PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

6/9/2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 060921-2
Subject:
California State Librarian Greg Lucas Visits Billie Jean King Main Library
Tour featured the City’s Khmer search index – a first in the nation for a public library
Contact:
City of Long Beach Joint Information Center
562.570.NEWS
jic@longbeach.gov





Long Beach, CA – Recently, the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) hosted California State Librarian Greg Lucas, along with Long Beach City Councilwoman Cindy Allen and representatives from the LBPL Foundation and Friends of the LBPL organizations, for a detailed tour of the Billie Jean King (BJK) Main Library. The tour featured the recently added Khmer search index feature, funded by a grant issued by the California State Library and one of the first features of its kind in the nation, in addition to other innovative and adaptive LBPL amenities.

“It is an honor to welcome our State Librarian to Long Beach and have the opportunity to showcase our beautiful Billie Jean King Main Library and the incredible work of our Long Beach Public Library staff,” said Long Beach City Councilwoman Cindy Allen.

The tour marked the State Librarian’s first visit to the City’s flagship remodeled downtown library location since it opened its doors to the public in September 2019. The State Librarian oversees more than 1,100 public libraries throughout the state, and the City is honored to have the opportunity to host this prestigious visit.

“The State Librarian is a great ally in providing funding for us to move the needle on library projects that benefit Long Beach residents,” said LBPL Director Glenda Williams. “With the addition of the Khmer search feature, Khmer readers now have full access to the Khmer language collection.”

In addition to a demonstration of the Khmer search index feature, implemented throughout the LBPL system in April, highlights of the tour also included the Family Learning Center, Center for Adaptive Technology, and the expansive makerspace, called The Studio, which includes 3D printers, a recording studio, podcast and digital media area, printing press and more.

“There’s always so many wonderful things happening in Long Beach libraries and it’s great to be experiencing them in person again,” said Greg Lucas, California State Librarian. “We’re also proud to be a partner in helping make so many books in Khmer more accessible to the city’s large Cambodian community.”

LBPL is the first public library in the nation to implement the Khmer search index feature, funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant administered bythe California State Library in 2018. The Library partnered with the United Cambodian Community during the development of the search index feature to utilize their language expertise and ensure the search functionality met the appropriate needs of the community. Previously, to find library books that are cataloged in another language (except Spanish), patrons had to search thelibrary catalogs in English first. With the new functionality, now readers can search Khmer literature directly by author, title or subject. The Khmer search index feature is available through LBPL’s online catalog at longbeach.gov/library and can also be used in person inside the Library.

With approximately 5,000 adult and children’s books combined, LBPL has the largest collection of Khmer-language materials of all public libraries in the United States.

The BJK Main Library opened in September 2019 and is a 92,500-square-foot LEED Gold-certified building. After being closed to the public since March 2020 due to COVID-19 public health restrictions, last month LBPL recently reopened BJK Main Library, Bay Shore, Mark Twain and Michelle Obama Neighborhood Libraries for limited in-person visits in addition to continuing LBPL To-Go, its contactless pick up service, and Tech To-Go which provides Chromebook computer and Mifi hotspot lending service.

Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and is the most commonly spoken language by people of Cambodian descent. Long Beach has one of the largest populations of Cambodians and Cambodian Americans in the United States. Many survivors of the Khmer Rouge fled Cambodia to the United States in the early 1980s, with a significant number of refugees settling here.

For more information about the LBPL, including how it is celebrating its 125 anniversary, visit longbeach.gov/library or follow LBPL on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.