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“The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips,” detective fiction author Raymond Chandler wrote in his 1943 novel “The Lady in the Lake.”

But the Santa Monica Library wants to have no silence concerning “The Lady in the Lake,” which has been selected as this year’s Santa Monica Citywide Reads book.

The classic mystery concerns detective Phillip Marlowe investigating the disappearance of a doctor’s wife in 1940s Los Angeles.

“The Lady in the Lake” is set partially in “Bay City,” a location that should seem familiar to residents; it’s Chandler’s stand-in for Santa Monica.

Although Santa Monica residents usually select the book in an online poll, Chandler was preselected by the library due to his ties to the Los Angeles area, said Robert Graves, chair of the Citywide Reads selection committee.

Residents were asked to choose a Chandler novel for the program, and “The Lady in the Lake” proved popular with patrons. The committee concurred.

“We wanted to go with a classic this year because it’s our 10th anniversary,” Graves said.

Since 2003, Santa Monica Citywide Reads has invited the community to read and discuss the same novel at free discussion groups led by volunteers, guest speakers and panels at libraries, bookstores and coffeehouses.

The new program is scheduled to begin in late February 2012, and will continue through the end of March, Graves said.

For more information about Citywide Reads, visit www.smpl.org, or call (310) 458-8600.

— Colin Newton

SMC

SMC awarded $5.8 million grant

To help move underrepresented minority students into the sometimes neglected fields of science, engineering and math, Santa Monica College, along with UCLA, has been awarded a $5.8 million grant.

The five-year Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to Hispanic serving institutions across the country.

The SMC-UCLA grant was one of 34 grants awarded to colleges across the state.

“This grant will provide a golden opportunity to get these students excited about the sciences and math, and into high-paying and prestigious careers,” said Laurie McQuay-Peninger, SMC director of grants.

Funding from the grant will be used to raise awareness of career opportunities available in the sciences, offer special counseling and workshops for students, update equipment and instruments at SMC, and offer summer bridge programs at UCLA.

“Hopefully, that will encourage students who have not considered science as a career option to consider science,” McQuay-Peninger said.

Environmental science and green technology was cited as a growing field for the future that SMC hoped to put students into, she added. SMC will work closely with UCLA to see students through the transfer process and into BA programs.

SMC also plans to develop a STEM Scholars Program that will enroll and support up to 100 students per year, she said.

“Spring 2012 will be the launch date where students get involved,” she said.

— CN

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