What an incredible year it has been. Through the library closing its physical doors, learning new ways to share our programming, figuring out how to engage with one another through small squares on a screen, we have successfully managed many of the obstacles in the new world we are all inhabiting.
In the late spring of 2020 we did a soft launch of virtual programming and, as we worked through the many curves and tests of ever-changing technology, we found that we could quickly adapt and bring our award-winning public programs to the forefront. Over this past year we have presented programs of which we are very proud. A few examples include The Cost of Inequality with Reverend Dr. William Barber and Robert Reich; Ongoing Challenges of Disability Discrimination with Jasmine E. Harris, Ruth Colker, and Michele Bratcher Goodwin; and Lift Every Voice (Celebrating 250 years of African American poetry) with Kevin Young, Robin Coste Lewis, and Amanda Gorman, among others.
During this transformative year, we learned that our supporters are stronger and more giving than ever. We saw it amid our Giving Tuesday campaign where, thanks to you, we exceeded our goals in record numbers. We saw it again with our Stay Home and Read a Book Ball supporters who came through with the memorable images of themselves (and their well-read pets) on social media. We also had the Young Literati Member Sean Hetherington and his partner Darius Wadia turn a canceled 2020 marathon into a one-of-a-kind fundraising moment for the Library. We are reminded in these moments that our efforts to generate support for the Los Angeles Public Library are in concert with our Members, library patrons, and people across all communities in Los Angeles who understand the importance of public libraries.
The most inspiring parts of this year was seeing how library patrons have exceedingly used the e-media offered by the Library including checking out e-books on social justice in record numbers last summer. Others have chosen to continue their educational progress through programs like Career Online High School, where we recently saw our 500th graduate get their High School diploma. Many branches are also participating in the LAPL’s Library To Go initiative allowing library lovers to check out books, giving them somewhat of a semblance of the library experience we had pre-COVID.
We here at the Library Foundation have learned much about who we are in this last year and the communities we are honored to serve. We are proud that you have chosen to be part of the work that we are doing. As the world begins to open back up, we will continue to persevere and, with your help, create even more opportunities and accessible resources at the Los Angeles Public Library.
Ken Brecher, President