s most deeply admired storytellers.

On Thursday, April 2, Karima Bennoune, a 20-year veteran of human rights research and activism, offers an eye-opening chronicle of peaceful resistance to extremism with Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Continuing these same themes, on Wednesday, April 8, local filmmakers Julia Metzer and Laura Nix offer a rare look into the female experience of contemporary Islam with a screening of their documentary, A Light in Her Eyes, filmed in Syria (film still pictured above.)  Veteran journalist and critically-acclaimed author Sandy Tolan brings another true story of hope in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse with Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land on Tuesday, April 21.

On Thursday, April 23, in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, ALOUD presents GRAMMY-nominated Chilean hip hop artist Ana Tijoux (pictured above) for a conversation and performance of her politically powered verses and rebel spirit.

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist,  speaks with journalist Jim Newton  about the yawning gap between rich and poor in America on Monday, April 27.

On Thursday, April 30, ALOUD presents the second annual gathering of students from five Southland graduate writing programs – CalArts, Otis College, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and USC – to share recent work and tune audience ears to the future of language.

In collaboration with LéaLA, Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles, on Thursday, May 14, award-winning author and former PEN Mexico President Jennifer Clement, presents her fictionalized account – drawn from ten years of field research and the author’s own time living in Mexico – of young women in rural Guerrero living in the shadows of the drug war.

And closing out the season, ALOUD presents two incredible evenings of poetry: On Tuesday, May 19, masterful poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield shares her latest two works, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World and The Beauty, for a close look at poetry’s power to expand perception; and on Thursday, May 28, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith (pictured above) reads her poetry and discusses her new memoir, Ordinary Light, a gorgeous kaleidoscope of self and family that explores the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, religion, and unbreakable bonds.

The entire ALOUD spring 2015 calendar is now available to the public at lfla.org/aloud. Library Foundation Members receive advance notice of ALOUD programs.

Photo Credits:
First image: Photos from performance of Story/Time. Credit: Paul B. Goode
Second image: Arirang Festival- Pyongyang, North Korea. Credit: (Stephan)
Third image: Film still from documentary, The Light in Her Eyes.
Last image: Tracy K. Smith at the Brooklyn Public Library in Brooklyn, New York.
Credit: Rolex/ Tina Ruisinger

12 Months of the Los Angeles Public Library

Every year thousands of Angelenos take part in the many educational and cultural programs, resources, and services at the Los Angeles Public Library. Before we look ahead to what will be an exciting new year at the Library, here’s a look back at some of the diverse activities supported by the Library Foundation in 2014. Thanks to all of our Members for joining us throughout the year and for making these invaluable experiences free and available to all.

January
ALOUD kicked-off a new year of eclectic programming unique to L.A. and the Library. In January, ALOUD paid tribute to Los Angeles’ unofficial poet laureate, Wanda Coleman, to honor what she did for poetry and who she was in Los Angeles: ­a larger-than-life figure who for decades reminded us how to be our own most authentic selves.

February
The Library Foundation’s coziest fundraiser of the year, The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, took place, inviting Angelenos to support the Los Angeles Public Library without leaving their homes. Last year, folks stayed home in record numbers–raising the most funds ever in the long history of this favorite event! Save the date for the 2015 ball on March 1st.

March
Young Literati Members gathered with L.A.’s best and brightest for the Sixth Annual Young Literati Toast to raise funds for the Los Angeles Public Library’s “Summer Reading Clubs.”  The evening featured Young Literati Chair Amanda Fairey, emcee Busy Philipps, and music by Moby and Jenny Lewis, along with readings and comedic interludes from Nick Kroll, Lizzy Caplan, and Tig Notaro.

April
After flocks of authors and booklovers strolled the lawns of USC for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last April, participating authors and Library Foundation Members continued celebrating the literary life of this city late into the night at the Third Annual “Book Drop Bash” with more than 400 people gathering at the downtown Central Library.

May
A new exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Union Station opened at the Central Library. No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station was the first exhibition to examine the significance of the architectural design and cultural politics of the historic station, and included a series of related events like ALOUD panels and a changing display of model trains by various train clubs throughout Southern California.

June
The “Summer Reading Club” kicked off to foster literacy and learning while students were out of school last summer. Los Angeles Public Library’s longest running program motivated over 30,000 kids to crack the books and engage in innovative ways with storytelling.

July
The Library Foundation welcomed Ellen Lipson in her new role as President of The Council. Throughout the year, The Council hosted many special programs and fundraising events to benefit and raise awareness for the Los Angeles Public Library like a special evening and book signing with Norman Lear.

August
The Young Literati gathered in Santa Monica for a proper send-off to the season of long sunsets and frosty cocktails. The Summer Social offered Members the chance to raise their glasses to this past year of incredible support for the Los Angeles Public Library, and also get a sneak peek of what’s on the horizon for this dedicated group of engaged and informed Angelenos.

September
Supporters of the Library Foundation gathered at the historic California Club to celebrate the Foundation’s 22nd anniversary with a gala to benefit the great Los Angeles Public Library. This year’s benefit honored Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz with the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award and bestselling author Judith Krantz with the Foundation’s Light of Learning Award for her devoted advocacy for the Los Angeles Public Library.

October
Throughout the month, Angelenos joined the Library Foundation and the Los Angeles Public Library for an epic quest to reinterpret Homer’s The Odyssey through a Southern California lens. With over 70 Odyssey-themed activities at the branch libraries for children, teens, and adults, including bike riding with the Cyclops and pop-up appearances by a commemorative Homer Simpson poster, the Odyssey Project culminated with a marathon reading of the epic poem at the Central Library.

