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    •    S.P. Rotary Club donates books to "Golden State Collection"    
S.P. Author/Actor Greg Sestero
         donates award-winning book
New L.A. Guidebook Spotlights Library's Leo Politi Mural
       Library Park Guided Tree Walk is Established

    •    Heather Hinton -
In Memory   
    •   Scott Van Sant  - In Memory 
    •   Beverly Engler - In Memory

•  Friends Newsletter

Annual Report  2015                                                      
        updated 05-5-2017




The 20th


MAY 14, 2017
4:00 p.m.
Read more

Rafael Rishik - violin, Tereza Stanislav - violin,
Robert Brophy - viola, Andrew Shulman - cello


Read more



                                   The following youth programs have been funded in full or in part by the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library


Click here for
program details

PDF page

If fractions have you flummoxed, algebra makes you allergic, history has you hysterical, or long division leaves you dazzled, the South Pasadena Public Library can help you with its online tutoring service.

From any Web-enabled computer in the library or at home, a student can click on the Live Homework Help link on the library's Web site at www.cityofsouthpasadena.us/library and engage in controlled online chat with a math, English, science or social studies expert. Students and tutors can also work on an interactive white board, share educational Web sites and send files back and forth for a rewarding learning exchange

Funded by grants from the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and the Library Services and Technology Act, the Live Homework Help from Tutor.com has assisted nearly 4,000 South Pasadena students over the past few years.

                COMING - May 6, 2017
                   On Saturday, May 6th, the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room will spring to life once more as ‘The Carnegie Stage,’ one of the premier showcases of the Eclectic Music Festival.

The 9th Annual South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival will present dozens of diverse, high quality musical acts at free venues all around town. Four stellar musical performances will be presented in the Library’s beautiful, historic Community Room, located in a lovely park, and constructed in 1907 as South Pasadena’s first Carnegie Library. The room retains its original hand painted beam ceilings, ornate chandeliers, leaded glass windows, and the exterior artwork is by Merrell Gage, perhaps the greatest American sculptor of the 20th Century. Musical styles offered on the Eclectic Carnegie Stage will range from Folk to Jazz, and Rock to Bluegrass. For more music on the Eclectic Music Festival: www.theeclecticrocks.com.

5:00 p.m. - Calvin Joe
Calvin Joe and the Orange Grove Rangers will perform a lively set embracing Folk Rock, Gospel Blues and Bluegrass. The group, led by South Pasadena's Calvin Joe, features the soulful singer songwriter’s renditions of his own evocative original tunes and covers of pop songs, with the OGR band’s organic acoustic instrumentation. The roots of founding band members originate from being the regular Hoot musicians at the popular Urban Homestead Hootenanny events, located in the famous Dervaes family micro farm in Pasadena. The featured musicians will be Calvin Joe, Jimi Yamagishi, Kevin Curtin, Karl Lee and Esther Kim. The Orange Grove Rangers will also be joined on stage by special guest Route 66/ Metro Da Vinci artist, Pete Morris, from Brilliant Strings, who will be performing live watercolor paintings during the concert set.
6:15 p.m. - Elliott Caine
—Elliott Caine Quintet will offer an exciting set of straight ahead and Latin “Blue Note” style jazz. Trumpeter and composer, Elliott Caine has performed and/or recorded with Teddy Edwards, Barbara Morrison, Wycliff Jean, Beck, and The Beastie Boys, among many others. Elliott's original compositions have been used for numerous film and television productions, nationally and internationally. His CD, "Le Supercool", reached #14 on the jazz radio charts in early 2001. Elliott was also an integral part of the Latin-ska group, Jump With Joey for four tours of Japan and the USA, and performed at Capitol Records' 50th Anniversary celebration. A South Pasadena regarded resident, Elliott also performs regularly at The York, a highly regarded pub and music venue in the heart of Highland Park’s most walkable district.
7:30 p.m.—Rick Shea & Band

Rick Shea & Band-- Rick cut his teeth in the bars and honky-tonks of San Bernardino where he grew up. He's since gone on to build a solid career as a solo artist, singer, guitarist and songwriter. Shea is equally at home with an acoustic guitar and a set of ballads and stories, or with his worn old Telecaster burning through a set of his own songs and a few honky-tonk standards. With nine critically acclaimed albums, he’s performed all over Southern California, across the country, and recently in the U.K., Ireland, and Hawaii.

