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NEW LIBRARY HOURS for Mondays and Thursdays
starting on October 31, 2016 - see bottom of page.
•  Up Coming Events   Up Coming Youth Programs
•  News

    •    New L.A. Guidebook Spotlights Library's Leo Politi Mural
    •    Ann Jilg - ESL Teacher Retires

    •   Matthew Arkin - New Writer in Town donates lastes book
    •   Dana Gioia - California Poet Laureate
    •   Leo Politi Bronze Sculpture unveiled
    •   "Golden State Collection" grows -see new titles
       Library Park Guided Tree Walk
is Established

    •    Heather Hinton -
In Memory   
    •   Scott Van Sant  - In Memory 
    •   Beverly Engler - In Memory

•  Friends Newsletter
Annual Report  2015                                                      
        updated 11-16-2016



The 20th

Piano Quartet



January 15, 2017
4:00 p.m.
Read more

     Cindy Wu





                                   The following youth programs have been funded in full or in part by the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library


Click here for complete flyer with details


Click here for
program details

PDF page

If fractions have you flummoxed, algebra makes you allergic, history has you hysterical, or long division leaves you dazzled, the South Pasadena Public Library can help you with its online tutoring service.

From any Web-enabled computer in the library or at home, a student can click on the Live Homework Help link on the library's Web site at www.cityofsouthpasadena.us/library and engage in controlled online chat with a math, English, science or social studies expert. Students and tutors can also work on an interactive white board, share educational Web sites and send files back and forth for a rewarding learning exchange

Funded by grants from the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and the Library Services and Technology Act, the Live Homework Help from Tutor.com has assisted nearly 4,000 South Pasadena students over the past few years.

                COMING - December 9, 2016


A very special Art, Author and Music Night event will be presented
in the South Pasadena Library on Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m.
Showcased will be two new books: “Waiting for the Light” by
South Pasadena residents, Cyndi Bemel and Deb McCurdy
and “More Songwriters on Songwriting” by Paul Zollo.

The free event will be presented in the Library Community Room
with a photography exhibit, spoken words from the authors, live music
performances by both Deb and Paul, and light refreshments.

Autographed copies of both books will be available for purchase and a
portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Friends of the Library.

Journalist and photographer, Cyndi Bemel, and singer/songwriter, Deb McCurdy, have recently published their first book, “Waiting for the Light.” Deb is a singer songwriter who regularly performs original Americana tunes with her trio, Pieces of My Heart at Fiore Market Cafe in South Pasadena. Cyndi and Deb’s book combines eye-catching black and white photographs accompanied by simple and beautiful reflections on shared human experiences. The result is a unique collaboration of words and images. The meditative feel of the book offers appealing thoughts and images to readers interested in nature, photography, and/or spirituality. Deb’s words are actually lyrics to a song she wrote on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, although they don’t specifically refer to any single event.

Some of Bemel’s photos were taken in locations in Europe, as well as in National Parks, while others were taken close to her South Pasadena home. She wanted the artwork to embody the lyric’s message and purposefully juxtaposed light and dark, and highlights and shadows to evoke emotional responses. The duo spent many hours poring over Cyndi’s wealth of photographs, searching for fitting images for Deb’s lyrics.

Some 25 years since the publication of Paul Zollo's best-selling “Songwriters On Songwriting”, often called the "songwriter's bible," comes the sequel, “More Songwriters On Songwriting”. Like the original, the new book offers in-depth, informed and intimate interviews on the art and craft of songwriting with a vast range of songwriters, including Leiber & Stoller, Joe Henry, Loretta Lynn, James Taylor, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Chrissie Hynde, John Prine, Gene Clark, and Ringo Starr. "Zollo's songtalk is a feast," wrote Mojo magazine. "No songwriter should be without this book," wrote Brain Pickings.

Paul Zollo is a singer-songwriter, photographer, and author of seven books, including the aforementioned two volumes, as well as “Hollywood Remembered” (a history of Tinseltown unlike any other), “Conversations with Tom Petty”, “Sunset & Cahuenga” (a novel), and more. Paul recently co-wrote “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This”, the memoir of Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart. As a songwriter, Paul has released three albums, and has co-written songs with many of the greats. His photographs have been published in broad range of magazines and books, and have been displayed in galleries around America. Currently the senior editor of American Songwriter magazine, he's also editor of Bluerailroad.com, an online magazine of the arts.

