Inspiring Programs are Worth Funding


READING colors your world

JUNE 21 through AUGUST 15, 2021

Growing a lifelong love of reading begins with reading for pleasure during childhood, building deep literacy skills and maintaining that love of reading through the distractions of teen and adult life.  Summer reading is an integral part of this journey.

To meet the rising need for reading engagement during COVID-19 the 2021 Reading Program happened online and in-person.  Thank you to our SMPL Librarians for another year of adapting so quickly to our needs and maintaining this essential program. 


Let’s read together!  Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

2021 marks the nineteenth year of this community reading program, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the United States.  Santa Monica Reads  provides an opportunity for people to engage, read, and discuss the same book at discussion groups and special programs.  During COVID-19, the need for libraries and to connect with community is more important than ever.

This years featured selection was Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue. Set in Dublin during the 1918 flu pandemic, The Pull of the Stars focuses on three women – a nurse midwife, a doctor, and a volunteer helper – and their experiences in a small maternity quarantine ward over the rouse of three days.  They lose patients to the pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into an uncertain world. Set in a city ravaged by war and disease, Donoghue’s novel is by turns gripping and tender, and a tribute to caregivers and mothers alike who do impossible work with tenderness and humanity.    


SMPL at the Beach

The Librarians at the Santa Monica Public Library are so committed to our reading during the summer that they brought the Library to us, at the Beach! Innovators of Southern California's only seaside pop-up library, hosted three pop-up events prior to summer of 2020.

Dia Celebration and Arts & Literacy Festival

 Dia Celebration and the Arts & Literacy Festival celebrates the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  It links children and their families to diverse books, languages, and cultures.  Participants enjoy author talks, story times, educational activities and a free children’s book provided by the Friends at the Arts & Literacy Festival.

Fierce Friday

Fierce Friday is produced in collaboration with YALLWEST and Fierce Reads, Macmillan Books’ imprint for young adult readers.  YALLWEST was born at the Santa Monica Public Library in 2015 and quickly grew to become the largest young adult book festival in the United States.  The non-profit annual event is an author and teen run young adult and middle-grade book festival, with the goal of getting books into the hands of those in need and saying the words to get young people to open them.

The preview night at Santa Monica Public Library gives readers a chance to meet their favorite authors in person the night before the YALLWEST festival, which takes place on the Santa Monica High School campus.  In addition to helping fund Fierce Friday, the Friends Bookstore remains open for shopping during the preview event.  Friends are also invited to volunteer during this event.

Teen Councils

Mentoring the next generation of Library supporters, the Friends fund Teen Advisory Councils at numerous branches.  The Councils promote library use and community involvement by teens.  Participants serve as the voice of teens, plan, publicize, and sponsor programs in the library of interest to teens.  They give input and suggestions to the library concerning teen-related activities, selection of books and other materials for the Young Adult section, and input on design and content of the teen webpage.  We are grateful for their contributions and leadership.

Book Group in a Box

Calling all book lovers!  Tired of rushing to the library for your latest book club read only to find yourself on a long waitlist?  Looking to start a book group but are intimated about where to start?  A Book Group in a Box kit contains everything your book group needs to enjoy reading and discussing your next book.  Unless otherwise noted in the catalog, each kit contains 9 copies of a title, with one copy being large print.  Additionally, the kit contains one information packet containing:  Discussion Questions & Author Biography, How to Facilitate a Book Group & Book Group FAQ.  Visit for currently available kits. The Friends is proud to offer its support to this fantastic new additional to the collection.


Summer Reading Program

Help end summer brain drain and replace it with a skill-building joyful Summer of Reading.  Become A Friend today and your donation will directly support

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Santa Monica Reads

2019 marks the seventeenth year of this community reading event, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the United States.  SANTA MONICA READS

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