Rick’s songs reflect the folk, country, rock and Mexican influences he grew up with. As a songwriter Shea lets the songs find their own settings. “Starting out you might be hearing a song one way and then when it’s done realize it’s about something else altogether.” And on his songwriting influences Shea says, “When I was younger, Merle Haggard cast a long shadow, but since then Dave Alvin, Jim Ringer and a lot of other music has found its way in.” “Playing live shows is what I've always done, from the bars, honky-tonks and coffeehouses I started in, to the shows I do now. It’s a chance for me to meet people and see them connect with the songs.” None other than GRAMMY winner Dave Alvin exults, "An incredible and intelligent musician and songwriter with an angelic voice that I'd kill for."

8:45 p.m.

Kiki Ebsenand the
Joni Mitchell Project

Kiki Ebsen’s Joni Mitchell Project—In 1968, Kiki Ebsen discovered the magic of Joni Mitchell on “Song to a Seagull.” With each subsequent release including “Clouds,” “Ladies of the Canyon,” and on into “Blue,” Kiki discovered the magic of Mitchell’s lyrics, amazing arrangements, and solid song stylings. Ebsen created The Joni Mitchell Project” as an opportunity for professional, Joni-inspired musicians to join her in declaring “respect and unending appreciation for her gifts.” Concert repertoire includes selections from nine of Mitchell’s albums, from “Song to a Seagull” through “Wild Things Run Fast” (1968–1976). Joining vocalist/keyboardist Kiki are Grant Geissman (guitars), Terry Wollman (guitars), Steven Lawrence (bass) and Matt Starr (drums).

Ebsen is perhaps best known as a dynamic singer, songwriter, musician and artist whose vast musical range combines elements of jazz, pop, classical and rock. Whether singing standards from the Great American songbook, classic rock covers, or her own original compositions, Kiki has a style that is uniquely her own. For over 20 years, Ebsen was heralded as a talented vocalist and gifted keyboard player, supporting Grammy-winning and platinum-selling artists, including Christopher Cross, Al Jarreau, Tracy Chapman, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs.

The Tolucan Times calls Kiki Ebsen’s Joni Mitchell Project “a fresh take on classic sounds… She and her band really brought Mitchell’s music to fresh life.” Hollywood 360 said, “With her classy, elegant presence and hauntingly earthy vocals, Ebsen’s delivery of Mitchell’s songs was genius”.

The free ‘Carnegie Stage’ concert is able to be presented because of the partnership between the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, The Eclectic Friends of the Arts of South Pasadena, The City of South Pasadena, The Rotary Club of South Pasadena, and the Woman’s Club of South Pasadena. Special thanks to Brad Colerick & Ximena Dussan/DeepMix, Tim Carruth, Steve Feinberg, Dawn Lee Wakefield, Nancy Lem, Jeff Burke, 210eastsound!, and The South Pasadena Review.

The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street.
Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. No tickets or reservations are necessary,
but seating is limited and “festival style” (first come, first seated).
Refreshments will be provided and CDs will be available for purchase.


Heather Rim, the chief marketing and communications officer for AECOM, recently served as Guest Speaker for one of the Rotary Club of South Pasadena’s lunchtime meetings. Heather is also the daughter of Bill Reese, former South Pasadena Police Chief and longtime Rotarian. Heather’s presentation focused on her employer, AECOM, a world-wide Fortune 500 Company that includes architects, engineers, designers, scientists, and management professionals. In 2016, AECOM, along with Turner Construction, was selected by the Hollywood Park Land Company to oversee construction of the 70,000 seat stadium in Inglewood for the Los Angeles Rams. It will be part of a 4 million square foot mixed-use development that also will include a performance venue, retail, housing, office, and residential space. Heather also serves on the boards of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Downtown Women’s Center and the University of Southern California Center for Public Relations.
For more than 10 years the Rotary Club of South Pasadena and the South Pasadena Public Library have partnered to continually build “The Golden State Collection,” has greatly expanded the Library’s offering of checkout books on California related subjects. The partnership is responsible for adding about 500 new books to the Library collection on California.

Each Tuesday for its noon meeting in the Oneonta Tower Room, the Rotary Club honors its guest speaker by donating a Golden State Collection title to the Library. Each book contains a custom “Golden State Collection” bookplate that the guest speaker signs and then the already-cataloged book goes almost immediately into the library collection. Titles purchased through the years represent a broad spectrum of books for all ages on California’s culture, geography, arts, history, places to visit, nature, and much more.

