In 2017, the Long Beach Public Library won the National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The National Medal is the highest honor a library or museum can receive in recognition of service to their community. The award includes 12 interviews from StoryCorps. In November 2017 StoryCorps came to Long Beach to interview residents and capture their stories. What people talked about ranged from their connection to the library and the impact of reading to their experiences growing up in the segregated South to surviving the Killing Fields in Cambodia, and other topics. Here are excerpts from some of the interviews.
"There are students who come in and try and do their work, people applying for jobs, people looking for housing, and homeless people who are just looking to connect."
Library volunteer John Arcos talks with his daughter, Allison Arcos, about his involvement with the library and explains how he uses his acquired set of skills to help support the library’s recognition of the “digital divide,” an uneven distribution of access to information and communication technology in communities.
“If it weren’t for that book, what would it be like for me? Where would I be?"
Hutx Colunga, a middle school teacher at Long Beach Unified, Tracy Colunga, Chief Innovation Officer with the City of Long Beach, and their 10-year-old son, Quetzal talk about the books that have impacted their lives. They advocate the importance of books and share how the well-placed words in stories can be very influential.
“You took that risk, you had that courage and that resiliency to come out here, and you knew that it was a good choice for your family…”
Kim Ing tells her daughter, Susana Sngiem, about her life in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge Genocide, living in a Thai refugee camp, and eventually moving to Long Beach, CA and raising her family.
"My brother’s decisions to become actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement in this country, weighed heavily on my decision to make education my profession...."
Jerome Roberts, retired Long Beach Unified School District teacher, talks with his fiancé and fellow teacher, Laura Castillo about how the Civil Rights Movement impacted his life.