Irvins at Grape Expectations

Jack and Barbara Irvin, right, receive the 2018 Durnin Family Award at the Long Beach Library Foundation's Grape Expectations event. Long Beach Rotary was given the 2018 Library Leadership Award.

Grape Expectations 2020 is crushed, another victim of the coronavirus stay at home and no gatherings orders.

But the Long Beach Public Library Foundation will not be deterred — the Grape Expectations: Stay Home and Read Edition has been launched. The new online effort also has a fund-raising component, but the emphasis is on reading, according to a release from communications manager Kimberly Caballero.

The campaign has started, with the climax this week — Thursday, April 23 to Thursday, April 30. Billie Jean King, sports legend and namesake for the new Billie Jean King Main Library, will premiere a new short film April 23 to start the event. Bossa Nova singer Caro Pierotto, who has entertained Grape Expectations gala guests in the past, will perform an intimate Facebook live concert at 7 p.m. that evening.

Supporters are asked to read a good book, share about it and donate to the Library Foundation at the same time. Donations are made at, while social media interactions are recommended using the hashtag #LBReadsAtHome.

“Let’s all come together as supporters of literacy and share in the joy of a great book.” Sharon Weissman, Library Foundation president, said. “Support for the Library Foundation will help ensure its programs and resources will continue to be available for all to use and enjoy.”

A special Facebook page,, has been created for the week-long — April 23-30 — centerpiece of the campaign. April 23 is National Library Giving Day. There is space on the page to share recommendations — books or wine.

Anyone who donates to the foundation gains entry into the event's justly renowned auction. 

Wine Country owner Randy Kemner, who partnered with the Library Foundation to start Grape Expectations, has created a package of four wines to "pair" with book reading, and will donate profits from sales to the Library Foundation. The Wine Country is at 2301 Redondo Ave., (562) 597-8303. Orders can be prepared for pickup.

For more information, go to

Note: This story was updated to correct Kimberly Caballero's title.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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