The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street.
No tickets or reservations are needed. Doors to the Community Room will be open at 6:30 p.m.
but the rest of the Library will be closed all day on December 9 for an Annual Staff Training Day

Special thanks to
SPACE, Scott Gandell/Pop Secret Gallery in Eagle Rock, and 210eastsound!
Free parking is available after noon on weekdays and on weekends
at the Mission-Meridian Parking Garage located at 805 Meridian Avenue,
adjacent to the Metro Gold Line Station.


Beginning October 1 Project White Coat Provides
Free Assistance at the Library
for ‘Covered California’ Health Insurance Applicants

The South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library have teamed up again with Project White Coat and the California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA) to provide free, one-on-one sessions to help the public with the Covered California application process. Covered California is the state exchange marketplace where individuals can go to buy private health insurance plans.
 From 11/1/16 and concluding 1/30/17 shortly before the application period closes, South Pasadena Public Library will host Project White Coat volunteer workers at various times as noted below in the Ray Bradbury Conference Room (upstairs in the Library at 1100 Oxley Street) and in the Library Community Room at 1115 El Centro Street. Project White Coat workers have extensive knowledge of the healthcare system because they are all health profession college students. And with the closing date of open enrollment approaching, they are making the process of finding the best health care convenient and easy.

With 10 health insurance companies selling their products on Covered California, it’s easy for people to become overwhelmed. This is especially true for first time health insurance buyers. Project White Coat’s unique make-up of dedicated students from within the healthcare system provides an opportunity for consumers to enroll with a trustworthy individual in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. All Project White Coat workers are certified through Covered California, are trained in confidentiality and handling personal information, and bilingual in Spanish and English. Project White Coat Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC’s) can assist anyone at any point of the application process-- whether it be entering income information or in choosing a health plan. They can also answer a wide variety of questions with an unbiased approach.

Library Covered California Dates for 2016-2017
 Saturday, October 1
 Sunday, October 9
 Sunday, October 16
 Sunday, October 30
2-4 pm
1-3 pm
2-4 pm
1-3 pm
Community Room
Community Room
Community Room
Community Room
 Saturday, November 5
 Monday, November 14
 Tuesday, November 15
 Sunday, November 20
 Saturday, November 26

2-4 pm
7-9 pm
7-9 pm
1-3 pm
1-3 pm

Community Room
Conference Room

Conference Room
Conference Room
Community Room
 Monday, December 5
 Tuesday, December 6
 Tues day, December 13
7-9 pm
7-9 pm
7-9 pm
Community Room
Conference Room
Conference Room
 Saturday, January 7
 Tuesday, January 17
 Saturday, January 21
 Saturday, January 28
 Monday, January 30
1-3 pm
7-9 pm
1-3 pm
1-3 pm
7-9 pm
Community Room
Community Room
Community Room
Community Room
Community Room
The California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA) received a Navigator grant from Covered California to fund Project White Coat. CaHPSA is a statewide student group that advocates for social justice in the healthcare field. The majority of CaHPSA students are currently pursuing secondary degrees in a healthcare professional field but also includes individuals in other fields

New Los Angeles Guidebook Spotlights Library’s Leo Politi Mural
by Steve Fjeldsted, Director of Library, Arts, and Culture