November
ALOUD’s award-winning series journeyed to the west side as critically acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Tóibín was interviewed by New York Times bestselling L.A. local Rachel Kushner. The pair took the stage at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for a conversation about Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster, while also discussing their shared passion for some of literature’s most memorable characters.

December
The Library Store got their motors running for the holiday season and sent The Library Store On Wheels to sites across the city to offer unique gifts from our carefully curated collection that gives back to the Los Angeles Public Library.

Happy New Year from the Library Foundation!

Look back at other great photos from the year here.

If you are not a Member already, please consider becoming a Library Foundation Member today to take part in these special events.

Sharing a Love for Libraries with Meghan Daum

As we’ve officially entered the holiday season, it’s the time of year for reflection and gratitude. Like many Angelenos, we are thankful for the wonderful local literary community that is thriving around the Los Angeles Public Library, including ALOUD veteran and Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum. Before her critically acclaimed new book of essays, The Unspeakable and Other Subjects of Discussion, was published last month, we caught up with Daum about her love for the Los Angeles Public Library. “Every writer says this, but growing up, the library was my main place,” says Daum. “We moved a lot when I was younger and every time we would move it was like, ‘Here’s the library, so now you know where the library is—o.k., so now you’re here.’”

unspeakable.jpg

Daum has been no stranger to Central Library either. “I’m always so happy to come down here. I love the building—it’s an old building that feels like true L.A.” Daum referring to Central Library as “the genuine article” is the ultimate compliment from the author of several books concerned with the search for authenticity—including her newest collection as well as her celebrated first collection of essays, My Misspent Youth and her novel The Quality of Life Report.


Daum’s love for Central extends to her frequent appearances at ALOUD, where she has been in conversation with the likes of Jonathan Franzen (pictured above), Lionel Shriver, and Caille Millner. If you missed those events, you can listen to the free podcasts here—along with many other archived ALOUD programs.

And if you feel like sharing your love of the Los Angeles Public Library this season, consider becoming a Member of the Library Foundation. Now through December 31, when you become a Member, upgrade your existing Membership, or give the gift of Membership, a generous donor will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.

 

Membership Matching Gift Challenge: Double Your Donation

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles is launching the 2014 Membership Matching Gift Challenge! Now through December 31, when you become a Member, upgrade your existing Membership, or give the gift of Membership to a friend or loved one, a generous donor will match your gift dollar-for-dollar!

In the Central Library and 72 neighborhood branch libraries, there are reading enrichment, educational and cultural programs, and new technology being offered free of charge to millions of children, teens, and adults. These would not be possible without the support of our Members. Your participation is critical; we need your help to meet this challenge.

Ways to Give:

  • Visit us online at lfla.org/support/join
  • Call the Membership department at 213.292.6242
  • Mail your Membership form and payment to 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Spread the Word!
Think of how many people you know who have been touched by libraries. Encourage your friends and loved ones to join the Library Foundation and give them the opportunity to help millions of people in Los Angeles realize their full potential by supporting equal access to ideas, books, information, and technology.

Take this opportunity to see your contribution go twice as far to enhance the programs, resources, and services of the Los Angeles Public Library. Give $50 and it becomes $100, convert a $250 gift into a $500 impact that will help transform Los Angeles through the power of our Library.

Pictured above Miranda July sharing an interesting read at a Young Literati event.

The Library Foundation Celebrates 22 Years

“This is a great Library and it has a wonderful history because it is a Phoenix of a Library. It was reborn from ashes,” said Susan Sontag of the Los Angeles Public Library. On September 20, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles will celebrate its 22nd anniversary with a gala to benefit the great Los Angeles Public Library. Held biannually, the anniversary festivities raise funds for three major program areas supported by the Foundation: Investing in New Readers, Helping Students Succeed, and Creating the Innovative Library of the Future. Over the last two decades, the Foundation has brought together a community of supporters to celebrate the legacy of the Los Angeles Public Library by honoring authors including Susan Sontag, philanthropists, individuals, foundations, and corporations who all share a commitment to the mission of the Los Angeles Public Library and a passion for great literature.


Larry McMurty and Diane Keaton, 2008.

This year, the Library Foundation pays tribute to Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz with the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award. Presented to an author for his or her outstanding contribution to literature, the Literary Award has also been given to Salman Rushdie, Walter Mosley, Tom Brokaw, August Wilson, Carlos Fuentes, John Updike, and E.L.Doctorow, among some of the other notable writers below.

Louise Erdrich in 1997.


Tony Kushner (far left) pictured with ALOUD’s Louise Steinman in 2007.
Stephen King (right) in 2010.


Norman Mailer, 2006.


David McCollough (left) in 2002.

During this year’s celebration, bestselling author Judith Krantz will also receive the Foundation’s Light of Learning Award for her devoted advocacy for the Los Angeles Public Library. Former Light of Learning recipients include Sharon and Nelson Rising, The Ahmanson Foundation, the Mark Taper Foundation, Wallis Annenberg, Gary Ross, and other longtime supporters.


Doris Kearns Goodwin (Literary Award Winner in 2000) with Gregory Peck (Light of Learning Recipient in 1996).



Seamus Heaney (on the left, Literary Award Winner in 1998) with Flora Thornton (Light of Learning Recipient in 1998).


Harper Lee (on the right, Literary Award Winner in 2005) with Veronique Peck (Light of Learning Recipient in 2009).

Thanks to all the supporters of the Library Foundation over the years who have contributed to providing free access to ideas and information and the civic, cultural, and educational core of our community.

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!

Sincerely,

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.