Long Beach opens the Billie Jean King Main Library, a 92,500 square foot building for the community

The City of Long Beach will celebrated the grand opening of the new Billie Jean King Main Library, a 92,500-square-foot LEED Gold-certified building that includes space for about 300,000 books. The new facility also offers a Family Learning Center, the Center for Adaptive Technology, a Veterans Resource Center, study rooms, meeting rooms, a special collections area, and an extensive children???s area with a storytelling space, an art studio and more in Long Beach on Saturday, September 21, 2019. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Both the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Long Beach Public Library are nonprofit organizations, and as such are not allowed to endorse candidates in elections.

But that doesn't mean the organizations go quiet come election time. Leaders of both the foundation and the friends say they want candidates on the record about the library, and have consistently released a Library Voter Education Guide each election.

The guide gives every candidate in every local race the opportunity to express their feelings and stances relating to the city's library system. The most recent guide, released Friday, Oct. 16, has statements from 10 candidates in elections for the Second, Sixth and Eighth City Council districts, District 2 LBUSD board member and Area 4 Long Beach City College trustee.

The only candidate on the Nov. 3 ballot who did not respond was Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews.

“We want city leaders who recognize the value our libraries play in producing knowledgeable and informed citizens, and will help to improve access in any way possible,” said Barbara Sosa, Friends of the Library president.

“Equitable access to information and resources is crucial to civic participation which is why it’s important for voters to know how those vying for local leadership positions feel about libraries,” added Sharon Weissman, Foundation board president.

The guide is available at lbplfoundation.org/voter, and does not include any endorsements or commentary.

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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