A steady stream of guidebooks for LA sightseers is published regularly by a variety of authors, obviously comprised of newcomers and out-of-staters who don’t seem very familiar with the city. Their descriptions too often recycle the same old recommended spots on their very well-beaten paths. The Hollywood Sign, the La Brea Tar Pits, Olvera Street, and Universal Studios are just a few examples of the points of interest that can be found time after time in such visitors guides to the City of Angels.
A just-released book “111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss” is authored by Laurel Moglen and Julia Posey, both Angelenos. They declare that they intend to lead readers “beyond the Red Carpet reputation and Tinseltown trappings” to many of the city’s most interesting and unexpected cultural opportunities. Their lively, colorful book presents one page of text and a companion photo of each unusual destination taken by San Diego photographer Lyudmilla Zotova. It’s a breezy, fun armchair tour that will lead the curious to a wealth of mostly unusual, sometimes quirky, places to visit in LA. These spots range from Philippe’s, home of the first French Dip sandwich, to the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The maps at the back of the book pinpoint each selected location. Not surprisingly, the majority can be found in Downtown LA or on the Westside, but quite a few are nearby, such as Cindy’s Diner in Eagle Rock and Judson Studio in Highland Park. Pasadena offers five of the locations, one of which, the Mount Wilson Observatory, is actually located well outside the city limits. Among those usual Pasadena points of interest not listed are the Gamble House, Old Town, The Wrigley Mansion, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Caltech. Instead, it’s the Bunny Museum, the Front Porch Homestead, and the Pasadena City College Swap Meet. However, the Norton Simon Museum is included. It should also be noted that the #78 Pasadena Model Railroad Club is actually in the City of Los Angeles.
Only one library location was selected by the authors as one of the 111 hand-picked ‘can’t miss’ spots and it’s not to be found in San Marino, Cerritos, or Downtown LA. That lone library selection is also the only South Pasadena spot spotlighted in the book. The Farmer’s Market, The Bissell House, the Adobe Flores, and the Garfield House are not to be found, not are any of the other 20 Cultural Heritage Landmarks besides the Library (although the Trina Turk outlet store at 1030 Mission St. is briefly cited in one of the captions).
The South Pasadena Public Library is the proud home of #59 of the “111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss”, the untitled mural by Leo Politi in the Children’s Room. It’s the earliest remaining Leo public mural by Leo Politi
The mural was first created in 1957 after Politi was already a famed children’s book author and illustrator. Politi went on to paint other famous murals in LA on Olvera Street, in Chinatown, and in Downtown.

What’s surprising is that the Politi mural at the South Pasadena Library varies greatly from the one Leo originally painted for the Library. Leo was asked to touch up the mural for the Library’s 1982 grand opening of its expansion project. He generously accepted the project without asking for a fee. Initially expecting to only be spending only a couple of hours, he ended up devoting weeks and completely transforming the artwork.
The differences between the 1957 and 1982 murals are remarkable. The earliest version depicts two minimalistic young figures reading with a cat by an accommodating tree. The update adds a third youthful figure with a dog replacing the cat, and more contemporary flowing lines and brighter green hues. In both paintings birds are chirping merrily in the tree’s branches. In January of 2016, a newly cast bronze Politi sculpture entitled “Sister Reading to Brother with Dog Looking On” was unveiled in front of the Library’s main entrance on the Oxley Street side of Library Park during a ceremony which capped off several well attended ceremonies in the Community Room also featuring an exhibit of Leo Politi original paintings.

Using funds from the Rotary Club of South Pasadena,
the Library has ordered a checkout copy of “111 Places in Los Angeles
That You Must Not Miss” for its Golden State Collection.
The copy of the book donated by the authors will become part of the
permanent Local History reference collection.
Posted 11-16-2016.....        .....
Library Operations Study Approved by City Council

For full 17 page report available
on SP City website
- Click here



On May 4, 2016, the South Pasadena City Council approved the “South Pasadena Public Library Operations Study, Final Report, April 12, 2016” by Library Consultant Joe Matthews. Many of the recommendations presented in the Library Operations Study include efficiency improvements to services and can be implemented within the FY 2016-17 budget. The other recommendations of the study are intended to be implemented over the next three years.

The first year priority recommendations include improvements to the Library’s Wi-Fi coverage and speed. The cost of providing broadband fiber optic connectivity will be covered by the increased Library Special Tax revenues during FY 2016-17, and a $24,000 grant from the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) project of the California State Library. The CENIC grant will help offset computer hardware costs associated with the Wi-Fi upgrades and broadband connectivity expenses. Replacement of some of the Library computer workstations called for in the LOS has already been incorporated into the City’s Information Technology budget. The Library has also allocated funding to expand electronic resources (e-resources), in the form of e-books, databases, and downloadable audio and video, in the Library’s FY 2016/2017 Proposed Budget. Staff is currently evaluating flood remediation for the Library and may go out to bid in early FY 2016-17.

The Library will add more computer workstations, including laptops and handheld devices as funding becomes available. The Library will also request additional funds in future years to implement self-checkout stations and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) capabilities for its collections of books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Other recommendations to be implemented in the subsequent years include funding for a Space Planning Consultant to assist with furnishing and décor upgrades.