All of the Golden State books are added to the library checkout collection and some of them first go into a display in the front area of the Library.
New titles are added regularly.
The following is a list of the titles purchased recently:

111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss—
(One of the 111 is the Leo Politi Mural at the South Pasadena Public Library)
California: The Magic Island
California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints, and History
Clifton’s and Clifford Clinton: A Cafeteria and a Crusader
Corita Kent: Art and Soul, The Biography
Empire: photographs and Essays (About the Inland Empire)
From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles
Images of America: Benicia
Images of America: Downtown Stockton
Images of America: Fullerton
Images of America: Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Images of America: Lancaster
Images of America: Mariposa County
Images of America: Redding
King Sequoia: The Tree That Inspired a Nation
Sam Maloof: 36 Views of a Master Woodworker
Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles, 1925-1965
Walking In Beauty: Growing Up with the Yurok Indians
Welcome Home, Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats
When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors
Wild Suburbia: Learning to Live with Native Plants (by Barbara Eisenstein of South Pasadena)
  Posted 03-23-2017...  
Greg Sestero of South Pasadena is the author, along with Tom Bissell,
of the 2013 award-winning book
The nonfiction memoir is Greg's spirited recounting of the wild adventures he experienced while working with Tommy Wiseau, a mysterious self-made man who somehow came up with $6 million to spend making and promoting the notorious film, THE ROOM. Even though THE ROOM found a huge, devoted cult audience, it has been called by critics "gloriously awful" and "possibly one of the worst films ever made".
On the other hand Sestero's book, THE DISASTER ARTIST about the making of the movie, has garnered glowing reviews from prestigious publications around the country, including THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW. It has also been accorded 491 ratings by readers on Amazon and averages five stars, the absolute highest composite rating possible. The recorded version of THE DISASTER ARTIST narrated by Greg was chosen as a finalist for the 2015 Audie Awards for Best Humor Audiobook. It was also highly praised by THE HUFFINGTON POST and PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY.
THE DISASTER ARTIST is currently being made into a major motion picture entitled THE MASTERPIECE, directed by and starring James Franco. The cast also features Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Sharon Stone, Bryan Cranston, and Allison Brie -- who attended South Pasadena High School before starring in numerous films and on TV's MAD MEN from 2007-2015.













New Los Angeles Guidebook Spotlights Library’s Leo Politi Mural
by Steve Fjeldsted, Director of Library, Arts, and Culture

A steady stream of guidebooks for LA sightseers is published regularly by a variety of authors, obviously comprised of newcomers and out-of-staters who don’t seem very familiar with the city. Their descriptions too often recycle the same old recommended spots on their very well-beaten paths. The Hollywood Sign, the La Brea Tar Pits, Olvera Street, and Universal Studios are just a few examples of the points of interest that can be found time after time in such visitors guides to the City of Angels.
A just-released book “111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss” is authored by Laurel Moglen and Julia Posey, both Angelenos. They declare that they intend to lead readers “beyond the Red Carpet reputation and Tinseltown trappings” to many of the city’s most interesting and unexpected cultural opportunities. Their lively, colorful book presents one page of text and a companion photo of each unusual destination taken by San Diego photographer Lyudmilla Zotova. It’s a breezy, fun armchair tour that will lead the curious to a wealth of mostly unusual, sometimes quirky, places to visit in LA. These spots range from Philippe’s, home of the first French Dip sandwich, to the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The maps at the back of the book pinpoint each selected location. Not surprisingly, the majority can be found in Downtown LA or on the Westside, but quite a few are nearby, such as Cindy’s Diner in Eagle Rock and Judson Studio in Highland Park. Pasadena offers five of the locations, one of which, the Mount Wilson Observatory, is actually located well outside the city limits. Among those usual Pasadena points of interest not listed are the Gamble House, Old Town, The Wrigley Mansion, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Caltech. Instead, it’s the Bunny Museum, the Front Porch Homestead, and the Pasadena City College Swap Meet. However, the Norton Simon Museum is included. It should also be noted that the #78 Pasadena Model Railroad Club is actually in the City of Los Angeles.
Only one library location was selected by the authors as one of the 111 hand-picked ‘can’t miss’ spots and it’s not to be found in San Marino, Cerritos, or Downtown LA. That lone library selection is also the only South Pasadena spot spotlighted in the book. The Farmer’s Market, The Bissell House, the Adobe Flores, and the Garfield House are not to be found, not are any of the other 20 Cultural Heritage Landmarks besides the Library (although the Trina Turk outlet store at 1030 Mission St. is briefly cited in one of the captions).
The South Pasadena Public Library is the proud home of #59 of the “111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss”, the untitled mural by Leo Politi in the Children’s Room. It’s the earliest remaining Leo public mural by Leo Politi
The mural was first created in 1957 after Politi was already a famed children’s book author and illustrator. Politi went on to paint other famous murals in LA on Olvera Street, in Chinatown, and in Downtown.

