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 a very special place for me. Over the past several decades, I have found my way to an unbelievable number of Libraries in the Southern California area. One of my favorite Libraries is the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL).
When I began searching my father’s Family History years ago, I found the Genealogy section at the Main LBPL an excellent place to do research. I have been able to locate ten generations of my Day ancestors. No, not all at the Library, but, I have had tremendous success there. The shelves contain the histories and stories of our past generations, just waiting to be located, and explored.
With the aid of Support Groups, the LBPL ranks among the top within Southern California. These Support Groups include; The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library, The Questing Heirs Genealogical Society, The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, and The African-American Heritage Society of Long Beach. I am proud to be a supporter of each of these organizations.
Memories Through the Years
1990 – It was in 1990 that I saw First Lady Barbara Bush on a television show. She was at the Dana Branch Library in Long Beach, California, reaching out for Volunteer Literacy Tutors. I called the library and volunteered for the Long Beach Literacy Program at the Long Beach Public Library, and became a Volunteer Literacy Tutor. As a result, in 1992, I received two letters of commendation from ‘First Lady Barbara Bush’ for my volunteer work as a literacy tutor.
I eventually joined The Board of Directors of the ‘Friends of the Long Beach Public Library.’ It was also a wonderful experience to serve on the Advisory Board of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.
It was always such a wonderful time during the month of April as we celebrated “National Library Week.” Long Beach extends the celebration to – “National Library Week/Month.”
There are so many wonderful programs and projects happening at the twelve Long Beach libraries, during the year. Maybe someday it will be – “National Library Week/Month/Year” – (SMILES).
Junior Library Volunteers, 1995
In 1995 – the Friends’ President, Margaret Durnin, and I co-founded ‘The Community Outreach Committee,’ and “The Junior Friends of the Long Beach Public Library.” I served as Chairperson of these two groups. During the following years, we encouraged over 300 students to volunteer for the Long Beach Public Library. These Junior Friends, volunteered at the various Libraries for many projects during the years.
In 1996 – “Junior Friends” members, Boramy Sun, and in 1999 – Ricardo Soto, both received the ‘Marty Ferguson Volunteer of the Year Award’ for the 18 and under students – from the City of Long Beach. Also, in 1999, for the 19 and over Volunteers, I was honored to receive the ‘Mary Dell Butler Volunteer of the Year Award’ on behalf of the Long Beach Public Library, from the City of Long Beach.
In early 1997 – Indira Hale Tucker, listened to Library Services Director Cordelia Howard report to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors on the drastic cuts in the library’s book budget—from $1.2 MILLION in 1993 to UNDER $700,000 at the time. As a result, almost no books in specialized areas such as African American History or Culture, would be purchased. Indira came up with an idea of launching a community group devoted to raising money for African American books for Burnett Branch Library. Burnett Librarian Mary Donberg was enthusiastic about the project. Next, Indira approached Doris Topsy-Elvord, Vice Mayor of the City of Long Beach, who responded, “How can I help?”
Aaron Day & Indira Hale Tucker
Together with fifty founding members, Indira and Doris, began the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB). The membership spans the continent from Long Beach to Washington, D.C. to Houston, Texas. Book and video donations came from not only Long Beach and Los Angeles, but also Oregon, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Arizona as well. The partnership with Burnett Library has produced the AFRICAN AMERICAN RESOURCE AREA, with a wonderful collection of books. AAHS-LB celebrates Black Achievement as inspiration for all Americans.
In 2004 – The Genealogy Department was moved to a new location, on the first floor at the Main Library. Two very important support groups for the library co-hosted a reception of the grand opening.
At Genealogy Section dedication, 2004 – Aaron Day, Claudine Burnett, John McCoy, Laurel Prysiazny, Indira Hale Tucker, Eleanore Schmidt
* The Questing Heirs Genealogical Society (QHGS) was formed in 1969, and celebrated its 35-year anniversary. The group is promoting its latest Genealogy Collection. It is entitled “The Questing Heirs Honor/Memorial Books Collection.”
