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'This is Your Library' Los Angeles... you can party if you want to

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at 04:58PM
Gary Leonard

Justin Veach serves as the talk-show host at the library event. Sitting next to him in this picture from a previous "This is Your Library"; Huell Howser, Diane Rodriguez and Chris Kraus.

"This is Your Library" is bringing together ex-Laker John Salley, actor Colin Hanks, founder of Unique L.A. Sonja Rasula and National Book Award finalist Mark Z. Danielewski for the upcoming edition of this after-hours library party.

The occasional series, launched in December 2010, is designed to raise awareness for the library by "presenting the best of Los Angeles to Los Angeles" in a talk show/neighborhood bar/concert format.

Justin Veach, the Library Foundation’s director of new initiatives and a self-described "public library evangelist", serves as the talk show's host.

He asks guests, "What they do, how they do it, and what it means to be doing it in Los Angeles," Veach explained.

Most guests are L.A. locals, and in the past have included PBS star Huell Howser, punk legend Keith Morris and food god Jonathan Gold, who all shared their own memories of L.A. public libraries. Veach recalls Morris reminiscing about his days spent playing spin-the-bottle at his Hermosa Beach library, and Gold talked about how his mother used to be a Central library employee when he was a kid.

The purpose of the event is to present an evening of "incredible diversity" that reflects the library's expansive collection but also of the diversity of L.A. as a whole, Veach said.

"In the eyes of the public library we're all just Angelenos," he said.

No matter what age, race, or socioeconomic status you are, everyone has equal access to the library and the "entire history of human thought and creativity" it holds, Veach said.

Tickets are on sale now for the March 10 event. The evening begins in the Fifth Street courtyard at 7:00 p.m with music by a dublab DJ, a full bar and Homegirl Cafe selling food.

The "talk show" part of the evening starts at 8:00 p.m. in the 235-seat Mark Taper auditorium - with celebrity guests appearing one after the other. The night continues at 10:00 p.m. with a performance by The Dead Ships back outside in the courtyard.

The library hosts similar events in their ongoing Aloud series, but those evenings tend to draw an older crowd, Veach said. "This is Your Library" attracts L.A. residents in their 20s, 30s and 40s, he said. And, the folks who may be more likely to read a novel on their kindle instead of checking it out from the library.

"This is Your Library" costs $15 and concert-only tickets are available for $5. All of the celebrity guests appear on a volunteer basis but the admission fees go towards covering other costs so that the library can break even.

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