What’s surprising is that the Politi mural at the South Pasadena Library varies greatly from the one Leo originally painted for the Library. Leo was asked to touch up the mural for the Library’s 1982 grand opening of its expansion project. He generously accepted the project without asking for a fee. Initially expecting to only be spending only a couple of hours, he ended up devoting weeks and completely transforming the artwork.
The differences between the 1957 and 1982 murals are remarkable. The earliest version depicts two minimalistic young figures reading with a cat by an accommodating tree. The update adds a third youthful figure with a dog replacing the cat, and more contemporary flowing lines and brighter green hues. In both paintings birds are chirping merrily in the tree’s branches. In January of 2016, a newly cast bronze Politi sculpture entitled “Sister Reading to Brother with Dog Looking On” was unveiled in front of the Library’s main entrance on the Oxley Street side of Library Park during a ceremony which capped off several well attended ceremonies in the Community Room also featuring an exhibit of Leo Politi original paintings.

Using funds from the Rotary Club of South Pasadena,
the Library has ordered a checkout copy of “111 Places in Los Angeles
That You Must Not Miss” for its Golden State Collection.
The copy of the book donated by the authors will become part of the
permanent Local History reference collection.
Posted 11-16-2016.....        .....
South Pasadena is an official Tree City U.S.A. and is nicknamed “The City of Trees.” During the Summer of 2014, author and educator Dr. Matt Ritter of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo conducted a very fascinating, well-attended Author Event in the Community Room based on his book “A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us.” Afterwards he led the audience on a Tree Walk In the Library Park during which he described all 17 tree species that can be found there. The walk concluded at the Library’s magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree that is known as “The Library Tree.” The gigantic tree was planted by Bill Kloezeman, Sr. while South Pasadena’s Carnegie Library was being moved to the center of Library Park from its previous location nearer to Diamond Street.

A Memorial Bench honoring Beverly Engler, Friends Bookstore Co-Founder, was also recently installed overlooking The Library Tree, a spot favored by readers of all ages, children at play, teens hanging out, meditation practitioners, musicians, and many others. The beautiful bench was donated by the Engler Family. So that others can enjoy the Tree Walk and learn more about the trees in the Library Park, 17 small, descriptive signs containing both the botanical and popular names of each tree have just been installed. They were donated by the Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens and use Dr. Ritter’s tree identifications. Dr. Ritter’s Library Park Tree Walk Map will soon be posted on the South Pasadena Public Library and Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library websites.

          For a view of the "The Mighty Library Tree" please click here.
          For a PDF copy of the "Trees of the South Pasadena Library" please click here.
Posted 4-29-2015...................

For the month of April, the display case inside the Library main entrance exhibited selected archival materials on airships from the personal collection of Heather Campbell Hinton, a longtime resident of South Pasadena who passed away on February 2, 2016. Dirigibles and blimps are types of airships that can navigate through the air under their own power. Dirigibles are massive structures filled with lighter-than-air gas bordered by rigid metal frames. Blimps are much smaller, are filled with helium, and are collapsible except for their rigid noses. Some of Heather’s collection of photos, posters, books, and more comprise the archival materials that were in the display. One of the photos is of the experimental dirigible of Roy Knabenshue who took brave adventurous folks for rides over the Raymond Hotel in the early 1900s.

Heather Campbell Hinton was born in 1939 in Pensacola, Florida and received a BA in International Relations from USC in 1961, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Heather received her MA from Harvard in 1964 and led two groups of students to the USSR through the Experiment in International Living program. Heather worked at the RAND Corporation as an analyst from 1966 to 1974. In 1974 RAND published Heather’s research work “Controversy in Soviet R&D: The Airship Case Study”.

Heather became a strong advocate for the South Pasadena Senior Center. Her efforts eventually led to the construction of the handicapped access ramp in the South Pasadena Senior Center Activity Room. She was
also an outspoken advocate for the ADA ramp for the Library Community Room that was installed in 2013.

A memorial service in Heather’s honor was held at the South Pasadena Senior Center on Saturday,
April 23rd at 6 pm.

