Cordelia Howard – 1969-1998, City Librarian 1983-1998

Long Beach Public Library Foundation Memories of the founding 1994-98 Some background: In 1983, after 14 years with Long Beach Public Library, I was appointed Director of Library Services. At that time the department was made up of the Long Beach Public Library (Main Library and 11 branch libraries) and the Historic Sites (Rancho Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos). The Telecommunications Bureau which managed the City’s cable franchise and cable TV channel joined the department in 1986. In 1994 the Historic Sites were transferred to Parks, Recreation and Marine because it would give them access to more bond money than the DOLS could provide. The Telecommunications Bureau moved to the General Services Department in 1996 so, during the 15 years I was Director; I had the library alone for only […]

Kathy Proffit 1969-1979

How I became a librarian I graduated from college in 1967 with a major in English. My first job was with Continental Airlines as a stewardess. I didn’t like it and I wanted to quit, but I had no idea what else to do. My father, who always wanted me to be a teacher or a librarian, told me that if I wanted to go to library school he would pay for it. Since teaching didn’t interest me, I took him up on his offer of library school. As it turned out, a library career was the perfect fit for me and I worked as a librarian for almost 40 years. I quit the airlines and was accepted into USC Library School in 1968 where our one “computer” class was […]

Barbara Quinn – 1970-1979

How I Became A Librarian I grew up in an Iowa town of 800 people who were all Catholic (except for two people) and attended the local Catholic school that housed the elementary grades and high school in the same building. There were 18 students in my senior class with some of them coming from the surrounding smaller farming communities. The youngest of four children, I was encouraged to graduate from college (both sisters married before they completed college and my brother did the same.) Having spent much of my youth in 4-H Clubs (cooking and nutrition, home décor, and sewing) I followed the footsteps of my sister Kate and majored in Home Economics in college, graduating from the College of St. Benedict, St Joseph, MN, in 1962. During my […]

Judi Cameron – 1977-1997

I started working at the library in November 1977. The new building had opened that spring and was still new enough to be having tours to show off its modern facilities. Having been a stay-at-home mom, I had no work experience to declare but had been volunteering in junior highs for several years. I listed the libraries I’d helped in but thought my tutoring work wouldn’t be of interest. During my interview I happened to mention having helped in the class for disabled students. Jean Buckman’s eyes lit up and she said she had just the position for me – as page in Handicapped Services. I knew of this section of the library as my mother had been getting Talking Books from them at the temporary Main at Ximeno and […]

Michael Martin – 1980-to date

Life as a Library Page I started as a library page on November 1, 1980.   It was my first job, and I remember being very nervous.  I had just graduated from CSULB about six months earlier with a BA in Liberal Studies but had no idea where to go from there.  I thought I would become a teacher, but couldn’t decide if that was really what I wanted, I had taken several courses at CSULB, including Storytelling and Survey of Children’s Literature.  So I decided to apply as a library page because I enjoyed spending time in the college library. At that time the library page was a classified employee, so I took the civil service test and barely passed with a score of 74—70 is passing. When I started Jean […]

Debbie Johnson – 1980-2017

The library decided to convert the Card Catalog into digital records shortly after I started working for the library.  This was long before computers became a part of our daily lives.  Using OCLC, The Ohio College Library Center, staff members Kay Shadwell, Joan Anderson, Kathy O’Rear, Charlotte Fox, myself and other staff transferred the holdings of thousands of materials that were in the library collection to the computer.  This was done as overtime and was done on weekends and took several months.  The City also contracted out for additional clerical help from The Kelly Girls, which was a very popular Temporary Agency at the time. This was all done in Technical Services, which is now called, Automated Services.  I worked in Technical Services for 17 years before being transferred to The […]

Gale (Waterman) Tweedt – 1982-to date

            I saw an advertisement in a newspaper in 1982 for Substitute Librarians. The ad showed the salary was $10 an hour. Since my job as a school librarian at Lennox High School was being eliminated due to budget cuts, I thought it would be fun to be a substitute librarian while I was teaching high school. It was only after I received my first paycheck that I learned that I was not getting $10 an hour. When I checked with our payroll clerk, I was told that $10 was the middle of the range. Oh, well…            My very first day working at LBPL was at Los Altos in August 1982. For the next 5 ½ years, I subbed at every branch except Mark Twain. In 1984, I was […]

Hilde Lu – 1982-2006

My years at LBPL were divided between the Alamitos Branch and the Main Library. I worked as a children’s librarian at the Alamitos Branch and as an adult librarian in the Arts and Music Department, and later at the Reference Desk at Main. I always enjoyed interacting with our patrons – young and old – and colleagues. When I started at Alamitos, I tried to reach out to schools and youth groups in the neighborhood. I contacted Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, who then came to the library on a regular basis. The upstairs staff room with kitchen lent itself to a special program with the girl scouts: recreating Marcia Brown’s Stone Soup. The girls had fun taking turns reading the book aloud while the soup, started with just well-scrubbed […]

Stace Aspey – 1982-to date

One of my favorite memories is of the old Carnegie Library downtown—the 2nd one that was renovated in 1937 after the 1st one was damaged in the 1933 earthquake. It was the 1960s, I was a music-loving teen, and I went there to check out record albums. The music department was downstairs, which was really more of a basement. There was little natural light, a musty smell, and the albums were shelved upright on metal shelves that rattled a little when touched or brushed against. The whole place felt apart from the many rooms of books overhead, like a secret archive below the Vatican, and I loved going there. Record albums were pretty inexpensive back then and the more I listened to the more I bought for my personal record collection, which grew […]

Debi Gurley Vilander – 1986-to date

  I started at LBPL the first time in 1986 for 9 months on the suggestion from Terry Brand. Terry Brand was a Library employee and a longtime friend and mother to one of my best friends growing up. She suggested that it would be a great place for me to work between traveling gigs. I was and am a traveler of the world and at that time working for the library as a Page (a page puts the books back on the shelves). It was easy to work with an unpredictable schedule and also the chance to work with an eclectic group of people. The library employed diverse people with interesting backgrounds. After I stopped traveling and moving back to the USA from Sweden, Terry again suggested I apply to […]