Friends at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

We at the Library Foundation are getting excited about the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books! The Festival gives us a chance to hear from beloved authors, learn about new trends in publishing, listen to live music, sample a cooking demonstration or two, and catch up with old friends. Many past participants of the Foundation’s programs are on the roster, and as we look ahead at the Festival schedule, we’re reminded of some great conversations that have taken place at the Library. Here’s a sampling of a few favorite podcasts and videos from our archive to tide you over till the Festival hits later this month.

Recently, Joyce Carol Oates spoke about her love for libraries at The Council Literary Series to help raise funds for the Los Angeles Public Library. A few years back she also visited ALOUD for an eye-opening conversation with Michael Silverblatt (pictured above). Listen to the podcast here.

Two years ago Jamaica Kincaid paid a unique visit to ALOUD for a discussion on a work-in-progress about a family’s life in a small Vermont town. That novel, See, Now, Then, was just released, and she’ll be reading from the book at the Festival. Listen to her ALOUD podcast here.

Chef Ludo Lefebvre dished with Chef Roy Choi at ALOUD last fall about ephemeral L.A. dining. You can catch Ludo Lefebvre at the Festival, and Roy Choi will return to the Central Library this summer for the upcoming edition of This is Your Library.

Ludo Lefebvre and Roy Choi: Taking the Kitchen to the Street: Experiments in Flavor and Form from ALOUDla on Vimeo.

World-renowned journalist and memoirist Pico Iyer has stopped by ALOUD several times in recent years. Listen here to his 2008 ALOUD conversation about his three decades of encounters with the Dalai Lama. He’ll continue to explore expansive issues when he stops by the Festival for the “Culture of Culture” panel.

We hope to see you as well at the Festival. Stop by our Library Store on Wheels and say hello, or become a member of the Young Literati and join us at the Festival’s “go-to” after-party, the Book Drop BASH! at the Central Library.

Photo by Gary Leonard.

March Madness at the Los Angeles Public Library

It’s that time of year when there seems to be a basketball game on at all hours. If you’re a fan who can’t get enough hoops, we’ve dug up a few items from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection to keep your adrenaline pumping beyond the fourth quarter. From indie documentaries, to film favorites of the ’90s, to courtside must-reads, get your game on at the LAPL. And here’s a quick flashback to when NBA superstar John Salley stopped by This is Your Library last spring.

Mark Z. Danielewski, John Salley, and Colin Hanks talk libraries.

Films to Check Out:

Love and Basketball, by Gina Prince-Bythewood, a local writer/director who shows her love for USC in her first-feature.

Book Jacket for: Love & Basketball [videorecording]

Hoop Dreams, perhaps one of the most inspiring docs of all time about the aspirations of high-school basketball players from inner city Chicago.

Book Jacket for: Hoop dreams [videorecording]

More Than a Game, another great doc that profiles the way bonds are formed and tested in high school basketball–where one of the players, LeBron James, realizes his NBA dream.

Book Jacket for: More than a game [videorecording]

The Winning Season, award-winning screenwriter James Strouse’s comedic drama about an alcoholic ex-basketball star who gets a second chance at success on the court when recruited by a local high school principal to coach the girl’s varsity team.

Book Jacket for: The winning season [videorecording]

Of course, who doesn’t love Hoosiers, and White Men Can’t Jump?

Basketball Books of Interest:

Phil Jackson’s The Last Season, yes, this list must begin with the Lakers. There’s many books on the subject of Phil Jackson to be found at the LAPL, along with some of the books the great coach gave his own players to read like the Art of War.

Book Jacket for: The last season : a team in search of its soul

The Miracle of St. Anthony, by Adrian Wojnarowski follows a high school basketball coach through a gripping and heartrending season, as he struggles to lead a troubled team to glory.

Book Jacket for: The miracle of St. Anthony : a season with Coach Bob Hurley and basketball's most improbable dynasty

The Breaks of the Game, by David Halberstam is an inside look at power, money, and talent that focuses on one grim season of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Book Jacket for: The breaks of the game

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, is a little off the beaten path, but is a great coming-of-age story about a boy trying to rise above the life everyone expects him to live– and yes, there’s some basketball.

Book Jacket for: The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian

And one more Lakers rec for good measure, you can also find many copies of Magic Johnson’s memoir My Life at the LAPL.

Stay Up With This Is Your Library

On Saturday, March 2, the doors of the downtown Central Library will stay open later than usual for the seventh installment of “This is Your Library,” the Library Foundation’s series of live late-night-style talk shows. The upcoming episode will feature punk legend Exene Cervenka; actor, writer and producer Mike White of HBO’s Enlightened; author and Los Angeles Times journalist Héctor Tobar; and City Librarian John Szabo, all in conversation with host Justin Veach, the Foundation’s Director of New Initiatives. What might they be discussing? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the guests’ work to get you ready for your library after-hours. Purchase tickets for the event, which will also include music by dublab djs, food by Mas Malo, a post-show concert featuring the psychedelic sounds of Feeding People, and more.

