The big news at the Los Angeles Public Library in 2015 is winning the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor that a public library and museum can receive. This award recognizes and honors the Library’s programs, services, resources and especially the staff for their commitment to serving millions of Angelenos who use our 73 branches and Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. At the Encino-Tarzana Branch we share in that commitment to serving our community. This includes working hard to make sure that the branch has books, DVDs and other popular items on the shelves, as well as providing programs that our patrons will enjoy. This year we presented numerous programs for adults, teens and children, covering a wide range of areas of interest, from entertainment (magic shows for children) to cultural (history of the Mexican rebozo) to crafty (teen shirt making for teens), many of them generously funded by the Friends of the Encino-Tarzana Public Library.
We were lucky not to have any major facility or grounds problems in 2015, but we did make some repairs and improvements, such as adding an Early Learning Area for children and families in our children’s section, featuring a puppet stage with 20 puppets (provided by the Friends); and we now have a Homework Helper in our Student Zone, who is available four days a week to assist children and teens with their studies and help them use our numerous resources.
We also have added a self-checkout machine for patrons’ use, and, though it might not be evident to the public, the Library has updated our catalog and loan system, making getting materials into patrons’ hands easier and faster.
If the reading room looks brighter, it is because we refreshed over fifty lights that illuminate the stacks; and because we have added four very friendly, smiling, hard-working people to our staff.
As always, we continue to be one of the busiest branches. Patrons continue to borrow materials at a higher rate here than almost all the other branches. With support from the Friends, who volunteer their valuable time to raise money for the branch, we are able to purchase extra copies of the books our patrons want as well as new titles that we could not otherwise afford. Friends money also enables us to present more programs, purchase furniture for the reading room, equipment for the work room, a large rug for story time and provide refreshments at our programs.
2015 winds down with the Library making some gains and continuing to strengthen and evolve. Our budget is a little bigger. The Library continues to hire to replace lost positions. Our eMedia collection continues to grow. We have added many online resources to our collection. It is my hope that the Library continues this positive trend in 2016 and the Encino and Tarzana communities continue to use their local branch as a source for learning and entertainment, as a place to meet and gather, and to look upon us as a valuable community resource.