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EAST LOS ANGELES : Book Sale Boosts Library Awareness

January 23, 1994|MARY ANNE PEREZ

The East Los Angeles Library celebrated its Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos book sale and storytelling festival recently to raise money and awareness for the branch and continue a tradition of celebrating Three Kings Day.

Sponsored by the Friends of the East L.A. Library and Chicano Resource Center, the Jan. 8 book sale raised $150, selling books in Spanish and English for 25 to 50 cents. Organizers hope to make the sale an annual event.

The book sale, held on the lawn of the library at 4801 E. 3rd St., helped draw the attention of passersby who stopped, perused the books, and went inside for poetry readings and storytelling by local poets, said Sophia Chavez, treasurer of the Friends group, which formed in November and numbers around 50.

"The first books to go were the Spanish books, so that just shows how popular they are," Chavez said.

Children received free books and balloons. Pan dulce , a Mexican sweetbread, was served.

The celebration of Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos honors the bringing of gifts to the newborn Jesus by the three biblical kings. Celebrated Jan. 6 in parts of Latin America and the United States, it is primarily a family event.

Christmas-oriented stories and poems were read, and artist Jose Luis Reyes, whose works incorporate pre-Columbian motifs, told the children about an Aztec god who is celebrated during the Christmas season.

"The purpose of this was to get people to come down and see the library as not just a place where there are books, but poetry and storytelling," Chavez said. "We did want to alert them that there is a crisis. . . . We got a very positive response from the people. They were surprised to hear that it was in danger."

The East Los Angeles branch laid off staff and reduced its hours by almost half after the county slashed its budget last summer. There is no money in the budget for new materials, Chavez said.

The friends group meets the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the library.

Information: (213) 264-0155.

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