Posts tagged ‘library’

Interview with Helen Ball – Friends of the Torrance Library

TPL 2Listen to an interview with Helen Ball, President of the Friends of the Torrance Library. Most public libraries have Friends or similar support groups. These nonprofit organizations play a critical role in fundraising for library collections, programs, and new library services.

In this interview, hear about how our local Friends group gets donations, the programs they support, and the different volunteer opportunities available.

You can support the Friends of the Torrance Library by:

  • becoming a member
  • volunteering your time
  • donating books
  • purchasing books at a book sale or from the ongoing display at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library

Mark your calendar for the next upcoming Friends booksale on October 16 & 17!

August 27, 2009 at 6:27 am Leave a comment

Water’s for fighting about!

CB055213“Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting about!” —attributed to Mark Twain

Water is in short supply for many cities, farms and businesses in California, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Drought conditions and environmental problems are reducing water deliveries to key regions of California. These regions will continue to see shortages even when normal rainfall returns. As demand for water continues to grow, Californians and their respective communities will need to educate themselves on the key issues involved in the water debate.

To learn more about our current situation and to plan for the future, please join us for a free screening of the documentary, “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library on Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Immediately following the film, Charles Gale, Metropolitan Water District, will address the audience on ways Californians can insure a continued supply of this precious resource.

And just in case you think that California’s problems are unique, NPR’s Morning Edition offered a feature on competing interests for water from Colorado’s Yampa River, “Yampa River Runs With Possibility And Protest. ”

For more information on water issues see our previous posting on June 15, 2009, “Are We Running Dry?”

June 23, 2009 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Libraries are busier than ever!

1st floor remodel 018There has been a lot of press in the past six months about how libraries are busier during periods of economic downturn.  It is certainly true for Torrance Public Library.  Library visits are up, as well as overall circulation of library materials.  In a time of belt-tightening, libraries provide cheap and free entertainment, as well as serve as a haven for the unemployed. With our thousands of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other resources and programs, there’s no better time to check us out!

Here’s a link to a feature that appeared recently on the Today show – Libraries Lend a Hand in Tough Times

June 19, 2009 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

Get Back to Your Roots

Not long ago, the Daily Link blog featured, a genealogy database where one can search for census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, and more!

Daily Link wrote:

“Although not free, the site offers a 14-day free trial, and memberships at several levels, starting at $12.95 a month.”

We have news for you! The Torrance Public Library offers access to at no charge to you at all of our six library locations. (This is the only database that the Library subscribes to where remote access from home or office is not offered due to licensing restrictions.)

The Ancestry Library Edition, under the name Ancestry Plus, has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930, the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps, American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes), Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes), The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630, Social Security Death Index, WWI Draft Registration Cards, Federal Slave Narratives, and a strong Civil War collection.

Daily Link also mentions the South Bay Cities Genealogical Society. The Torrance Public Library is home to the Society’s book and periodicals collections, and volunteers are at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to assist you with your genealogical research!

Boomers – check out the Library’s tips on how to start researching your family history: Family History Research Guide

Genealogy is a fascinating pursuit and there’s no time like the present to delve into your family tree. Who knows – maybe you’ll discover you are related to George Washington, George Gershwin, or young Boomer George Clooney!

April 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm Leave a comment

25 Things about the Torrance Public Library

Mrs. Isabel Henderson, first librarian in Torrance

Mrs. Isabel Henderson, first librarian in Torrance

1. The first book bought for the library was The Turn of the Road. The book cost $1.50 and according to the reviews was “the story of a singer, of her absorption in her art, and the strong-willed, self-reliant man who would marry her.”  The book was bought in 1913.

2. Early hours of operation for the first library, the parlor of Mrs. Henderson’s home, were Tuesdays and Thursdays from two to four and every evening from seven to nine.

3. There are only two Torrance libraries named after people. The Henderson Branch Library is named after Isabel Henderson, the first Torrance Librarian. The Katy Geissert Civic Center Library is named after (you guessed it!) Katy Geissert, first female Torrance city councilperson, first female mayor, and dedicated library supporter.

4. The first international language books in the Torrance Public Library were written in French.

5. The Torrance Public Library was an independent library for less than a year before it joined the new Los Angeles County Public Library System in 1914. The library again became independent after a vote in 1967.

6. Mrs. Henderson’s daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Jamison, followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming the second Torrance librarian after the retirement of her mother.

7. The Torrance Public Library never had a card catalog (except briefly in Mrs. Henderson’s time). One found books by looking in catalog books, the  catalog information was migrated to microfilm, then to “dumb” terminals, and finally to the web-based catalog we have today.

8. The first Torrance library was built on the corner of Cravens and Post in 1936. The building was part of a new civic center and was a WPA project. The building survives today as the Torrance Historical Society Museum.

9. In 1937, the first branch library to open was in Walteria. The branch began with 500 books to “meet the reading interest of the community.”

