Reserve the Ides of March (that's Wednesday, March 15) for An Evening with Alan SitomerAlan Sitomer

Our March General Meeting program is a must for teachers, teens, YA librarians, literacy activists, and anyone with a young adult in the family. Author and educator Alan Lawrence Sitomer has important insights to share with them all.

A teacher at Lynwood High School, a playwright, a screenwriter, and a self-confessed greeting card author, Mr. Sitomer wrote the popular YA novel, The Hoopster, and will give us an advance look at Hip-Hop High School, the second novel in his trilogy set in LA's inner city. He co-authored Hip-Hop Poetry and the Classics, a seminal academic study of current “street lit.”  Even his study guides have received rave reviews from literary critics, and his primary focus will be on his use of contemporary and classical literature to motivate seemingly indifferent students.

A shining advertisement for USC's teaching program, Mr. Sitomer was named, in 2003, California Literacy's Teacher of the Year for his prodigious efforts to promote literacy among inner-city teens and help other teachers duplicate his successes. Most recently he received the Southland Council Teachers of English 2004 Award for Classroom Excellence. He holds a Master's in Cross-Cultural Language Arts Education and is also a professor at Loyola Marymount University. (If anyone asks, he'll be happy to explain how one can teach high school English and university-level courses simultaneously.)

The reason you shouldn't miss this program, however, is that on top of all his academic credentials, Alan Sitomer is one of the most upbeat, personable educational speakers you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. He takes his self-ordained mission to “inspire, educate, brighten, and delight the lives of others through the written and spoken word” so seriously that you can't help catching his enthusiasm and viewing the literacy crusade through a lighter, more hopeful lens.

The Friends General Meeting will precede the program, beginning at 6:30 pm. The program starts at 7:00 pm, and as usual, there will be refreshments and informal discussion following Mr. Sitomer's presentation. We'll also have his most recent books on hand for purchase and signing.

Your Donated Books Benefit Young Readers in the Philippines

Children in Davao, a region in the southern part of the Philippines near Mindanao, are enjoying books from the Friends of the Platt Library Bookstore. And therein lies a heartwarming success story.

Some 7 years ago, Rosita Lopez Turovitz started coming into the Bookstore and purchasing twenty to thirty children's books at a time. The children in the Davao region did not have a library, she told Bookstore volunteers, so she was doing what she could to make good books available to them.

Originally, Rosita sent the books to her nephew, who set up a table and a few chairs outside the local market. He housed the collection in boxes that could be moved inside each evening—or when the weather was bad. Over the last seven years, Rosita has continued to send books regularly each month (from picture books for preschoolers to chapter books, encyclopedias, and reference books for older children), and her nephew oversaw the little library.

Rosita also accumulated her own funds for a permanent facility. This past July 2005, the Rosita Lopez Turovitz Reading Center in Davao was dedicated in her honor. A lovely ceremony was held. Rosita brought pictures to the Bookstore to show us what had happened to our books. All the books on the shelves, she said, were from the Platt Friends Bookstore.

A very attractive building, the Reading Center was built with the approximately $10,000 Rosita donated. It has a full time librarian: a senior citizen paid by the Davao City Junior Chamber of Commerce. Plans are already under way to expand the facility. One of the local businesses will fund the addition of a computer center where children will be taught the latest technology.

The Friends volunteers are very proud our Bookstore is a source for such a worthy project. We're also delighted to bring this story to Friends members and to thank the community that donated the books that sit on the shelves that Rosita built.

 If you, as a Bookstore patron, are involved in similar projects that utilize our Bookstore's resources, please come by and share your project with us.

Harriet Strauss, Co-Bookstore Volunteer Coordinator

Info-Hungry Voters Well Fed

Chair of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters Speakers Bureau, Ellen Pangarliotas (center) chats with Friends Publicity Chair Carol Roseman and Program Chair Phil Binderman after our Special Election Ballot Issues Review in October. Always a popular event, this Review generated lots of healthy debate and a hefty run on the refreshment table.

Thanks to Our Hospitable Friends

Friends of the Platt Library have continued to make our programs and Board meetings complete with their delicious refreshments for the first half of our 2005–2006 year. And there were a lot of programs and meetings to cover already.

Many “Thanks!” go to Millie Berger, Pam Bieber, Elaine Corman, Frona DeCovnick, Annie Haas, Ellie Haney, Therese Hearn, Eileen O'Neill, Nancy Reeve, Carol Roseman, and Sue Strickland. Also deeply appreciated are Warren Bromund, Stan DeCovnick, Terry Haney, Shel Schuster, and John Strickland for the manpower they provided in setting up the physical environment for these functions.

As of January 2006, Mary Ann Ostrom, our 1st Vice President, will be overseeing the coming activities.

Harriet Strauss, Acting Hospitality Chair for Paula Russo

Improving Friendly Communications

Contacting Friends Board members, signing up for projects, passing along suggestions, and expressing Library concerns has just become easier. Our Webmaster, David Perrell, has upgraded our system so that you only have to remember one address:

This takes you to a list of current officers and committee chairs, including the Senior Librarian. There, you can simply click on the individual or committee you wish to contact, type your message in the pop-up form, and press send. Your message will be immediately forwarded to their current address.

Calling All Friends!

We need to update the Friends’ roster of Special Volunteer Resources before the Friends Board can plan any more events that require arts & crafts and related organizational skills.

Can you or anyone you know be called upon to…

If so, contact Elaine Corman ASAP. Not to volunteer right now. Just to indicate a willingness to be invited to participate in future Friends projects.

The Friends of the Platt Library Newsletter is produced and maintained by Hearn/Perrell Art Associates. Editor: Therese Hearn
Artwork, photos and information are copyrighted by their respective Authors, the Friends of the Platt Library, and/or Hearn/Perrell Art Associates and may not be reprinted without permission.
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