Project Best Seller is not a secret plan to create a work of fiction that will sell more copies than any other book before it. It is a program designed to offer an inventory of about 600 popular books that rent for 10 cents a day, and it is just one of many services--ranging from writing clubs to quilting--available at San Fernando Valley area libraries.
Most library branches, whether they are city, county or private, provide a selection of children’s activities, including story hours, puppet shows and holiday programs. Most libraries will check out audio cassettes, and a handful have videos. Four Valley facilities (Granada Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima and Studio City) offer the Library Adult Reading Project, a free literacy program for people 16 and older who read below sixth-grade level. What follows is a sampling of Valley libraries that offer something extra. (A number of these activities are funded by each branch’s Friends of the Library volunteer group.)
Chabad of the Conejo Jewish Library, 368 N. Kanan Road, Oak Park, (818) 991-0991. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This small--but growing--facility includes a children’s library and a section of books and materials on Jewish women. Donations from the community have included such items as a 1905 prayer book in Hebrew and German, old Yiddish prayer books and a variety of artifacts. The library also houses the Project Pride lending library of drug prevention materials and videotapes.
Encino-Tarzana Library, 18231 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 343-1983. Open Monday through Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m., Friday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This branch emphasizes best-selling fiction with Project Best Seller. The library also has extensive collections on real estate, small businesses, theater and speech writing. A collection of Persian books contains 300 titles. The small West Valley Writer’s Group meets here Thursday mornings.
Granada Hills Branch Library, 10640 Petit Ave., (818) 368-5687. Open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to Project Best Seller, the Granada Hills branch is a participant in the Library Adult Reading Project. An Apple IIe computer is available for public use once patrons have completed a brief computer class, which is offered twice a month. A printer may be used for 5 cents a page. Three coin-operated typewriters are also available. Members of the community may sign up to display as many as five pieces of art in the facility. The next book sale is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Las Virgenes Public Library, 29130 W. Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills, (818) 889-2278. Open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons have access, via computer, to the materials of 91 county library branches. Patrons can sign up to use the Apple IIe and its instructional and games software, although some familiarity with computers is required. Videocassettes are available for free loan. Las Virgenes has strong collections of books about the Holocaust and American Indians, and two bookcases are replenished several times a week for the library’s ongoing book sale.
North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Branch Library, 5211 Tujunga Ave., (818) 766-7185. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A historical landmark built in 1929, the library is an example of Spanish Revival architecture with a tile roof, stained glass and tile inlay. A statue of Amelia Earhart and a display of Earhart memorabilia commemorate the one-time area resident. The branch has extensive collections on Earhart, movies, auto repair and theater.
Panorama City Branch Library, 14345 Roscoe Blvd., (818) 894-4071. Open Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Among programs at this branch is a free Adult Communication Workshop for honing speaking and storytelling skills. The library has an extensive selection of health-related books, as well as many mystery, travel and reference books.
Sherman Oaks Branch Library, 14245 Moorpark St., (818) 981-7850. Open Monday and Tuesday from 1 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Two book discussion groups meet here once a month: Masterworks, which focuses on literary masterpieces, and Adult Book Discussion, in which participants talk about their favorite books. The Quilt Club meets at the library twice a month. Children’s programs include puppet shows and young singers and dancers from the community. A small collection of children’s videos is available for checkout. The branch offers Project Best Seller, and book sales are held the last Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road, (805) 526-1735. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Children’s storytelling is offered Friday from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. for 3- to 5-year-olds and Tuesdays from 7 to 7:30 p.m. for families with any age children. The Simi Valley Library houses a separate business library, and the Career Center offers books, pamphlets, civil service exams and college catalogues. This library provides computerized access to the libraries of three counties. The Simi Valley Computer Users Group meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month, and an adult literacy program meets Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. Book sales are usually held the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Studio City Branch Library, 4400 Babcock Ave., (818) 769-5212. Open Monday through Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Book discussions are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday. This library has a large selection of children’s audio cassettes and rock albums, and the facility rents best sellers. Many books on women and the women’s movement, as well as medical books and new fiction, are available. The next book sales are Tuesday for hard-cover books and Nov. 8 for paperbacks. All sales are from 6 to 8 p.m.
Sun Valley Branch, 7935 Vineland Ave. (818) 764-7907. Open Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m., Thursday from noon to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This branch has an extensive collection of Spanish-language material: fiction, nonfiction, magazines, reference books, and children’s fiction and nonfiction. A special feature of this branch is the presentation of a voucher to children whenever they return a book on time. After they earn a certain number of credits (5 to 20), children may exchange them for posters or stickers. The next book sale will be in May.
Thousand Oaks Public Library, 1401 E. Janss Road, (805) 497-6282. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. One wall of this library is covered with a children’s mural, titled “A World of Enchantment,” which contains visual references to children’s books and characters. An explanatory brochure is available. Other artistic touches include a series of three redwood sculptures and a fountain.
An extensive video rental section contains more than 3,600 titles, including many documentaries and public television series. A calendar of events, contained in a bimonthly newsletter, lists dates for concerts (the third Sunday of the month at 4 p.m.), book discussion (the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.), teen book discussions (the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.), classic cinema and film discussions (the third Saturday of the month at 7 p.m.) and various cultural tours. A separate quarterly calendar lists children’s programs.
The Conejo Valley Genealogical Society’s collection of 1,500 books and 150 periodicals is housed in the library, which also loans typewriters, security engraving pens, Polaroid cameras, video players and Braille materials. Several computers may be reserved for use by the public. Book sales are held quarterly.
Valley Plaza Branch Library, 12311 Vanowen St., North Hollywood, (818) 765-0805. Open Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A free Children’s Reading Practice Clinic is offered for those in grades one through three, with one-on-one tutoring. On Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., a speaker from Mount Wilson Observatory will lecture on astronomy, and those in attendance will be able to try out telescopes. Story hours for toddlers and preschoolers are held regularly in the morning. The next book sale is planed for December.
West Valley Regional Library, 19036 Vanowen St., Reseda, (818) 345-4393. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A 45-minute computer class is offered Saturdays at 9:15 a.m., with reservations required, after which patrons may sign up to use the library’s Apple IIe. This branch is a referral center for reading cassettes and records for the blind. The next book sale is planned for November.