10. Torrance had an unique relationship with Los Angeles County. While the city was responsible for building and maintaining the libraries, the County was responsible for runnng, staffing, and stocking the libraries.

11. The people of Torrance voted on a bond of $2,350,000 to create an independent library system in 1967. That bond covered the cost of building the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, the Southeast Library, and furnishing all the libraries with books. Compare that with the remodel of the first floor of the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, which cost $1.8 million.

12. At one time you could borrow art work from the library for three weeks just like books!

13. The cost to run the Torrance Library in 1935 was $4,189.62. Today’s library budget is approximately $7.2 million!

14. There are only two pieces of public art in the Torrance libraries. One is the mural on the front of the North Torrance Library depicting literacy and writing. The other is the 356 pound copper sculpture on the main staircase in the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library. The Friends of the Torrance Public Library sponsored a contest to “design an art object specifically for the library.” After screening by art professors at California State University – Long Beach, four finalists submitted models. The winner, LuAnn Boylan, received $2,000 for her work.

15. The first branch of the new Torrance Public Library to open after the 1967 bond measure was, appropriately enough, the Henderson Branch, on April 15, 1968. All branches were closed that year while the county moved out and the city moved in.

16. In 1948, the Walteria Branch Library was moved to Walteria Park and housed in a World War II surplus dispensary the city acquired for $500.

17. A 1914 headline from the Torrance Herald screamed, “Library Well Underway for its Imposing $30,000 Home.” A permanent home for the library was not built for another 22 years.

18. In 1924, after ten years as a county library, the Torrance branch had grown to 1,440 card members and 3,096 books. Today the library has over half a million books and 142,000 registered card members.

19. In 1935, Councilman William T. Klusman made the motion to adopt city ordinance #267, establishing a “free municipal library.” Klusman was the only socialist mayor of Torrance but was removed after less than a year in office for “lack of dignity, secretiveness, untruthfulness, harboring destructive policies, creating class prejudice, and undermining the morale of city employees.”

20. 1935 also saw the establishment of the Library Board of Trustees. Not one of the most active city committees, there are no records of actions or recommendations from 1935 to 1958.

21. The Henderson Branch and Walteria Branch libraries are built on the same plan. The city saved architectural fees by using the Henderson plans to replace the Walteria library.

22. In 1967, Russell West became the first City Librarian of the independent Torrance Public Library. Russell West not only had to plan the main library and organize a new city department, but he also had to buy all the books in the system. Remember that while Torrance owned the buildings and furniture, the county owned the books, which they took with them. Russell West was such a good “bookman” he saved over $18,000. When Mayor Isen asked how he saved so much of the book budget, Mr. West responded “Savvy shopping, your Honor.”

23. The Katy Geissert Civic Center Library faces Torrance Boulevard and not the parking lot because the city wanted to make sure the library had a Torrance Boulevard address and “should be compatible with the growth and development of City Hall and other buildings facing Torrance Boulevard.”

24. Original plans for the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library did not call for a basement. The basement was added by the intersession of Mr. West and the Friends of the Torrance Public Library. The library was built to hold about 225,000 books. There are approximately 353,500 material items in the library today. The recently completed remodel of all three floors added much additional space.

25. One of the more unusual programs to entice young people into the library was to check out a kitten. Children could check out and play with a kitten for twenty minutes on the library lawn.

NOTE: Content for this post was contributed by Michael George, Reference Librarian.

April 8, 2009 at 7:33 am 5 comments

Welcome to Torrance Public Library LINK Logs!


Welcome to LINK Logs!

The Torrance Public Library is pleased to launch our new blog, LINK Logs. LINK Logs grew out of a campaign spearheaded by California State Librarian, Susan Hildreth, to provide enhanced library services for Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946-1964). Torrance Public Library was chosen as one of twenty-one libraries throughout the state to help individuals with “transforming life after 50.”

Library staff conducted a community assessment and determined that Torrance Baby Boomers are educated and intensely busy, continuing to work (rather than retire), and socialize through church, their place of business, at the gym or sports center, or through the activities of their children (e.g., school, scouts, and sports). Torrance’s Baby Boomers stressed that convenience and flexibility are prime decision factors for when and how they spend their time.

A key finding from the needs assessment was that while respondents had a postive view of the City and Library services, they were unaware that many of the programs and services they desire are already available.

Torrance Public Library Lifelong Information Networks and Knowledge (LINK) is a grant-funded project designed to link local Baby Boomers with community services and programs, and provide increased access to the wealth of educational, informational, cultural, and recreational opportunities in the South Bay.

LINK Logs is intended to serve as a forum for public communication and as a resource filled with fun, interesting, and we hope, helpful information for Baby Boomers and others interested in learning about and connecting with their community.

We encourage you to make use of LINK Logs – log on, comment – and help us make this space meaningful for you!

– Paula Weiner, City Librarian

April 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm 3 comments



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