Library Consultant Joe Matthews presented the “South Pasadena Public Library Operations Study Preliminary Report, Draft, February 5, 2015” to the Library Board of Trustees (LBT) during their February 24, 2016 and March 10, 2016 meetings. It was approved at the latter meeting. Consultant Matthews previously conducted interviews with a variety of library staff, community members, LBT, and members of the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library. Consultant Matthews also conducted field trips with the LBT and staff members to the various nearby public libraries.
    Posted 6-23-2016
Ann Jilg, the Library’s volunteer E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) Teacher retired on July 20 after a distinguished 10 year stint. Previously, Ann taught E.S.L. at the Arcadia Public Library for about 2 years. Ann was recognized by the South Pasadena Public Library Board of Trustees during the Library Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in April 2016 as a Co-Volunteer of the Year for the Library in 2015.

During her decade volunteering for the Library, Ann taught hundreds of newcomers to the United States to speak conversational English. Ann taught native speakers of Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and many other languages. Although she doesn’t speak these languages fluently, Ann succeeded so well because of her dedication and skills using practical Spoken English techniques. Ann is legally blind and gave up driving long ago. Fortunately for so many students, she lived right across the street from the Library and was able to easily come to the Library to teach the class. Ann is moving to Villa Gardens in Pasadena.

One of Ann’s students, Lynda Lim from China stated “I have been in Ann’s class for almost three years. I thank Ann for taking the time to teach us.” Another student, Roham Hadici who came with his Dad from Iran, declared “Ann’s class is good because when I first Arrived in the U.S. I couldn’t give a good answer to a question in English and I felt uncomfortable. With Ann’s help I have learned English and have made friends.”

Ann grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland and her very first job was shelving books at University Heights Public Library there. Out of college her first job was for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. Ann then became a married mother in a military family and through the years has volunteered for the Torrance, Manhattan Beach, and Stanford University Libraries in their bookstores. Ann traveled to China, Italy, Mexico, Poland and Viet Nam to teach English as a volunteer with Global Volunteer, a non-government organization. Ann attended almost every South Pasadena Public Library film screening, concert, play, and Author Night and declares “I believe staying connected to the public library is the joy of my life.”

  Posted 7-25-2016
South Pasadena Public Library’s most recent Strategic Plan calls for it to develop its collection of materials about South Pasadena, as well as works by the city’s impressive roster of artists, musicians, filmmakers, actors, and other creative achievers. That grouping, of course, also includes writers and the Library continues to add as many books by South Pasadena authors to its collection as it can. In addition, the Library maintains an ever-growing list of South Pasadena authors and their works.

Critically acclaimed Broadway, off-Broadway, film and TV actor Matthew Arkin—son of Alan Arkin and brother of Adam Arkin-- recently moved to South Pasadena. Matt attended the Library’s “Woody Guthrie LA:1937-41” Author and Music Night on May 19, along with more than 100 other audience members. While visiting he donated a signed copy of his debut novel “In the Country of the Blind” to the Library. It was published in 2013 after a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $18,000 from more than 200 backers. Copies are available for purchase through Amazon in paperback as well as for Kindle. The copy he donated will be available for checkout from the Library soon.

Matthew Arkin is also an acting teacher, and a recovering attorney. He attributes his skill for crafting dialogue and creating characters to his more than forty-five years of experience on stage, television, and film, and to reading approximately one suspense thriller per week since he was a young child. Adam Belanoff, Executive Producer of TNT’s “Major Crimes” declared “Matthew Arkin introduces America’s next great detective—and we can only hope that Zach Brandis will be solving crimes for decades to come.”

 Matthew made himself available to answer a few questions about his background and  writing career:

Why did you move to South Pasadena?

Why did I move to South Pasadena? The short answer is love. I had a blind date with a woman who lived here, even though I thought she's probably be geographically undesirable. I lived in Sherman Oaks at the time. Our date started with coffee at Buster's and went well enough that we moved on to dinner at Mike and Ann's. Because her cat was sick at the time, and she couldn't stray too far from home, our subsequent dates were all here in town. It wasn't too long before I fell in love with her and South Pas, so when we finally decided we wanted to live together, there was never a question in my mind that it would be here. It's not too far from the parts of LA where most of my work as an actor and teacher takes me, but it feels like another world, with a friendlier atmosphere, and an easier pace.

Did your own life experiences figure into the plot of “In the Country of the Blind”?

