Library Program Notes

This October, Platt Library will be participating in California Stories: Reading The Grapes of Wrath, an unprecedented statewide reading initiative of the California Council for the Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book.

Learning Through Relating

This program is designed to bridge California's unique cultural divides by inspiring California communities to read John Steinbeck's classic novel.

50 percent of our state's residents hail from another state or a foreign country. Similarly, over 32 percent of all Los Angeles County residents are foreign-born. Such diversity enriches our communities, but can also create cultural misconceptions and misunderstandings—themes deeply explored in The Grapes of Wrath.

By discovering parallels between the Joad family's struggles in California as migrant farm laborers…and by sharing their own stories relative to this one tale…Californians can see their stories reflected in the stories of others and find common ground for understanding and trust. 

At least that's the theory being tested, and throughout October, LAPL is supporting the program with book discussions, film presentations, and theatrical and musical performances. You can explore the complete “experience” by visiting LAPL's Grapes of Wrath website at http://www.


The Ballad of Tom Joad: Woody Guthrie and the Grapes of Wrath

Platt Library is hosting a special program of Woody Guthrie's Dustbowl ballads, performed by Los Angeles folk singer Ross Altman, on Monday, October 28 at 7:00 pm.

Guthrie's songs, including “The Ballad of Tom Joad,” were written, Guthrie has said, so that “People back in Oklahoma who didn't have $2 to buy the book or even 50 cents to see the movie would find out what Tom Joad did and what Preacher Casey said.”

“The Dust Bowl balladeer,” as Guthrie was called, created the perfect soundtrack to Steinbeck's novel, and Ross Altman brings those songs and stories to life in all their profound simplicity. Altman is a former professor of English and speech who “left teaching for the stage, only to turn the stage into a classroom.” As a college teacher he directed theater productions of The Grapes of Wrath based on his own script. As a folksinger he continues in the tradition of Woody Guthrie to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” 

Summer Reading Program Pops Up a Winner!

Clockwise, from back row left, Children's Librarian Vicki Migliori, Madeline Bookcharacter, Grandma Judie, and a host of participants at a pajama story hour.

After ten weeks, the sign-ups for this year's Summer Reading Club totaled 1,315—way up from last year's 884 total.

Children who participated received “Pop-Up For Reading” folders and weekly prize incentives, such as discount coupons at Quizno's and free passes to Skateland in Northridge. This is an instance, however, where excellent program pre-planning, co-ordination, and enthusiasm counted for at least as much as hand-outs and prizes.

This year, the children were treated to an expanded schedule of events—18 free programs in all. Wildlife Wendy entertained families with her talking parrots. Franklin Haynes’ Marionettes performed trapeze acts and other amazing stunts. The finale was a Magic Show with popular magician Tony Daniels. But in addition, Children's Librarian Nancy Brennan and I collaborated with Mid-Valley's Children's Librarians Madeline Sible and Barbara Mattison to offer afternoon storytime and craft activities in both branches. Throughout the summer, Platt Branch also offered preschool story times with Grandma Judie (Mount), our grand teacher turned GAB hostess with the mostest. Pajama story hour delighted everyone with surprise visits from bookcharacters Madeline and Angelina Ballerina (courtesy of Barnes & Noble), and our Platt kids’ book club kept participants jumping with discussions, quizzes, and games.

Big thanks are due all round—to LAPL Children's Services, the performers, the sponsors, the volunteers, the Staff, the kids, the parents who recognized a great program when they saw one (and us librarians)—for a wonderful experience. Due to the enthusiastic response, the library has decided to continue the basic reading program year round. More on this in the next newsletter. Right now we're celebrating an unqualified success!

Vicki Migliori, Children's Librarian


Memories & Art Displays

Many library visitors recalled their own early years at Canoga Park High as they looked at the contents of the library display cabinet in August. The shelves were filled with wonderful photo replicas of people and places in the history of Canoga Park back when it was known as the town of Owensmouth. Our thanks to the Canoga-Owensmouth Historical Society, and especially to President Jean Jauck and her husband, Jim, for such an intriguing collection. Visit the museum and its dedicated volunteers at 7248 Owensmouth for even more treats.

Our September display expanded to include library walls as well as the cabinet. Members of the West Valley Camera Club displayed their considerable talents in a series of exceptional photographs artfully arranged on a variety of library walls. They topped it off with an exhibit of vintage cameras loaned by Cris McCormick, Steve Simon, and Danny Strauss.  

This visual treat was coordinated and mounted by Jim Casey, Cris McCormick, and Helen Jacobs.

Millie Berger, Past President


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