Long Beach Public Library History and Memories

Steve Quinney – 1997-to date

The Library and the Union (IAM) The IAM involvement really stemmed from a group of Branch Librarian DLI’s pushing for equality with Main DLII’s. A group of Branch Librarians around 2005 felt that we had at least as much responsibility (being in charge of stand-alone buildings without security) as the Main Department Heads. I think it was mainly Karen Cressy, Sue Taylor, Karol Seehaus, Lynda Fritz and myself (I may be missing a few). We put together a lot of documentation and statistics that were presented to Human Resources. Eventually we won a compromise where Librarians at bigger / busier Branches (Eldo, North, Harte, Dana…I think!) were promoted to DLII (possibly 2006). As a result of all our meetings, Karol and I realized that Library staff needed better representation and presence with the IAM. Library involvement with the Union had been very minimal up to that point. We both became Union Stewards and started having Labor / Management meetings to discuss and resolve staff issues. When the IAM contract came up for negotiation in 2006/2007, Karol and I joined the Contract Negotiation Committee with all the other represented City Departments. I believe that was the first time Library staff was represented at the negotiation table. Karol in particular made a huge impression with both the IAM and the City. Karol’s tenacity, passion and persuasive arguments won the respect of both sides of the table. Karol served on at least one more round of negotiations (2009 and 2011) before she retired in 2012. and I’ve served on the two most recent rounds of negotiations (2013 and 2016). Regular Labor / Management meetings continue and have resulted in many issues, big and small, getting resolved.

Jennifer Songster – 1999-to date

It’s funny, even after almost 20 years (!!!), it seems like I don’t have any interesting memories of any length! How can that be? I do remember my first children’s department program, which was a Summer Reading Club program the year the theme was Ancient Egypt. Never having worked with a large group of children before, I had no idea that they required so much attention! The program was a craft – making a mummy casing and decorating it with hieroglyphics. The preparation, getting the supplies and making the sample, wasn’t that big of a deal, but I think 40 or 50 kids showed up and we all went down to the auditorium lobby. Each of the kids had two pieces of butcher paper that we stapled together and then they decorated with markers. Once it was decorated they stuffed it with crumpled up newspaper. I think the entire children’s department staff was down there out of necessity; I don’t remember how the children’s reference desk was covered, but it must have been. Also, a film crew came, I think from Japan, to copy some Miss Universe photos and they wanted to shoot a short video of being handed a video tape from the Long Beach collection. For what purpose, I don’t know, but we went down to the Petroleum/Long Beach Collection Storage Room and they set up outside the door. I was supposed to come out and hand the tape to one of them and say something like “here it is.” We had to do a few takes, because the person in charge was underwhelmed with my acting abilities. He finally gave up and his disappointment in my performance was very clear! He didn’t actually say anything, […]

Pam Carlson – 2000-to date

Memories of Lynda Fritz          Lynda Fritz was my first supervisor when I arrived at the Los Altos Neighborhood Library. She was a hoot – plain spoken and completely devoted to the patrons. She lived across the street from Minnie Gant Elementary School just a few blocks from the library and walked to work. Almost every morning before her shift began, she would greet the kids heading off to school. On rainy days, she would put on her “hip waders” and splash her way to work. Lynda loved books. She could name every title in a mystery series if anyone asked her. She wasn’t much on cooking but owned many of them. Her house was filled with piles of books with aisles in-between. She was from St. Louis and dreamed of going back there to visit. In the meantime, Lynda purchased just about every travel book published for the library. She remembered the bad budget days and hated to withdraw books from the collection. As a result, book storage expanded to the office and several shelves in the workroom. Due to arthritis, it was difficult for Lynda to sit so the library carpenter built her a custom standing desk top. She was the official greeter of the library and knew almost everyone by name. The one event she never missed was the Kentucky Derby – that was the only day she might take a longer lunch. Favorite holiday? Halloween, naturally. What else could it be for a devout cat lover? Many in the neighborhood came to her retirement party and had an opportunity to tell her brother Richard what an amazing sister he had. To this day, patrons and the staff who worked with her […]

Janet Katz – 2001-to date

Converting from DYNIX to HORIZON   The Library has had several computer systems.  Janet Katz shared this memory, from 2003 or 2004. Verse written by Laurel Prysiazny who oversaw the conversion.   SOMEWHERE OVER HORIZON to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Someday after migration- Someday soon- We will all be so happy- We’ll sing a cheerful tune- Somewhere over Horizon Books are due- And the holds that you place, They will really come to you. Where cheerful patrons pay their fines- And no one covers books with lines- That’s how it will be. Someday after migration- Someday soon- We will all be so happy- We’ll sing a cheerful tune. Where time-out software really works, And kicks off patrons who are jerks That’s how it will be. Where no one steals DVDs And all the patrons all say “please” That’s how it will be. Where City Council gives us cash And no computers ever crash That’s how it will be. (SING THIS VERSE WITH FEELING) Somewhere after Horizon- Someday soon- We will all be so happy- We’ll sing a cheerful tune…

Staff Caricatures

  Long Beach Public Library was fortunate to have a talented artist working at the library in the 1990s—Rick Ewing.  Rick was actually a clerk, but during breaks and lunch hours he would sketch library staff (with their permission!).  I’m not going to identify who is who (except for the drawing of Rick) in these 1995 illustrations—I’ll leave it up to you to decide. My thanks to Evelyn Matzat who provided them.