This is not the first time I’ve written here about supporting your local library, nor will it be the last. I say this because this post might sound a little repetitive now, and it really will be a grand day when we all can move on to other things because this problem has been solved, its coffers full. But it’s unsolved and the treasure chest remains empty and looted, so here, again, is just another two cents about why it is you should care about the continued existence of local institutions that make you smarter with or without you knowing it. Or, at the very least, keep you entertained.
One of the best gifts I ever received for Christmas was a book. The Missing Piece, specifically. I first read at the library when I was a kid, the whole thing, in the children’s section, S aisle. I checked it out, then again, then again again, so many times that my mom eventually just got it for me for Christmas. That book made my soul smarter, and I likely wouldn’t have read it otherwise. Certainly not at the bookstore – partly because we didn’t go to bookstores very often, and partly because I was afraid of new books. Too new. Too nice. We had nice things, but not very often new things. So, the old, used ones in the library were more approachable. I read those. Everyone read those.
But everyone has a Kindle or other fancy tablet in which we read the words that used to be exclusively bound between two hard covers, you say? What good is the library to me now, you say some more? Answers: It’s true, and lots, respectively. I give you the LA Public Library’s E-Library, where you can check out books for your Kindle. That’s right. Free books in whatever platform you desire.
Beyond these free things are other wonderful events that the library curates: the ALOUD speaker series, for example, is one of a handful of defenses we Angelenos have when New Yorkers accuse us of lacking in cultural arts. This year, the series has brought everyone from Michael Chabon to the late Christopher Hitchens to Annie Leibovitz to Richard effin’ Feynman to Carrie Fisher and John Waters in conversation with one another to town to talk about the great things they do, and to inspire us in turn.
If giving to the library isn’t on your list this season, I’ll make one more plug for them: the Central Library’s Library Store is a great place for gifts. You’ll find “Reading is Sexy” bumper stickers, kitschy tote bags, eclectic holiday cards, and other delightfully random things for that delightfully random person in your life.
Convinced? Hopefully, yes. The Library Foundation of Los Angeles has all the information you need to donate to support the LPLA; for those outside LA, your local branch surely would point you in the right direction. Happy holidays, everyone.
This post is part of the Blogging.LA Holiday Giving series.