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L.A. library patrons demand answers about the abrupt changes at ALOUD

L.A. library patrons demand answers about the abrupt changes at ALOUD
The Los Angeles Central Library in downtown L.A. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: We completely agree with Aaron Paley’s take on the changes to the ALOUD program at the Los Angeles Central Library.

We have been ALOUD patrons for many years, attending several talks annually and thoroughly appreciating the experience. The quality and diversity of the programming overseen by Louise Steinman and Maureen Moore have been top-notch, making the Central Library an even more important community resource than it was on its own.

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The abrupt and thus far unexplained firing of Steinman and Moore by the Library Foundation has shaken our faith in the foundation and in the mission of the library.

If in fact there was a good reason to change ALOUD program leadership, the public deserves to know what it was. The fact that no cogent rationale has been provided will inevitably lead loyal patrons such as us to suspect that it was a rash and foolish decision not based on problems with the ALOUD program or with the job performance of Steinman and Moore.

George and Christina Legg, Rolling Hills Estates

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To the editor: Thanks to Paley for articulating the anguish that so many of us in L.A.’s literary community are feeling in the wake of the Library Foundation’s horrendous, inexplicable treatment of ALOUD founder and curator Louise Steinman and her understudy, Maureen Moore.

I earned the equivalent of a master's degree by attending ALOUD programming over many years. It provided opportunities to hear from and chat with thought-changers among us and from afar.

The last program I attended with my nearly-blind husband was Steinman interviewing a blind author. The memory of this inspiring conversation, which gave my husband so much hope, will sustain me while I wait for the Library Foundation leadership to figure out the error of their ways and how they’re going to make amends.

Mary Fitzpatrick, Pasadena

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To the editor: This has happened before to two highly respected cultural programs in Los Angeles.

Gary Essert, the late founding director of the Los Angeles International Film Exposition, was unceremoniously fired. The festival never recovered. Similarly, David Sefton agreed to leave UCLA Live, a performing arts series that brought wonderful groups from all over the world to our fair city.

Both these episodes damaged the cultural life of a city that desperately needs and deserves it. We shouldn’t let this happen again.

Peter Bonerz, Los Angeles

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