Internet Librarian Rough Cut: It’s All About Learning

Here are my raw notes from:

It’s All About Learning – John F. Szabo, Los Angeles Public Library

Feel free to let me know whether you find these raw notes useful.


Belief – Public Libraries as Engines of Development

We have things to learn from Developing World libraries

LAPL – Committed to Lifelong Learning for ALL – Need to leverage our trust.

Library accounts for 50% of all web traffic to City of Los Angeles

Major Inititives

Immingrant integration/citizenship

Health information

Financial literacy

Workforce development

Veteran centers (Maybe AK should try?)


All 73 LAPL locations have “Citizenship Corners” with staff trained by USCIS

“Your path to US Citizenship begins at the LAPL”

800,000 aliens in Los Angeles have a legal path to citizenship — library is merely a facilitator

Over 14,000 people have taken their first steps with over 20 community partners


Combo of health and health insurance info dissemination in cooperation with partners

Library helped identify areas of health disparity.


900+ online courses, including Accounting, speed reading, a few MOOCs on collections.

Reported on OCLC study indicating only about 3% of people participate in MOOCs.

See slide on roles for libraries MOOCs

LA runs Career Online High School – currently funded privately, it’s an accredited high school degree.

Had conflict with School District, but there’s enough dropouts for everyone. So far two people have graduated. 53 are enrolled.

FULL STEAM AHEAD – Science Technology Engineering and Art & Math

Workshops and badges

Summer programs include meals and eye exams


Mostly classes


Digitizing, build exhibits, helping students re-use,

Sheet music collection has been digitized. Next up – Menu collection – will be tied into food insecurity and food deserts

Talk of Major Programming Initiatives including The Odyssey project with participation from Homer Simpson  – examined links to material using Odyssey

These projects require new core competences – adult basic education, etc

Measure L provided a steady revenue stream for the Library. Passed March 2011. Library has met all promises made in exchange for increased funding.

Question – How did you manage resistance to change?

Answer – Questions from individuals and unions. Mostly see and accept need for systemwide initiative. Important to have good communication with union.

Career High School is contracted out.


Personal Note:

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so it was heart warming to hear that the system now has stable funding and is doing the kind of education it is doing. When I visited Los Angeles back in 2006, I was positively DELIGHTED that the bar that my dad spent so much time getting drunk at had be razed and replaced with a library! I wish it had been there was I was growing up.

As it was, the Lake View Terrace branch was an important refuge for me in 2006. My mom was dying in the hospital and my dad spent most of his time drunk. When I was unable to bear being either with my comatose mother or drunk father, it was a huge relieve to go to the Lake View Terrace branch and take a breather before going to be of further service to my family. Thank you, LAPL!

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One Response to Internet Librarian Rough Cut: It’s All About Learning

  1. Joel says:

    That’s quite a story…I grew up in Burbank and used to sub at the new Lakeview Terrace Branch, so I know the bar you’re talking about. I used to take visitors there after I reenacted the Rodney King chase.

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