Exene Cervenka is an American singer, songwriter, artist, and activist. Together with John Doe and guitarist Billy Zoom, they formed the seminal Los Angeles punk band X. Exene has covered a lot of artistic territory over the years: publishing poetry, prose, and art books; exhibiting her collages in museums and galleries; recording and touring with her other bands. Watch a performance below.

Mike White
 is an award-winning writer, director, actor and producer. His writing credits range from the indie black comedies Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl, and Year of the Dog to main-stream comedy hits School of Rock and Nacho Libre. His TV credits include the short-lived but critically praised Freaks and Geeks and Pasadena. He also twice competed in the Emmy-winning television show The Amazing Race with his father, Mel. The second season of White’s Golden Globe-winning HBO television series Enlightened premiered this January, starring Laura Dern and White (also the series co-creator). Listen to White talk to Terry Gross on Fresh Air about Enlightened here and flashback to the hilarious trailer of Chuck and Buck below.

Héctor Tobar has worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times for nearly twenty years. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the 1992 riots, and then served as the national Latino Affairs correspondent, the Buenos Aires bureau chief, and the Mexico City bureau chief. Héctor currently serves as a book critic for the paper, is the author of three books, including most recently, The Barbarian Nurseries. Listen to his interview with Michael Silverblatt of Bookworm here and his interview with Karen Grigsby Bates of NPR’s Morning Edition here. And of course, get lost in the history of Los Angeles as you browse his many columns for the Los Angeles Times.

John F. Szabo is the City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, which serves over four million people—the largest population of any library in the United States—through its Central Library, 72 neighborhood branches, and website at Szabo has more than 20 years of leadership experience in public libraries and is a champion for innovative library services that address critical community needs in areas including health disparities, workforce development, adult literacy, school readiness and emergent literacy for preschoolers.  Read the Los Angeles Times’ take on John Szabo’s appointment to City Librarian.

Feeding People, a band of teenagers making some of the heaviest psychedelic around, have just released their latest album Island Universe from Innovative Leisure. Watch their newest music video below.

Feeding People will be presented in collaboration with Spaceland Productions.

We hope you’ll stay up with us for This is Your Library!

Book Drop BASH! is a Smash

The Young Literati capped off the LA Times Festival of Books with an inaugural celebration at the Central Library. From DJ’ing in the Children’s Room, to cocktails and cakes in the Rotunda, to book swapping in the Getty Gallery, authors and Library Foundation supporters gathered after hours to raise their glasses to the literary life of Los Angeles.

Authors Meghan Daum, Janet Fitch, Dwayne Moser, and Young Literati Director Justin Veach

Engaging with the community has always been core to the public library’s mission, and we want to thank everyone who came out to show their support for the Los Angeles Public Library.

Rachel Resnick, Laurie Ochoa, Jerry Stahl, Jervey Tervalon
Lisa Firestone and Caspar von Winterfeldt


Trevor Small and Young Literati Chair Rachel Small (right)










In continuous operation since 1872 and with 72 neighborhood branches (from Venice Beach to Boyle Heights, San Pedro to Van Nuys), the Los Angeles Public Library provides each and every Angeleno (regardless of race, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, religiousor political belief) with free access to information and ideas that challenge and inspire, from Aristotle to Slavoj Zizek.

Upcoming This is Your Library guest Lol Tolhurst, Melissa Richardson Banks, and Justin Veach

If you’d care to cast your vote for the importance of public libraries by supporting our work on behalf of the Los Angeles Public Library we hope you’ll consider becoming a member of the Young Literati or joining the Library Associates.

Special thanks to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for embracing the BASH! as our media sponsor and to our literary partners Black Clock, Goodreads, Granta, Literary Death Match, Los Angeles Review of Books, Rare Bird Lit, Rattling Wall, Slake, and Zyzzyva for contributing to the Book Drop portion of the evening. Thanks also goes to downtown’s Semi-Sweet Bakery for providing some mighty tasty desserts, to Lisa Firestone and Firestone Vineyards for keeping the wine flowing, and to dublab dj’s for providing us with the soundtrack for the evening as well as a series of live performances by Anenon, Contact Field Orchestra, and Gifted & Blessed.

Behind the Scenes at This is Your Library #5

Is it just us, or is This is Your Library getting better and better? TiYL#5 fell on a Saturday for the first time ever and we have to say, staying late in the Library on a weekend felt so wrong it was right. We played to packed house, and our guests couldn’t have been more interesting and gracious.

Haven’t you always wondered what happens in a library after hours? See below for a few candid moments captured throughout the night.

If you attended our event last weekend, leave a comment, let us know what you thought!

And of course if you missed it, you can view it in all its glory, here (thanks!)

‘This is Your Library’ Los Angeles… you can party if you want to :: blogdowntown

We love Blogdowntown here at the LFLA. We always knew there was a lot happening downtown, but this blog is truly an exhaustive, informative, and really fun resource. Take a look at what they had to say about This is Your Library on March 10.

‘This is Your Library’ Los Angeles… you can party if you want to :: blogdowntown.