The Perks of Being a Library Friend


3rd Century Bestseller's List

3rd Century Bestseller’s List








They say you can’t miss what you never had but I pine for the Royal Library of Alexandria, The Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Founded in the 3rd century BC, it once was the largest library in the world. Sadly, this wonder of the ancient world is gone and its destruction is one of history’s greatest unsolved mysteries.

Library of Alexandria

Library of Alexandria










Located in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, scholars think this sprawling library housed around 400,000 to 700,000 scrolls. I get dreamy imagining myself in a flowing robe, holding a sheet of papyrus from Aristotle’s hand-written collection. And to think, Mark Antony is rumored to have gifted Cleopatra thousands of books for the Library of Alexandria. (Hint, hint, Mr. UnHollywood.)

According to the recent Pew Report’s findings, libraries still play a key role to most Americans. 91% of those surveyed said: “public libraries are important to their communities.”

I grew up roaming the stacks of the Beverly Hills Public Library and still remember the day when I got my own library card and declared myself an adult after checking out Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.

I doubt Bessie Yancey, the first librarian of The Beverly Hills Public Library, would have approved. Ms. Yancey steered children toward classics like Tom Sawyer and Alice in Wonderland. Back then in 1914, the library was still a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. By 1929, however, the Beverly Hills City Council decided to create an independent Beverly Hills Public Library.

BH Public Library New Childrens Section

BH Public Library New Childrens Section








Summer Reading Club is free

Summer Reading Club is free








Fostering a love of reading

Fostering a love of reading









Today, over 1000 children participate in its Summer Reading Club. As youngsters, my boys participated in the club and I loved those quiet mornings as we all read our books in the Childrens Section. The lovely librarians gave the boys terrific book suggestions. Adults have a lot to gain from the library, too. In these uncertain economic times, the library offers entertainment, refuge and resources to recent graduates on the job hunt, as well as, to others looking to expand their skills.

I graduated from the USC Cinema-TV School. Where did my ideas for scripts come from? The library. Where did I find research materials for class? The library. To remain relevant, Libraries need added space, technology upgrades, collections expansion and digitization.

We all need to give back when we can. Fellow Trojans, join me and become a Friend of the USC Libraries.

Fellow BH citizens: pay it forward and become a Friend to the BH Libraries.

In 2003, Egypt inaugurated the new Library of Alexandria. I’m still a few thousand Frequent Flyer miles short of a visit so I’m opting for a walk to my public library. They don’t have the scroll collection, perhaps, but guess which one has a Kelly’s Coffee where I can sip Café Latte while I read?

Want more haps from the 90210? Like BH Mom on FB.

Alexandria library images courtesy of

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 14 comments. Add yours

  1. 28th February 2013 | ChecklistMommy says: Reply
    My daughter loves our mornings reading together in her school library while we wait for her classroom to open -- and i was a total library rat as a kid. i come from a long line of library lovers -- my parents built their own private library a few years ago and filled it with the enormous book and film collection they've amassed, and it is my favorite place on earth.
    • 1st March 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Lucky girl, lucky mom. Enjoy those stories. Your parents have the right idea and clearly passed on the love of the written word.
  2. 27th February 2013 | Mamacita says: Reply
    What a wonderful article about the importance of a library. A source of knowledge and a refuge from the world of our busy lives. I remember the tiny library of my childhood housed near the campus of the University of So. California. It was filled with books of adventure and storytelling by the librarian. Keep up the good work BH Mom.
    • 27th February 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Today USC opens its library doors to high school students who live near campus. I love seeing the "wow" moment in their eyes as they take in the atmosphere of the historic Doheny Library. When I see that, I have a great deal of hope in the future.
  3. 27th February 2013 | Carpool Goddess says: Reply
    Wow, the Children's Library looks awesome! I have fond memories of roaming the stacks too, and of Judy Blume. Nice piece, BHMom.
  4. 27th February 2013 | Matt Steiner says: Reply
    The Children's Section of the BH Library is gorgeous - that's a good omen for books. ;) The historical bits about the Library of Alexandria were great too!
  5. 26th February 2013 | Jean says: Reply
    Cynthia - thank you for your generous words about the BH Library!! The Library, and especially the new Children's Library, are one of the wonderful jewels of this City.
  6. 26th February 2013 | Jordan says: Reply
    I love to take my kids to the library and the smell of books never changes.
    • 26th February 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Nor does the feel. I love the convenience and tree-saving aspects of the Kindle, but digital only takes you so far.
  7. 24th February 2013 | fromdorothea says: Reply
    Yes, very true; the public lending libraries of England also played an important role in my childhood and adolescent years. Thanks for the memory, Bhmom.
    • 26th February 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Make me jealous. Did the library look like Hogwarts?
  8. 24th February 2013 | Christina Simon says: Reply
    My mom always took us to the public library. Its one of my best memories. Great piece!
    • 26th February 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      My mom did, too. I think she was trying to get me out of her hair during the long summers!
  9. 24th February 2013 | OpinionsToGo says: Reply
    What a great post and what a great tribute to libraries!

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