My daughter Riley, 3.5 years old, might be the youngest kid to visit all of the Los Angeles Public Library LAPL’s 73 locations! We did it! It only took us two and a half years! She was barely 12 months old when we started in the Spring of 2017.
Riley first visited Branch 01 Benjamin Franklin and 00 Central Library in April of 2017 in a baby carrier, not talking and not walking. . . and she’s now running around, checking out her own books with her own library card, and using complete sentences to tell stories at Silverlake Branch 72!
Visiting all of our city’s libraries made us love Los Angeles even more. It made us see how connected we are to each person who lives in our city, in every neighborhood. Visiting other public libraries – such as LA County Libraries (Avalon, La Verne) and libraries in other cities and states (Edgartown MA, Seattle WA) made us appreciate access to welcoming public spaces wherever we travel. One day I hope Riley and I visit libraries all over the world.
Over the past 2.5 years, I was pleasantly reminded how many children’s books exist on our planet. It is so exciting that we’ve really only just started to explore children’s literature together. Our LAPL journey might technically be over but we will still be visiting many of our local branches – and we will get to discover so many more books together. What’s even better is that Riley will be reading to me one day! She’s only just started preschool, so I have to be patient.
The biggest challenge of our LAPL numerical journey was the driving and traffic. . . due to the fact that Los Angeles is a huge, sprawling city without a train that connects all of the LAPL branches from San Pedro 09 up to Sylmar 54 out to Platt 65 all the way to El Sereno 21 and back out to the Palisades 15. But it was worth every distance we covered. Audiobooks and books on CD help during long drives as well. . .
I highly recommend doing a fun journey like this with your loved ones. Go visit the local libraries in your area! Or museums! Or public parks! There are endless opportunities out there to connect with people in your community.
Thank you so much, LAPL. Your staff, librarians, volunteers and events are truly what make Los Angeles a very magical place. I feel very fortunate to know so many of you. I am so thankful you are all part of Riley’s life now and that you have all helped introduce her to so many stories! When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Riley did say this week, librarian! So there’s that. Mission, complete.