Want Equal Access to High-profile Authors and Cutting-edge Cultural Events? Join us June 26 at 7 pm.

Platt Branch and its Friends have joined forces with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to help the Foundation explore ways to make the arts & idea programs it sponsors more accessible to branch patrons.

On June 26, as a pilot program at Platt, the Library Foundation will present the controversial political strategist, Robert Shrum, whose memoir, No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner, rolls off Simon & Schuster's presses June 1.

Although known for losing presidential elections, from the 1970's through 2004, Bob Shrum led the rise of political consultants, wrote brilliant speeches, and in the words of Joe Klein, was “…probably the alpha-Dem strategist these days [2002].” Whatever your opinion of his candidates, his account of how he promoted them is high-end insider information. And this opportunity to hear it first, here, from him, couldn't occur without the Foundation's ability to get a major publisher to include Platt Branch in a major book tour.

Imagine the same immediacy with your favorite author's next release. It's an intriguing prospect that needs a lot of patron input and fine-tuning. Don't miss this chance to help it happen.

From left, Frona DeCovnick and Deborah Smith inspect the first Books For Babies kit materials. (If you'd like to see them, look in Platt's entry lobby display case.)

Friends' Books For Babies Project Takes Off

In February, our Books For Babies Project Coordinator, Frona DeCovnick, presented the first 125 introduction-to-reading kits to West Hills Hospital. She is providing additional kits monthly during our 6-month trial. As of May 1, the Maternal/Child Health Care Unit has given kits to 180 budding bibliophiles, and Deborah Smith, the unit's Clinical Coordinator, told Frona that—unanimously—parents have been delighted by this addition to their new baby gift basket. Looks like we have a real winner here!

Ellen Demsky (center, with camera), flanked by Sue Strickland (left) and Annie Haas.

Picture Perfect!

At our February General Meeting, over 85 Friends and other members of the community received a mini-lesson in the use of their digital cameras from professional photographer Ellen Demsky.

Ellen began her presentation with an introduction to the digital camera and explained how it differs from a film camera. The audience then had the opportunity to ask questions and was totally absorbed in the topic! There seemed to be as many different cameras as there were people, and no two cameras (as with people) were the same. This not being my bag, I was free to observe and was pleased to see people helping each other take pictures as Ellen circulated the room, offering assistance to as many as possible. An added plus was an outstanding display of her students' work, including photos done by Friends members John Strickland and Frona DeCovnick.

The success of this particular program wasn't anticipated. The day following the presentation, a caller to the Bookstore wanted to know when the next session of lessons was going to be given at the library! The caller was referred to the OASIS program at Pierce College, where Ellen conducts digital photography classes for beginning and intermediate students.

My thanks to Stan DeCovnick, Phil Binderman and John Strickland for their assistance in setting up. A giant thanks to Carol Roseman for her fantastic job of publicity. And not least, to Lynn Durbin and her hospitality crew for providing such tempting treats. Thank you, all.

Sue Strickland, Program Chair

Re: Book Sales & E-mails

Many, many members have contacted us, asking why we can't go back to regular book sales. Pure and simple, we no longer have the space to store a sufficient number of books to hold a Super Sale. The situation isn't simple, however. The last thing anyone wants is to curtail our book donors' generous donations. Our Bookstore's success depends on culling large quantities of quality books. So sale lovers have good reason to wonder—what are we doing to make the overflow available to Platt's Friends and other patrons before shipping it off simply for lack of space?

Three things, actually. We frequently discount special items in the Bookstore to make room for new selections. Occasionally, on Saturdays, we have put a cartful of books on sale in the lobby outside the Bookstore. Recently, as an experiment, we filled a table and another cart with additional selections, put them outside in the rotunda, and declared our entire inventory on sale. We sold a fair number of books, which relieved our space problem temporarily. BUT, we feel this isn't really fair to Friends members because we could not give them advance notice of expanded selections and bargains. Unfortunately, we still can't predict storage overflows more than a week in advance.

So WE are asking YOU to help us give Friends at least a brief advance heads-up when books will be available on sale. How can you do this? If you will give us your e-mail address (see the President's Message, page 2), we will e-mail you as soon as we know ourselves. That is simple.  And just as we avoid sending unnecessary snail-mail, we won't burden you with unwanted e-mails.

We have heard your concerns. We haven't yet found a way that optimally works both to the benefit of Friends members and book processing and sales…but we are trying hard.

Millie Berger, Corresponding Secretary

May 21 Election Results

The elected Friends of the Platt Library officers for the 2007–2008 term are:



Sharon Schuster

First Vice President (Fundraising)


Millie Berger

Second Vice President (Membership)


Ruth Bromund

Recording Secretary


Freya Maneki

Corresponding Secretary


Annie Haas



Terry Haney

The Friends of the Platt Library Newsletter is produced and maintained by Hearn/Perrell Art Associates. Editor: Therese Hearn
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