Foreign Language Public Libraries
As Los Angeles becomes more of a melting pot, the demand for library books in other languages is soaring.
"We have had a demand for children's and adult books in Spanish for many years," says Nina Wilson, West Valley regional manager for the Los Angeles Public Library. "But now we're getting quite a few requests for Chinese books at the Northridge branch, and we have a big Persian collection at the Encino/Tarzana branch. At the Canoga Park branch, the children's librarian has been purchasing in Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish--and she suddenly started getting requests for French books."
In the East Valley, Regional Manager Joyce Elliott has noticed a need for Thai books in the Panorama City area. "We also have a market now for Korean books in certain pockets of the Valley," she adds.
To help fulfill the ever-increasing demand, branch librarians pursue two courses. The first is to continually borrow books from the downtown library's foreign language department, which covers 29 languages.
Or they can buy books with the help of Frank Navarro, who runs the library's multilingual services department. "It's very difficult for a branch to go out on its own and find these different language materials, because they're often published in their native countries and we have to rely on their distributors. So I get the books and the branches then buy them," Navarro explains.
Among the Valley libraries with extensive Spanish collections are Canoga Park, Northridge, Sun Valley and Pacoima.
Recycling the Tree
Taking down the Christmas tree is about as much fun as cleaning up after your dog--but you've got to do it. Most trees are substantially dried out by now, so the journey from living room to curbside is marked by a trail of tiny pine needles. In moments like this, you may envy your more ecology-minded friends who bought living trees and are thus spared the task of vacuuming their tree's remains.
The city of Los Angeles's Bureau of Sanitation is providing a free opportunity to turn that chore into a noble effort. From Saturday through Jan. 6 (except New Year's Day), it is sponsoring a Christmas-tree recycling program, with two sites open in the Valley.
"We'll be collecting trees at the Sheldon/Arleta Landfill on Wicks Street and Sharp Avenue in Sun Valley, and at the Balboa Sports Center on Balboa and Burbank boulevards in Encino from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days," says Sara McEneaney, sanitary engineer assistant. "We're asking that ornaments, tinsel and tree stands be removed, and we don't want any flocked trees."
The trees will be taken to a processing center, where they'll be used to make compost and mulch.
The Critics' Corner
If you don't want to know the outcome of the movie "Steel Magnolias," then don't read this item.
In the movie, one of the characters is a diabetic who decides to have a baby, against the advice of her mother who fears for her health. Although the pregnancy is successful, the daughter eventually develops kidney failure and dies.
Steve Degelsmith is a counselor at the Diabetes Treatment Center at the Tarzana Medical Center, and he held two support-group meetings in the last week to discuss diabetics' reaction to the movie.
"Overall everyone was very moved by the movie, and they thought the acting was superb. But they did feel there was some misinformation, such as how quickly she developed kidney failure and died," he notes.
The center's nurse-educator Terry Redman adds: "I realize it wasn't supposed to be an educational film about diabetes. You could plug any disease in there and still have gotten the message across about friendship and relationships. But a person without diabetes might grow fearful about someone they know with diabetes--that they'll develop complications and be dead in no time at all."
On the positive side, according to Redman, the movie does point out that diabetic women can have successful pregnancies. "When I was diagnosed 17 years ago as having diabetes, they told me that I wouldn't be able to have a baby, so don't even think about it. Modern medicine has changed all that."
Teens, Drinking--and Safe Driving
"Teen-agers are always going to drink because it's something that's there," says Josh Steinwald, 17, of Canoga Park. "Personally, though, I can see that they're more aware of the consequence of drinking and driving, and consequences are getting stricter for teens. I don't think there's as much pressure to drink at parties any more. The choice is more open."
Steinwald is one of about 100 teen-agers who volunteers at Valley Safe Rides. The program, directed by the Los Angeles County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, provides a ride home on Friday and Saturday evenings for teen-agers who have been drinking and are in no condition to drive, as well as for teen-agers who feel their driver is too intoxicated to drive.
Every weekend, four of the volunteers meet at Temple Judea in Tarzana, along with one adult supervisor. Two of the students serve as dispatchers, and the other two team up in one car as driver and navigator. "The navigator has the maps and is in charge of the two-way radio to keep contact with the base, so that the driver can keep both hands on the wheel," says Anita Butler, MADD's director of education.
This New Year's Eve, the number of driving teams will be increased from one to four. Valley Safe Rides can be reached at (818) 701-RIDE between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
"I guess I'll have to have a Christmas party next year because these invitations are so cute, and they are only half-price."
--Woman looking at sale merchandise at Love 'N' Kisses in Sherman Oaks