Who We Are
The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library is an all-volunteer, California 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization open to all. The Friends organization was founded in 1963 when a concerned group of citizens joined forces with City Librarian Blanche Collins to battle the City Council for the right of librarians to make book-buying decisions for the City of Long Beach library system.
The mission of the Friends of the Library is to work to preserve the public library as a place of intellectual freedom and to guard against censorship. We advocate for a strong public library system by keeping informed and acting on current issues that affect our library. We help build community awareness and enthusiasm for LBPL services, programs, and needs. Membership dues and donated book and media sales provide materials, support summer reading programs, provide cultural and literary events for the community, and help fund training for library staff.
Please join us today by becoming a Friend!
What We Do
The Friends contribute to the quality and success of the library’s services and program’s in many ways:
• Advocating for increased community awareness of the resources, services and needs of the Long Beach Public Libraries.
• Accepting donations of gently-used books, CDs, and other book related media for sale at our Bookshop at the Billie Jean King Main Library and at bookracks at each neighborhood branch library.
• Managing the Memorial Book Fund for donations to the library system in memory of loved ones.
• Making an annual donation to each individual neighborhood branch library for their discretionary use.
• Administering an annual summer reading essay contest.
• Awarding annual scholarships for Library employees and volunteers continuing their higher education.
The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library was formed as a support group following the December 4, 1962 City Council hearing on censorship. The pressure to ban the Nikos Kazantzakis novel, The Last Temptation of Christ, had begun in November, and was an attempt by certain citizens to dictate what books did or did not belong in the library. City Librarian Blanche Collins was supported at that hearing by the Long Beach Council of Churches and by freedom-to-read proponents in the community.
After the hearing, a group of women discussed the formation of a Friends of the Library so there would be an action group ready if it were needed again. The first formal meeting of the Friends of the Library was held on December 8, 1963. The invitation to membership in the group stated: "The purposes of the organization shall be to further the principle that a well-informed populace and freedom to read are essential to the well-being of our community; and to focus public attention on library needs, services, and facilities."
Through the years, the Friends has not considered itself either a social or fund-raising group. Now a group of over four hundred members, it is an active defender of the freedom to read and a supporter of our community's library services through education and legislative action.
Board of Directors
The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library are governed by a Board of Directors consisting of eight elected officers, members-at-larger, and standing committee chairs as required.
Board meetings are held at 4pm on the second Thursday of every month except July and August.
President - Barbara Sosa
Vice-President, Membership - Arlene Gale
Vice-President, Programs - Lisa Moore
Treasurer - Elizabeth Andrew
Recording Secretary - Sharon Abar
Corresponding Secretary - Carol Quinlan
Director, Blanche Collins Forum - Vacant
Director, Helen Fuller Cultural Carrousel - Vacant
STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Advocacy & Legislation - Carol Quinlan
Banned Books - Ellen Butler
Barbara Egyud Scholarship - Linda Kimberly
Bookshop and Sales - Caroline Martin
Hospitality - Patricia Benoit
Memorial Books - Jan Jackson
Newsletter - Diane Riska-Taylor
Public Relations & Data Processing - Caroline Martin and Sharon Abar