The seeds for this story came from several significant events in my own life. My experiences as a refugee from a controlling and dangerous cult figure heavily in the backstory of the victim. The period in my life when I had quit the practice of law in order to pursue acting again, and was struggling to make ends meet as a bartender are also reflected in the story. The victim’s separation from his family for a period is something that I struggled with myself for a time, and Zach struggles with it as well. It was in part trying to find a frame for those struggles, which all coincided, that inspired this story. It’s also part of what fuels Zach’s identification with the victim and drives his somewhat obsessive quest for the truth.

One of my moms, author Barbara Dana, always told me “write what you know,” and that’s what I’ve done in this story. Part of the fun of writing fiction is that you get to jump into the combination playground/mad scientist laboratory in your head and run wild with your own past, mixing in your own imaginings and desired “what ifs” to make things turn out the way you’d like. In a way that is similar to my work as an actor, I get to explore alternative lives, but in writing, I have much more control over where those lives go.

Many people are dying to sit down and write a book, but it’s a daunting task. Tell us about the genesis of “In the Country of the Blind” and how you got it off the ground.

In 1990, shortly after I quit the practice of law, a good friend introduced me to the work of Lawrence Block, and I started burning my way through his books. Then, in 1995, I was heading out on the national tour of a Neil Simon play, and wondering what I was going to be doing with my free days as we travelled the country, doing the show only at night. My then wife had been encouraging me to try my hand at tackling the genre I loved, but like you say, it’s daunting, and there can be a lot of voices in your head saying “You’ll never get this done. It won’t be any good.” But I remembered that my mom had written her first novel while on the first national tour of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. At the same time, I had found Lawrence Block’s “Spider, Spin Me a Web.” So with free time, desire, a history of obsession with the form, I began. There have been hitches and restarts along the way, but it’s been a terrific journey.

I chose to write a detective series in the suspense/mystery/thriller genre because those books have been my passion since I was kid. To me, they allow for the most interesting exploration of the concept of justice. There is an inherent conflict between the individual, with his or her inner voice, and society at large, with its laws and social mores, and it’s fascinating to investigate how that conflict plays out in the execution of justice. Now I’m using my own past as a lawyer, my quitting because I was disillusioned, and my experiences as a victim of cult abuse, mixed in with many other events and themes, to explore that topic even further.

Do you have anything in common with your protagonist, Zach Brandis?

There are a lot of obvious similarities between me and Zach. We were both born in New York City. Zach lived there his entire life, and I lived in and around the city for most of my mine. I’m in Los Angeles now, but I dream of returning, and still think I should be able to vote in the mayoral election, because I’m still a New Yorker. Zach and I both went to Fordham Law School, both practiced law for a time before becoming disillusioned and moving on. But while I had a passion that I returned to, Zach was lost and, at the beginning of “In the Country of the Blind,” he’s trying to find his way. Zach and I are both passionate about beer. We both brew our own when time allows, and we both enjoy cooking as a way to relax, or finding new, out of the way restaurants. We also both have a somewhat complicated relationship with our own spirituality, including our Judaism, and a discomfort with orthodoxy in all its forms.

Zach also comes up on the losing side of most physical confrontations. I’m glad this pattern has never been tested in my own life, but if I suspect if it were, the same would be true for me.

Who are the authors that have influenced or inspired you?

I have always been a fan of the detective series, whether the more traditional PI or cop, like Lucas Davenport, Spenser, and Archie Goodwin, or the non-traditional tarnished knight, such as Travis McGee or Jack Reacher, and from that list, you can probably surmise the authors who are my heroes in the genre. I’ve been making a study of the work of those authors, and others, such as Sue Grafton and Greg Rucka, my entire life. Although I’m sure that readers familiar with them will recognize their influences, I think that they have blended in a unique way in my own work.

Do you have another project in the works?

With the release of “In the Country of the Blind,” I’m hard at work on the next Zach Brandis novel. The working title is “If One of Them is Dead” but I’m not sure if I’m going to stay with that. At the end of Blind, Zach is in a pretty complicated personal space. He knows more about who he is, which is good, but he’s also become acquainted with some of his own darkness. That’s a good thing, in the long run, but it can also be a pretty scary and lonely place for a while. I guess you could say that if the only way out is through, he’s entered that tunnel that takes you through, and he doesn’t yet see the light at the other end. In the next book, that tunnel is going to get even darker as he continues to discover more about who he is at his core.

