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Person Of Influence / SAVANNAH STEVENS

A Storied Life

Dusting off L.A.'s libraries for the hip, young and literary-minded

December 09, 2007|Elizabeth Khuri

WHO SHE IS: Savannah Stevens doesn't mind being called a bookworm. As a student, the Calabasas resident spent years in the library at Yale, and now, as co-chair of the Young Literati--a social/charitable arm of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles--she raises awareness of the city's public book palaces by recruiting members and coordinating scene-worthy events. "We like to be a part of the fabric of the literary life of L.A.," says Stevens, 35, who previously worked at the production company Misher Films.

WHAT 'S SAID ABOUT HER: "Because she was in [film] development, Savannah spent a lot of time reading books and getting the rights, so she takes those skill sets and gets high-profile writers and actors to come to our events," says Michael Jones, who helped found YL in 2004. "It's great for people to see the literary side of personalities --the side that doesn't come out in Us Weekly."

WHAT'S NEW: The group recently held its first major fundraiser, which collected more than $80,000. Actors James Franco and Bradley Whitford and L.A. Sparks center Jessica Moore read excerpts from their favorite writers. Also, YL soon will make its annual gift to a designated branch--this time, computers for the Pacoima library--and plans to establish a fiction prize.

WHY IT MATTERS: "There is nothing more exciting than the possibility of a person walking into a library and coming out with a piece of information that completely sends them in a new direction," Stevens says.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: As philanthropist/businessman Andrew Carnegie noted, a library "outranks any other one thing that a community can do to help its people." To that end, Stevens suggests ponying up Young Literati membership fees (dues start at $200 per year; sign up at www.youngliterati.org) or volunteering at your local branch. "The library appeals to me," she says, "because it creates equal access to knowledge." *

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At A Glance

Sphere

Reading and books

Influence

Making libraries cool

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Know somebody who's out to save the world, or at least Southern California? E-mail elizabeth.khuri@latimes.com.

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