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A note from the Los Angeles Public Library

A woman pulls a book off of a shelf at a Los Angeles Public Library branch.
Libraries are fully open, and even with limited in-person programming, the commitment to literacy still stands.
(Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)

When Los Angeles followed health and safety protocols by closing libraries, children’s librarians were faced with the challenge of how to promote books and literacy without a physical connection to their communities and the collection. Their dedication to taking on that challenge, using whatever tools they had available to them, resulted in an array of online storytimes, book clubs and author talks on social media channels and Zoom. Libraries created outdoor storywalks through partnerships with neighborhood organizations and businesses. When hub branches were open for contactless pickups, a book bundling system was implemented to get titles in English and Spanish into the hands of families.

Libraries are fully open, and even with limited in-person programming, the commitment to literacy still stands. Book bundling continues alongside the ability to browse the shelves. Whatever books get checked out, patrons no longer have to contend with late fees or fines. A family’s closest branch can still send free books tied to library programs that celebrate children and their diverse cultures and experiences. Individuals can print 10 sheets per day at branches at no cost, giving parents and caregivers the opportunity to print out activity sheets related to workshops that support social emotional learning or kindergarten readiness.

The Los Angeles Public Library is proud to contribute to this year’s Reading by 9 guide as it serves as another important tool in championing literacy. With the focus largely on Southern California children’s books, there are extra selling points of reading about a familiar scene or landmark or of the book’s creator living close by. Who knows? You might meet the author or illustrator through the library someday!


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