As a student at St. Monica High School, I had my first introduction to our library. Before that, I had relied on the small Brentwood branch of the LA library system, and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and breadth of offerings in the SMPL’s Main branch. I spent many hours browsing, researching papers for school and just enjoying being around a collection of books. My mother worked in the UCLA library system, and I was grateful for the expertise of the librarians at my disposal in Santa Monica.

When I moved from West LA to Santa Monica in 1979, I continued to enjoy borrowing books from the library and eventually discovered many of the wonderful programming and events that it offered. One of the librarians recruited me to volunteer at some special events and to act as a discussion leader for the Santa Monica Reads program. This gave me the chance to explore some of the branch locations and see the valuable work they did for schoolchildren and the rest of the community.

Obviously we are living in a different world with Covid, and while there are many City programs that have been canceled or curtailed, perhaps we can use this reopening as an opportunity to reexamine how the library can best serve our community and future generations who will feel the impact in the future of decisions that are made today. Let’s do all we can to save our libraries.

Susan Stangl, MD, is a Santa Monica Resident. Email or contact them on twitter: @SaveSMLibrary1 for more information.