Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reflecting on "This is Your Library"

From Left to Right: John Szabo, Exene Cervenka, Hector Tobar,
Mike White, and Justin Veach.
Photo by Gary Leonard
On March 2nd, I enjoyed an evening program at the Central Library entitled "This is Your Library".   Conducted in a late-night TV show style, the program was moderated by humorous host Justin Veach and accompanied by the Library All-Star Band.  Guests included a number of prominent Angelenos: punk legend Exene Cervenka; actor, writer, director Mike White of HBO’s Enlightened; author and Los Angeles Times journalist H├ęctor Tobar; and new City Librarian John Szabo.  Following the event was a performance by Feeding People.

Photo by Gary Leonard
Exene Cervenka performs a song on stage.
Photo by Gary Leonard
I am a huge fan of the library's many programs, initiatives, and exhibitions and this night was no exception.  Each guest brought their diverse narratives and distinct perspectives about Los Angeles; many spoke on the important role of the library and literary scene in their lives and careers.  Cervenka discussed the impact of her experience with Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center and visiting the Central Library.  White talked about his time as a research assistant for his father and how events in his life inspired Enlightened. Hector Tobar related stories about growing up with the library and his local and international work with the Los Angeles Times. As new City Librarian, Szabo relayed some of his ideas and proposed initiatives for the library, including the possibility that the library could gift every new born baby in Los Angeles their first book.

Hector Tobar's book signing after the event.
Pictured: Charity Tran and Zach Behrens reading the
back cover to Tobar's novel The Barbarians Nurseries.
Photo by Gary Leonard.
What ultimately becomes presented in a program like "This is Your Library" is not only the compelling stories and backgrounds of these Angeleno guests, but also how the literary landscape of Los Angeles is so intricately intertwined with their narratives.  The life stories of the guests often resonated with the audience who laughed and cheered throughout the evening, signifying that "This is Your Library" is just as much about individual stories as it is about a collective appreciation for "our" library.

The next "This is Your Library" event is scheduled for June 8th, 2013.  Mark your calendars and, in the mean time, check out more events from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Editor 

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