In 1986, corporate and community leaders along with thousands of volunteers came together to overcome the devastating arson fires that nearly destroyed the Central Library—the cornerstone of the Los Angeles Public Library system that has been serving the city since 1872. The commitment of these dedicated individuals led to the founding of the Library Foundation in 1992 to raise private sector support to benefit one of the city’s most valued public resources. Today, the Library Foundation supports so many critical resources for millions of children, teens, and adults that you may not even be aware of the range of offerings. As the Foundation kicks-off its 25th anniversary celebration in 2017, we’re taking a look at some of the surprising ways we’ve worked to make a significant difference in the lives of those who depend on the Los Angeles Public Library. Starting with this post, check out our new “Did you know?” blog series that we’ll run throughout the year.
Did you know that “Summer at the Library” is the Library’s longest operating program that started in 1930? Recognizing the importance of instilling consistent reading habits in children and teens to prepare them for academic success, the Library Foundation began supporting “Summer at the Library” (originally called the Summer Reading Club) in 1997 and the program has been growing ever since.
This past summer, 37,740 participants joined “Summer at the Library,” boosting enrollment in the program by 24 percent from the previous year. Beyond a myriad of literary activities to inspire readers of all ages to learn during the summer school break, this past summer program also included free lunches, which were served to 15,764 youth across 14 libraries. And for the first time in the program’s history, adults were formally incorporated into “Summer at the Library.” This pilot component allowed older patrons the pleasure of engaging in reading, lifelong learning, and creating a deeper relationship with the local community.
Also new to this summer was the launch of a series to bring noted children’s and young adult authors to the Los Angeles Public Library’s neighborhood branches. Through the Future Leaders Fund, an endowment recently established at the Library Foundation, young people were provided the rare and exciting opportunity to meet, hear from, and interact with published authors, including Caldecott Medal-winning author Dan Santat (pictured above) and author Patty Rodriguez, who was recently honored with a L.A. Times Latinos De Hoy Cultural Influencer Award.
Check back on the blog throughout 2017 as the Library Foundation celebrates 25 years of transforming Los Angeles through the power of libraries.