12 ways to do literary good this holiday season

Get Lit poets perform
Teen poets combine classic literature and slam poetry with Get Lit, one of LA’s literary nonprofits.
(Christina House / For the Times)


What with all the wrapping and trips to the store and airport lines and online shopping, it’s easy to lose hold of the idea that the holidays are for giving. If you have room left on your list or in your wallet, here are some ways to give for the holidays that will give back in return. Each of these nonprofits benefits Los Angeles literarily.

826LA offers tutoring and creative writing workshops for kids 6-18 at its two locations, Echo Park and Mar Vista. The L.A. branch of the national nonprofit founded by Dave Eggers accepts financial support and also has a wishlist.

Beyond Baroque
A mainstay of the literary counterculture of Venice since 1968, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center holds poetry readings, workshops and more.


Centro Latino for Literacy
Based near MacArthur Park and with an online curriculum, Centro Latino teaches literacy skills to Spanish-speaking adults who have not yet learned to read and write.

Get Lit
Get Lit works with at-risk teens across Los Angeles, combining competitive spoken-word performance with classic literature.

Library Foundation Los Angeles
The Library Foundation of Los Angeles supports public libraries in the city of Los Angeles and presents the ALOUD reading series. Through the end of the year, membership donations will be matched one-to-one.

Libros Schmibros
Based in Boyle Heights, Libros Schmibros is a lending library and bookstore located on Mariachi Plaza, with a membership program of its own (benefits include a free T-shirt).


Literature for Life
Founded by L.A. writer Jervey Tervalon, Literature for Life is an online literary journal designed for teachers and students to engage with creative writing.

Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum
The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum has one of the world’s largest independently held collections of African American history and culture.

Milk & Bookies - Based in Los Angeles, Milk & Bookies is now a national program that makes it fun for kids to choose and give books to kids who do not have them.

PEN Center USA
PEN Center USA is the L.A. outpost of PEN, which supports the freedom to write around the world. Los Angeles programs include work in schools and its signature nine-month training program for emerging writers.

Writegirl empowers teen girls to find their writing voices, publishing anthologies and holding workshops and public performances around Los Angeles.

Writers Bloc
Writers Bloc presents major authors in conversation in Los Angeles; 2015 will include Michael Connelly, Norman Lear and Kazuo Ishiguro. Donations of $100 or more will be thanked with gift cards.

This is just a start; there are, of course, many other organizations, nonprofit publishers, literary journals, libraries and more that are doing their part to enrich the literary lives of Angelenos. They can use your help now, or in any other season.

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