The Los Angeles literary landscape shifted significantly this week with the departure of Louise Steinman from ALOUD, the reading series based at the downtown Central Library that she founded and ran for 25 years.
A representative of the Library Foundation confirmed the departure of Steinman and ALOUD associate director Maureen Moore, who was the driving force behind the rotunda exhibit “Visualizing Language” by Oaxacan artists that gained international attention.
Steinman and Moore worked for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, a foundation that supports the L.A. Public Library and is run from the Central Library.
The departures come just weeks after the fall season of ALOUD was announced. Two of the 12 events are sold out.
Most of ALOUD’s events are free and held at the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Central Library. Some, held offsite in larger venues, charge a ticket fee, such as the upcoming Sept. 23 discussion with famed novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard, which is $25-75.
Last year, writer Pico Iyer described Steinman to The Times as “a fellow writer, with deeply discerning literary tastes, who really cares about letters and the history of thought.”
“How often does one get to offer literary programs for and with someone who has written memorable books on Poland and Japan, and whose interests stretch from postmodern fiction to Jungian psychology and the special art of Meredith Monk?” Iyer said.
With the departure of Moore and Steinman, the only remaining member of the Library Foundation’s cultural programs department is a production associate, Jenn Dees.
Library Foundation communications director Leah Price told the Times that the fall 2018 events will continue and that the “intention is for the ALOUD series to continue into 2019.”
“We’re in the process of re-envisioning the ALOUD series and the rest of the public programming we produce,” Price said. She confirmed that they intend to continue having authors appear to discuss their books with L.A.’s readers.
Price said, “We love Louise but at this point in time she is not part of our new direction.”
Library Foundation President Ken Brecher was not available for comment.