Posted 6-25-2016

                   Dana Gioia, newly-appointed California Poet Laureate, and South Pasadena resident, appeared for a Library Author Night before an audience of about 150 on March 30 in the Community Room. Dana shared many wonderful poems from throughout his career, with lively anecdotes sprinkled in between. The audience was beyond enthusiastic.

The event was presented by the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and (SPARC) South Pasadena Arts Council. It was the fourth time the Library and the Friends have presented the California Poet Laureate to full house audiences in the last nine years. Previously, Al Young appeared twice with Suezenne Grants Chamber Jazz, and Juan Felipe Herrera (now Poet Laureate of the United States) performed his bilingual poetry magic.
Posted 4-6-2016    ...

The South Pasadena Public Library has added a
newly cast bronze Leo Politi sculpture:
"Sister Reading Book to Brother with Dog
Looking On"
that will henceforth adorn its
Oxley Street entrance between its two main doors.

It was officially unveiled in a brief ceremony on
March 6 at 1:30 p.m. outside the Library's Oxley Street
main entrance. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Senator Carol Liu,
and Mayor Diana Mahmud offered their eloquent remarks.
Council members Robert S. Joe and Richard D. Schneider, M.D.
were also present, along with Ed Pearson, President of the
Library Board of Trustees, and about 20 others.


The sculpture was commissioned from Lester Harries of Sanger, California with funds donated from the Discretionary Funds of Members of the South Pasadena City Council, Ellen & Joe Daigle, and Library Trustee Andy Lipmann. The sculpture installation project is a continuation of the Library's Celebration of the lasting Artistic Legacy of famed California Artist Leo Politi.

Leo Politi (1908-1998), an iconic LA artist and children's book author and illustrator, also created the wonderful mural in the Library Children's Room in 1957. Leo reinvented it for the Library's expansion project in 1982 without asking for a fee. Today, it's the oldest remaining of all of Leo Politi's public murals.

Leo Politi was born in Fresno, California on November 21, 1908. When he was 6 years-old he and his family returned to Northern Italy. From his youngest days Leo was passionate about drawing and when he was only 15 he was awarded a scholarship to study for 6 years at the Royal Palace of Monza, near Milan. Leo returned to Fresno after graduation and began his literary career in 1938 with "Little Pancho", a children's book.

Over the course of the subsequent 58 years Leo Politi achieved worldwide fame as an artist, muralist, author, illustrator and wrote 20 more widely-acclaimed books. In 1950 he was honored by the American Library Association with the Caldecott Medal for "the nation's most distinguished children's picture book." Leo also painted many famous public murals, including those in Downtown Los Angeles' Olvera Street and Chinatown --and his first, in the Children's Room of the South Pasadena Public Library. Leo was accorded many other prestigious accolades during his storied career, including having a public library in his hometown named after him. A park and an elementary school in Los Angeles also bear the Leo Politi ' name. On March 26, 1996 Leo Politi passed away and his importance as an artist has only continued to grow ever since.

(l to r)
Joe Daigle, Senator Carol Liu, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Mayor Diana Mahmud, and Ellen Daigle

Posted 3-24-2016...
South Pasadena is an official Tree City U.S.A. and is nicknamed “The City of Trees.” During the Summer of 2014, author and educator Dr. Matt Ritter of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo conducted a very fascinating, well-attended Author Event in the Community Room based on his book “A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us.” Afterwards he led the audience on a Tree Walk In the Library Park during which he described all 17 tree species that can be found there. The walk concluded at the Library’s magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree that is known as “The Library Tree.” The gigantic tree was planted by Bill Kloezeman, Sr. while South Pasadena’s Carnegie Library was being moved to the center of Library Park from its previous location nearer to Diamond Street.

A Memorial Bench honoring Beverly Engler, Friends Bookstore Co-Founder, was also recently installed overlooking The Library Tree, a spot favored by readers of all ages, children at play, teens hanging out, meditation practitioners, musicians, and many others. The beautiful bench was donated by the Engler Family. So that others can enjoy the Tree Walk and learn more about the trees in the Library Park, 17 small, descriptive signs containing both the botanical and popular names of each tree have just been installed. They were donated by the Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens and use Dr. Ritter’s tree identifications. Dr. Ritter’s Library Park Tree Walk Map will soon be posted on the South Pasadena Public Library and Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library websites.

