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Librarian Steps Into Shoes of Missing Soccer Player

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Sometimes you just have to get in the game.

That’s exactly what children’s librarian Susan O’Brien did Tuesday when a Los Angeles Galaxy player failed to show up to read stories to youngsters at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Porter Ranch Branch.

Soccer player Marvin Quijano was scheduled to read stories, sign autographs and answer questions as part of the library’s “Imagining the Future” summer reading program.

But because of a late road game Monday night and a practice session and team meeting Tuesday, Quijano was unable to make it to Porter Ranch in time for his 2:30 p.m. appearance, team officials said.

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A team representative called the public library’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles about 45 minutes before Quijano’s scheduled appearance in Porter Ranch, library officials said.

“They said they had a scheduling problem and they weren’t able to send a player,” said Peter V. Persic, a library spokesman. “We are obviously disappointed, because we were looking forward to having a player.”

Nevertheless, O’Brien was prepared to get off the bench and substitute for the absentee athlete.

“It’s disappointing for the children,” she said, “but I’m going to read soccer stories anyway.”

Whatever disappointment the children may have felt seemed to dissipate as O’Brien read “This Is Soccer” and “Froggy Plays Soccer.”

Just as O’Brien finished reading, a Galaxy representative arrived and gave the kids team lunch boxes and cereal bowls.

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“Unfortunately, when something like this happens, the kids get hurt,” said Luis Garcia, a Galaxy spokesman. “Obviously, we need to make sure that if someone can’t make it, we have someone to take his place.”

Galaxy players are scheduled to read at several library branches through September, library officials said.

The Imagining the Future Reading Club promotes reading for pleasure among children of all ages and provides activities for children during vacation and off-track periods.

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