Celebrate National Library Week

Public Relations Office, Library Administration,
Illustration by local artist Ileana Hernandez shows how LAPL employees continue to serve our communities
Illustration by local artist Ileana Hernandez @illystrations shows how LAPL employees continue to serve our communities

This week is National Library Week! Although our library buildings are closed, you can still find your place at the library, because we’re always open online, with access to e-media, digital resources, virtual programming and more from home with your library card. This year, we’re celebrating by showing appreciation to library staff for the innovative ways they continue to serve everyone in our diverse communities.

Easy Access to Digital Content

portrait of madeline pena

Madeline Peña

Senior Librarian, Digital Content Team

We are driven by our passion for service.

Once we found out the library doors were closing, all I could think about was how to make access to our digital services easier for our patrons. That is why the Digital Content Team worked on restructuring the Library’s homepage, our digital branch, to serve as the library from home. We’re supporting efforts to provide online programming, sharing the ideas and expertise of our staff via the blog, and creating videos to help our patrons navigate our resources. We’re finding new ways to fulfill the beautiful mission of the Los Angeles Public Library. We are here, open 24/7 at lapl.org. We are here for our colleagues and our community.

Welcoming Old and New Cardholders

portrait of steve fritz

Steve Fritz

Circulation Manager, Circulation Support Office

Now more than ever, LAPL is making sure Angelenos continue to have access to library resources—helping to maintain a sense of community, inclusion and normalcy.

I am in the fortunate and fulfilling position of helping Los Angeles gain and continue to have access to library services during this unprecedented time. So many integral behind the scenes changes were needed to quickly reinstate expired cards and open up online access. Widening our e-card service area and extending due dates for materials that would otherwise have gone overdue were just the beginning. I’m especially proud of my part in helping to move LAPL toward becoming fine-free, waiving all overdue fines, unblocking frozen accounts, and welcoming back so many cardholders to the fold. Special thanks to the Circulation Support team for helping each and every patron keep connected! The library’s doors may be closed, but we are still here for our patrons.

Expanding Digital Collections

portrait of catherine royalty

Catherine Royalty

Acting Collection Services Manager

The LAPL digital library is always open!

My staff and I are busy expanding and curating the Library's digital resources. We are always working to build a digital collection that informs and entertains users of all ages with various needs, interests and languages spoken, but while our facilities are closed, this has become more important than ever. I am in awe of all the creative virtual programming ideas that my colleagues at LAPL have come up with, and my team is working hard to assist them with access to the related digital resources they need. We are all working together to let our community know that we are here for them.

Serving as Disaster Service Workers

portrait of ednita kelly

Ednita Kelly

Children’s Librarian, San Pedro Regional Branch

We are all doing the best we can right now. Take time to recharge and remember to give yourself grace.

When interacting with the residents at the shelter for people experiencing homelessness, as one of the city’s volunteer Disaster Service Workers, I tried to talk to them as much as possible and treat them with dignity and respect. I used my customer service skills to provide service with a smile and to cater to them as much as possible. I tried to keep in mind that our mission was to keep the residents safe from COVID-19. As Feeding Lead, I was specifically responsible for providing food to the shelter residents, which also meant making sure to practice proper food handling hygiene in the kitchen at all times. Since we had nurses and social workers on site, if I heard or noticed something that needed attention, I would make sure to alert the best person to help them.

Safe at Home Storytime

portrait of joanna fabicon

Joanna Fabicon

Senior Librarian, Children’s Services

Library buildings are closed, but thanks to Children’s Librarians’ expertise and passion for serving their community, storytimes go on.

Every weekday at 10 a.m. on LAPL’s Instagram, I host a storytime featuring Children’s Librarians from the city’s branch libraries (via their homes, of course). This storytime from our couch to yours approach provides consistency and comfort while we all remain safe at home. Despite the occasional tech issues, it’s been a wonderful way for the Library to connect with families. Starting April 22, bilingual storytimes will be added to the mix.

Producing Personal Protective Equipment

portrait of vi ha

Vi Ha

Librarian III, Octavia Lab

Library workers are adaptable, believe in the public good (that is why we do this work) and want to help.

I, along with the Octavia Lab team, have transformed the Octavia Lab from a DIY hobbyist prototyping space to a light manufacturing and distribution center for life-saving face shields for the medical community. From an email request from a concerned library user, I quickly mobilized the Octavia Lab through prototyping face shields and receiving hospital approval, and then built out a community engagement project to help make face shields. Lab staff really stepped up to the plate to learn new skills quickly and use the library's technology to improve the health and safety of our communities. Through key partnerships with Glendale Public Library, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and others, we are able to help L.A. County hospitals and help protect first responders in their time of greatest need. Takeaway: Libraries save lives.

Student Success

portrait of cathie chenoweth

Catherine Chenoweth

School Liaison, Librarian III, Youth Services Department

In times like this I am very grateful to work with such an innovative, creative, supportive and inclusive organization like LAPL that is going above and beyond to support our patrons and community.

With all of the Los Angeles Public Libraries currently closed, this has changed how I am thinking about connecting with and serving schools as a whole. All of the students and teachers were thrown into new and uncertain waters, and I am doing all I can to support the students and teachers with whatever resources, training and outreach support they need in whatever way I can. I have been working hard to make sure that all LA Unified students, teachers and families know that they have a Student Success card and how to get their information in case they lost or never received their Student Success Card. I am working on creating tutorial videos and newsletters with the Digital Content Team and PR to help explain to students, teachers and families all of the online resources that we have at LAPL and how to use them. I have been doing virtual training and visits with teachers, parents, caregivers, and other staff within LA Unified to support them and give them a refresher on all of LAPL’s resources.