          For a view of the "The Mighty Library Tree" please click here.
          For a PDF copy of the "Trees of the South Pasadena Library" please click here.
Posted 4-29-2015...................
The South Pasadena Rotary Club and the South Pasadena Public Library proudly continue “The Golden State Collection,” a cooperative project that has greatly expanded the Library’s collection of checkout books on California related subjects. The project partnership has continued for more than 9 years and is responsible for the addition of hundreds of new books to the Library collection.

Each Tuesday for its noon meeting in the Oneonta Church Tower Room, the service club honors its guest speaker by donating a Golden State Collection title to the Library. Each book contains a custom “Golden State Collection” bookplate that the guest speaker signs and then the already-cataloged book goes straight into the library collection. Titles purchased through the years represent a broad spectrum of books for all ages on California culture, history, geography, travel, nature, etc.

All of the Golden State books are added to the library checkout collection and some of them go right into in the front area of the Library.

· LA 2000+ New Architecture in Los Angeles

· Los Angeles Stories: Great Writers on the City

· Weston’s Westons: California and the West

· Palm Springs Modern

· Yosemite: Valley of Thunder

· Hearst Castle

· Missions of the Monterey Bay Area

· Signs from the Heart: California Chicano Murals

· Hollywood Studios

· Mt. Shasta: California’s Mystic Mountain

· Afoot & Afield in Los Angeles County

· California Cowboys

· Women of the Sierra

· Bay Bridge: History and Design of A New Icon

· They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush

· Images of America: San Dimas

· My City, My Los Angeles

· The Natural World of the California Indians

· Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks

· Californian Indian Nights

· Important Bird Areas of California

· The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience

· City of Style: Exploring Los Angeles Fashion from Bohemian to Rock

· Tales and Treasures of California Missions

· Desert Lore of Southern California

· Courthouses of California: An Illustrated History

· The Changing Range of Light: Portraits of Sierra Nevada

· Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty

· Palm Springs Modern

  posted 3-18-2016......

For the month of April, the display case inside the Library main entrance exhibited selected archival materials on airships from the personal collection of Heather Campbell Hinton, a longtime resident of South Pasadena who passed away on February 2, 2016. Dirigibles and blimps are types of airships that can navigate through the air under their own power. Dirigibles are massive structures filled with lighter-than-air gas bordered by rigid metal frames. Blimps are much smaller, are filled with helium, and are collapsible except for their rigid noses. Some of Heather’s collection of photos, posters, books, and more comprise the archival materials that were in the display. One of the photos is of the experimental dirigible of Roy Knabenshue who took brave adventurous folks for rides over the Raymond Hotel in the early 1900s.

Heather Campbell Hinton was born in 1939 in Pensacola, Florida and received a BA in International Relations from USC in 1961, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Heather received her MA from Harvard in 1964 and led two groups of students to the USSR through the Experiment in International Living program. Heather worked at the RAND Corporation as an analyst from 1966 to 1974. In 1974 RAND published Heather’s research work “Controversy in Soviet R&D: The Airship Case Study”.

Heather became a strong advocate for the South Pasadena Senior Center. Her efforts eventually led to the construction of the handicapped access ramp in the South Pasadena Senior Center Activity Room. She was
also an outspoken advocate for the ADA ramp for the Library Community Room that was installed in 2013.

A memorial service in Heather’s honor was held at the South Pasadena Senior Center on Saturday,
April 23rd at 6 pm.

Memorial Service
for Scott Van Sant on Saturday,
April 16 at 2 p.m. in Community Room

Scott Van Sant (1937-2016) was a valuable Library volunteer for 12 years. Starting in 2010 Scott was also a member of the Friends Bookstore desk staff, and he regularly picked up and hauled large book donations to the Library for the Friends. In addition, Scott served with the Friends Holiday Book Sale Committee, and helped price fine books that had been tucked away throughout each year for their annual fundraiser. Scott was also a member of South Pasadena Beautiful for 25 years. In 1980 Scott’s wife Janet became a Founding Board member of SPEF (South Pasadena Educational Foundation) and Scott actively and continually supported the highly successful organization.

