Long Beach Public Library History and Memories

Long Beach Public Library History

Beginnings            The history of Long Beach Public Library began in 1893 when the Reverend Sidney C. Kendell came to Long Beach as head of the First Congregational Church.   He found the nucleus of a library in the church, consisting of a small collection of miscellaneous books, belonging to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  There was unmistakable evidence that none of the volumes had been opened for years.  Reverend Kendall called a meeting of a number of patriotic citizens, told them what he had found, and urged that steps be taken toward founding a public library and reading room.  From this first meeting the Long Beach Library Association was formally organized.             Local resident J.W. Birt agreed that starting a circulating library in Long Beach […]

Margaret Durnin – Library Friend & Supporter

Favorite Long Beach Public Library Memories  If you’re reading this, chances are that libraries hold a most important place in your heart. Many of you may have worked there, but for some of us they simply are reminders of a favorite childhood activity; or provide a quiet place to study; or they offer computers for school work, or rows of mysteries or biographies.  For others they offer a safe haven after school or from life on the street, or even just a warm hello and a smile.  For Ray Bradbury the library offered a free university, for others a chance to learn English or read the latest news, receive help with homework, find a picture book to share with a little brother. Perhaps that’s why the FRIENDS of the Library […]

Aaron Day – Library Friend & Supporter

Celebrating National Library Week/Month My first experience with a Library began many years ago, when I was in grade school. I was so happy when I was eight years old, and finally able to get a library card. It was a wonderful learning experience. As a teenager, I continued to use the Library, for class assignments, research, and my own personal enjoyment. It was during that period that I began to read and enjoy some of the Classics such as, Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and others. I also enjoyed magazines such as, Popular Science, National Geographic, True Detective, Life, Ebony, and many others. I learned about so many different cultures. Throughout the years, no matter where I have lived, the Public Library has been […]

Helen Webb 1959-1975

I interviewed Helen over the phone in 2017. She was living in San Clemente. This is what she had to tell me. Helen Webb was born in 1919 in Oklahoma and moved to California in 1940 when her husband got a job in one of the war industries in Long Beach.  Helen went to work at the Firestone Tire Company but in 1959 decided to take the library page test along with her son Ralph. Both were hired.  Ralph went on to work at Bret Harte. Inspired by the librarians around him, he decided to become a librarian, earning his library degree in 1962. He later worked as a librarian for the Peace Corps in Venezuela.  Upon returning to the United States, he  followed Connie Johnson, who worked at North, […]

Sylvia Schrubbe/South/Hodges 1964-1980, 1986-1990

I started working at Long Beach Public Library at the Main Library in Lincoln Park in October, 1964. It took 3 interviews before I was hired. Helen Fuller, who was Assistant Librarian and in charge of Children’s Services called me a fourth time and told me the job was mine if I wanted it.  I did!  I was thrilled to finally get a job in a big    library. I had volunteered at my local library in Dominguez, California, on Saturdays shelving books, and filing library cards so I had some experience, but Dominguez Library was very small. During the week, I babysat my three nieces for $15 a week for ten hours a day plus my two children. I thought it would be nice to have a job 8 […]

Jim Jackson – 1965-1985

Compiled by Claudine Burnett, following a conversation with Jim Jackson 12/22/2017   Jim Jackson was head of the Science/Social Science Department at the Main Library for many years.  Jim, the youngest of 7 children, received his degree in Education from Auburn University. In 1956 he left Alabama and began teaching English and History in Tehachapi, California. In 1960 he left and moved to Long Beach to pursue a degree in Library Science at USC. He started at USC  in 1961 and graduated in 1965. For a while he did substitute teaching to support himself, but was later hired by Blanche Collins to be a substitute librarian, without a degree, substituting at Bach, Burnett and Main as a substitute librarian. Upon receiving his degree he became head of the Bret Harte […]

Ruth Brillault 1965-1996

I started at North Branch in 1965 as the Young Adult Librarian. I went to Bach in 1968 as the Branch Librarian for almost 20 years. I was sent to Dana as Branch Librarian in 1988, and retired from Dana in 1996. LBPL was a great place to work. Memories of the Main library Claudine asked me to cook for the Easter brunch held at Main.  She learned I only had a stove because it came with the house!  I never cook, we eat out. Another time Claudine and I ran out of gas after a book meeting and I had to walk with her to a gas station in my high heels. Then there was the time we came out of a book meeting at Main to find that […]

Sue Clay Taylor – 1967-2012

The day my mother suggested I apply for the page position turned out to be the beginning of a very long career with Long Beach Public Library.  I was hired on Nov. 7, 1967, as a part-time page.  I worked mornings, delivering the mail to all departments at Main (carrying an old fashioned mail bag over my shoulder).  I met everybody, went up the inside staircase to take administration their mail. Mrs. Henselman was the city librarian at the time and a great gal she was!  Miss Helen Fuller*, head of Children’s Services and assistant city librarian, was my mentor…and what a mentor she was!  She suggested that I take the clerk’s test that was coming up soon.  I did and was soon placed at Los Altos (before El Dorado […]

Doris Newell Soriano 1968-1996

I spent 29 years working for the Long Beach Public Library, and I enjoyed my time there.  I came to LBPL because my mother was a college roommate of Alice Appell, and I wanted to move to California after I spent the required 2 years working in Iowa (Fellowship for Iowa Native who would go back to Iowa for 2 years.  I actually spent 4 years) I was hired as a Young Adult Librarian and worked At Los Altos for Mildred Snider when Los Altos was the busiest Branch. My second job was Branch Librarian at Bret Harte followed by doing that job at North, Bay Shore, Brewitt, and Dana.  I was also a Department Librarian at Main Library for the Science and Technology Department.  When Prop 13 was passed […]

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 […]