Memorial Service
for Scott Van Sant on Saturday,
April 16 at 2 p.m. in Community Room

Scott Van Sant (1937-2016) was a valuable Library volunteer for 12 years. Starting in 2010 Scott was also a member of the Friends Bookstore desk staff, and he regularly picked up and hauled large book donations to the Library for the Friends. In addition, Scott served with the Friends Holiday Book Sale Committee, and helped price fine books that had been tucked away throughout each year for their annual fundraiser. Scott was also a member of South Pasadena Beautiful for 25 years. In 1980 Scott’s wife Janet became a Founding Board member of SPEF (South Pasadena Educational Foundation) and Scott actively and continually supported the highly successful organization.

Scott Van Sant was born on October 5, 1937 to Jean Scott MacMillan and Benjamin Clarke Van Sant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He had two older siblings, Sandra and Nick, and his fraternal twin Clarke. Scott passed away peacefully on March 21, 2016. He is survived by his brother, Clarke Van Sant, his three children - Toni Clevenger, Michelle Van Sant Chamberlain, and Michael Van Sant, as well as four grandchildren - Kai, Audrey, Caitlin, and Christopher. Scott moved to Altadena at the age of 7 with his mother and siblings. He attended John Muir High School in Pasadena.

Scott and his wife Janet Stephanie Van Sant moved to South Pasadena in 1966 to raise their three children and it would be the place where they chose to live out the rest of their lives. Scott loved his family, the outdoors, skiing, and collecting antique clocks. A public memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 16th at 2 p.m. in the Library Community Room located at 1115 El Centro Street. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to South Pasadena Beautiful, Friends of South Pasadena Library, South Pasadena Educational Foundation, or a charity of the donor’s own choosing.


Jane T. Cavenagh is a very spry 98 year-old who recently retired from the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library's all-volunteer Bookstore after more than 20 years. Jane was on the Library Board of Trustees and served as President for four terms between 1993 and 1998. Jane previously taught for many years at South Pasadena Middle School, South Pasadena High School, Riverside Junior College, and UCLA. She later worked as an administrator for seven junior colleges.

Another great milestone in Jane's remarkable life occurred in 1929 when she was a 14 year- old schoolgirl. She saved a 5 year-old boy from drowning in Pirate's Cove at Laguna Beach. He was walking on the base of a steep cliff that jutted out to the ocean. After he fell, Jane picked him up and a large wave knocked them down, carrying the boy out to sea. Jane rose to her feet, waded 30 feet toward the boy, and was swept off her feet once again by choppy waves which carried the boy even farther out.

Jane at 98 with her medal


Jane at 14 with her heroism medal...
Jane swam to the youngster once again, and grasped him and swam them both back to the base of the cliff, only to have a large wave separate them again. Jane was carried out 25 feet and she saw the boy in the waves 35 feet from her. She swam to him again and carried him to the shore where his mother had fainted. The boy was unconscious, but he recovered. During her act of bravery Jane injured her back and sustained severe cuts. Soon afterwards she was awarded a medal by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and the funds enabled her to later attend college. Jane went on to earn a B.A. and an M.A. at UCLA and was the first woman admitted to Stanford Medical School although she didn't enroll.

Longtime South Pasadena resident Beverly Engler passed away on December 27, with her family nearby, after a long battle with cancer.

Bev and her husband Mark married 57 years ago, beginning their lives together in San Francisco. They moved to South Pasadena with their children Mark, Suzanne, and Marcy in 1966.

Bev was a tireless and enthusiastic volunteer in the community, including serving as President of the Monterey Hills School PTA, a frequent PTA committee member, an active SPEF fundraiser, a Little League concession manager, and a leader within her children's Scout troops.

Bev also co-founded the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library Bookstore, where she devoted thousands of volunteer hours over nearly 30 years. The fundraising auctions and book sales Bev helped establish and manage attracted book collectors throughout the state. She was honored for her service with a Volunteer of the Year award by the California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners.

Bev was an avid reader, an accomplished baker, and an award winning quilter. She also enjoyed playing golf with family and friends at Oakmont Country Club. She discovered a love for travel early in life, visiting Cuba in the 1950s, and traveled to many parts of Europe and Asia with her husband and family. However, she most enjoyed the beach, and it was her annual trips to Kauai with her husband, children, and grandchildren that brought her the greatest joy.

In addition to her husband and children, Bev is survived by her daughter in law Mary, son in laws Hunter and Michael, and grandchildren Jaime, Peter, Kelly, Logan, Shelby, Haley and Whitney.

Donations may be made in her memory to the
Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library/Beverly Engler Memorial Fund.


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