Library Festival to Rally Kids to Read

Kicking off its annual citywide campaign to encourage children to read during the summer, the Los Angeles Public Library will hold a festival Saturday at the Central Library downtown. Free transportation will be provided from three San Fernando Valley branches.

The festival will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Central Library, 630 W. 5th St. Scheduled to appear are actor Martin Landau and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

Buses will leave at 11:30 a.m. from the Canoga Park Branch, the West Valley Branch in Reseda and the Mid-Valley Regional Branch in North Hills. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Since seating is extremely limited, anyone interested is urged to call the branches to make a reservation.

Saturday’s event will inaugurate the LAPL’s second-annual summer reading program, called “L.A. Kids Read.” Featuring a wide variety of special events at each of the city’s branches between June and August, the program is designed to show children that reading can be a part of any summer vacation.


“I tell them to take a book and squeeze it in between innings and in between splashes at the pool,” said Elizabeth Anne Nelson, children’s librarian at the Platt Branch in Woodland Hills. “You can always put a paperback book in your back pocket.”

The program is aimed at children from preschool to sixth grade. To participate, sign-up sheets are available at any city library branch.

“It’s very open and free,” Nelson said. “It provides an opportunity for the child to set his own pace. It’s not competitive.”

During the next three months, Valley branches will feature storytelling hours, arts and crafts activities and performances by Charles the Clown, Wildlife on Wheels and the L’Eau Theque National Touring Theater.

“It’s an expansion of the word recreation,” Nelson said. “Reading is also recreation.”