Scott Van Sant was born on October 5, 1937 to Jean Scott MacMillan and Benjamin Clarke Van Sant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He had two older siblings, Sandra and Nick, and his fraternal twin Clarke. Scott passed away peacefully on March 21, 2016. He is survived by his brother, Clarke Van Sant, his three children - Toni Clevenger, Michelle Van Sant Chamberlain, and Michael Van Sant, as well as four grandchildren - Kai, Audrey, Caitlin, and Christopher. Scott moved to Altadena at the age of 7 with his mother and siblings. He attended John Muir High School in Pasadena.

Scott and his wife Janet Stephanie Van Sant moved to South Pasadena in 1966 to raise their three children and it would be the place where they chose to live out the rest of their lives. Scott loved his family, the outdoors, skiing, and collecting antique clocks. A public memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 16th at 2 p.m. in the Library Community Room located at 1115 El Centro Street. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to South Pasadena Beautiful, Friends of South Pasadena Library, South Pasadena Educational Foundation, or a charity of the donor’s own choosing.


Jane T. Cavenagh is a very spry 98 year-old who recently retired from the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library's all-volunteer Bookstore after more than 20 years. Jane was on the Library Board of Trustees and served as President for four terms between 1993 and 1998. Jane previously taught for many years at South Pasadena Middle School, South Pasadena High School, Riverside Junior College, and UCLA. She later worked as an administrator for seven junior colleges.

Another great milestone in Jane's remarkable life occurred in 1929 when she was a 14 year- old schoolgirl. She saved a 5 year-old boy from drowning in Pirate's Cove at Laguna Beach. He was walking on the base of a steep cliff that jutted out to the ocean. After he fell, Jane picked him up and a large wave knocked them down, carrying the boy out to sea. Jane rose to her feet, waded 30 feet toward the boy, and was swept off her feet once again by choppy waves which carried the boy even farther out.

Jane at 98 with her medal


Jane at 14 with her heroism medal...
Jane swam to the youngster once again, and grasped him and swam them both back to the base of the cliff, only to have a large wave separate them again. Jane was carried out 25 feet and she saw the boy in the waves 35 feet from her. She swam to him again and carried him to the shore where his mother had fainted. The boy was unconscious, but he recovered. During her act of bravery Jane injured her back and sustained severe cuts. Soon afterwards she was awarded a medal by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and the funds enabled her to later attend college. Jane went on to earn a B.A. and an M.A. at UCLA and was the first woman admitted to Stanford Medical School although she didn't enroll.

Longtime South Pasadena resident Beverly Engler passed away on December 27, with her family nearby, after a long battle with cancer.

Bev and her husband Mark married 57 years ago, beginning their lives together in San Francisco. They moved to South Pasadena with their children Mark, Suzanne, and Marcy in 1966.

Bev was a tireless and enthusiastic volunteer in the community, including serving as President of the Monterey Hills School PTA, a frequent PTA committee member, an active SPEF fundraiser, a Little League concession manager, and a leader within her children's Scout troops.

Bev also co-founded the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library Bookstore, where she devoted thousands of volunteer hours over nearly 30 years. The fundraising auctions and book sales Bev helped establish and manage attracted book collectors throughout the state. She was honored for her service with a Volunteer of the Year award by the California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners.

Bev was an avid reader, an accomplished baker, and an award winning quilter. She also enjoyed playing golf with family and friends at Oakmont Country Club. She discovered a love for travel early in life, visiting Cuba in the 1950s, and traveled to many parts of Europe and Asia with her husband and family. However, she most enjoyed the beach, and it was her annual trips to Kauai with her husband, children, and grandchildren that brought her the greatest joy.

In addition to her husband and children, Bev is survived by her daughter in law Mary, son in laws Hunter and Michael, and grandchildren Jaime, Peter, Kelly, Logan, Shelby, Haley and Whitney.

Donations may be made in her memory to the
Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library/Beverly Engler Memorial Fund.


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is located at 1100 Oxley Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030


* NEW HOURS for Mondays and Thursdays
Approved by the South Pasadena Public Library
Board of Trustees will be in effect
starting on:
Monday, October 31, 2016
  Monday 11:00 a.m.
9:00 p.m.
NEW HOURS * Monday 10:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m.
9:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m.
9:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
NEW HOURS * Thursday 11:00 a.m.
9:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
weekend hours
10:00 a.m.
5:00 p.m.
  1:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m.

Posted 9-28-2016

Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library • 1100 Oxley Street - South Pasadena, CA 91030

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