* The African American Genealogical Council of Long Beach will be celebrating its 3rd year of formation. It offers classes and tours throughout Southern California. The group operates under the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB). The group is promoting its latest Genealogy Collection. It is entitled “The Roots Collection of African American Genealogy.”
Members and friends are asked to consider donating a book, or books in honor or memory of someone, to one, or both of the collections. A bookplate will be added to the book with; name of collection, name of donor, and name of person being honored.
In 2007 – the AAHS-LB published the first book about the Black community in Long Beach. The title is ‘THE HERITAGE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN LONG BEACH: OVER 100 YEARS, editors: Aaron L. Day and Indira Hale Tucker. Claudine Burnett did the Foreword for this book. Claudine, and various Long Beach Public Library and staff members also compiled the early Census Reports that are located in the book.
In 2011 – The Black Authors Festival Day in Long Beach was held. This was the third annual event, and was in celebration of National Library Month. The program featured over 20 authors from Long Beach, and the surrounding areas – (Book-signings & Storytelling). The Authors partnered with the NAACP Long Beach Branch, The 100 Black Men of Long Beach, Inc., The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library, The Long Beach Public Library Foundation (LBROB), and other Organizations, to support and promote – ‘Long Beach Reads One Book.’ 2011 was the 10th Anniversary of Long Beach Reads One Book – “Listening Is An Act of Love” by David Isay, was the selected book.
Aaron & Ernest McBride Jr.
In 2017 – The Long Beach Public Library was selected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as a recipient of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. The award, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums recognizes institutions for their commitment to servicing the local community.
The Long Beach Public Library was one of 10 recipients for the 2017 award, selected from a group of 30 finalists. Awards were presented to the winners at an event in Washington, D.C.
In 2018 – The Long Beach Civic Center Rebuild Project, which began in 2017, is going well. In 2019, we are looking forward to a new Main Library, New City Hall, and other New Buildings within the area. We are so proud of the City of Long Beach, California.
Aaron L. Day was selected to be the Editor of the School Newspaper, his Junior and Senior Years. He was also the co-editor of the Senior Yearbook during his last year (1957). This was the last graduating class of an all-Black School. He enjoyed helping to document the past history of the school. Day graduated from East High School, where he measured in Business. He also graduated from the Dayton Technical Institute, – (IBM Business Diploma). Day graduated from the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where he received an A.A. Degree in Accounting. He also received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Phoenix. He has spent most of his adult life working in Accounting, Volunteering in the Community, and promoting the study of African American History. He served as Supervisor in three of the Companies that he worked for, and was the first African American Male to ever hold that position in those companies.
Day began taking Genealogy and History Classes at the National Archives, Long Beach City College, Questing Heirs Genealogical Society, the LDS, the Los Angeles Central Library, and the Southern California Genealogical Society. He learned how to promote and preserve African American History Achievement and Culture, expand public awareness of these contributions as inspiration for all Americans, and promote African American Genealogical Research, and History throughout the world. During the past 15 years, Day has spent time teaching Genealogy, Research, and Family History to African American Societies, Genealogy Societies, Middle Schools, High Schools, Universities, Libraries, and Senior Centers. He has published a total of six books on African American History and Genealogy (one a best-seller). Three of these books have information about Carter G. Woodson and The Association For The Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). He published four award-winning articles, 20 additional articles, and a total of 15 poems. Three of his award-winning articles highlights and promotes the work of Carter G. Woodson and ASALH. Day contributed the Biography of Mary Dell Butler to the “African American National Biography,” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Published by Oxford University Press.
Some Awards and Honors Day has received are: two letters of commendation from First Lady Barbara Bush, for his volunteer work as a Tutor for Literacy. He is also the first and only, African American Male to receive the “Mary Dell Butler Volunteer Of The Year Award” from the City of Long Beach, California for his work with the Libraries and the various Communities. He received the “Community Pride Award” from Congresswoman Juanita Millender McDonald for Community Service. From the NAACP Long Beach Branch, Day has received, the “Presidents Award,” the “Men of Valor Award,” and the “Shoulders We Stand On Award.”