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Speaker:Good afternoon, my name is John Szabo I'm city librarian of Los Angeles I'm heading the Los Angeles Public Library and we are delighted that you are here today, delighted to be hosting this gathering at the central library here in downtown Los Angeles. First, I will have a number of thank you to offer the first and I see almost every day here at central library but I feel like I can't say thank you enough to Louise Steinman who heads (applause) to Louise for our incredible cultural programs here at the Los Angeles Public Library and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, our president, Ken Brecher, who is here today, really all of the work they do to help bring innovation to our libraries and just really rich cultural programming that we offer. Bill Deverell in the L.A. Times just this morning noted that our allowed program was a real cultural gem and that is so true and I appreciate that that comment from him. I want to thank Fora TV for capturing what promises to be an incredible weekend and sharing it with everyone on their website. I want to thank William Hearst, Bill Deverell and David Ulin for making this happen for their vision, for this conference. Also important to mention what a pleasure and honor it is to be partnering with the San Francisco Public Library, librarians and libraries love each other and borrow from each and my colleague Louis Herrera who I saw a moment ago is just fantastic and to be partnering with him and working with him is a real joy and we appreciate it. It is an amazing and exciting time here at the Los Angeles Public Library and I trust all of you as people who were enthused about all things literary know that public libraries today are more dynamic and relevant than ever and that is certainly true here in L.A. In March of 2011, our voters passed something called measure L which was an effort to restore services that had been cut during some really tough times and so here in Los Angeles we are not cutting public libraries. We are reopening libraries, we are adding hours of operation. We are responding to Angelinos real hunger for public library service and our residents here make great use of our libraries in an incredibly diverse array of ways and make use of our services so extensive. We circulated last year over 15 million items, 2 million of them ebooks, I hope all of you know that we do circulate ebooks and downloadable eaudio books. They are never any overdue fines because they disappear off your device when they are due. Every day, very hard working couriers here at the Los Angeles public library move 40,000 items, physical items, books and other materials from library to library in all 73 of our libraries across the city. People are making great use of them and thats just fantastic. Also our libraries are embracing the libraries long role with lifelong learning in new ways beginning in just a week we're going to be offering an accredited online high school diploma here at the library. Talk about a powerful deliverable to the people of L.A. This is the library first in the nation where people can take their first step on the path to U.S. citizenship. Public libraries plays such as an important role with immigrant, immigration and especially here in L.A. citizenship corners in all 73 of our libraries and certified enrolment counsellors with covered California are helping people every Saturday now through the end of March, the enrolment period, helping people enrol with health insurance in covered California in affordable care act and another great deliverable of the library and all of you will be interested to know and understand how important it is that our public libraries every day are introducing young people to books and learning sometimes even babies to words and literacy and even digital literacy skills helping them to develop a lifelong love of reading and certainly generating feature patrons and customers of our public libraries here in L.A. As you are here at the library, I'm sure many of you are very familiar with this building and all of the services and wonders that exist within the walls of this great L.A. treasure, please take time to explore and to learn more about this library and all of our amazing collections. We have some great exhibits going on now here at the library and I just want to let you know again, what a pleasure it is to have all of you here to be celebrating writers, good books, and all things literary here in L.A. and so now its my pleasure to turn it over to the fabulous Louise Steinman. L. Steinman:Thank you so much John and you know Ive been here for 20 years and I have to say this is the most exciting time at the Los Angeles Public Library, in great deal thanks to John being here. So thank you so much for that. A pleasure to welcome you here today to this wonderful conference and as you know I curate the allowed series which presents over 70 free programs a year, here at the downtown Los Angeles Public Library featuring some of the most exciting thinkers and artist of our times and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles which producers allowed is delighted to partner with Bill Deverell and David Ulin with a Huntington USC on the west and with Fora.TV to present these two days of various special programs. You will be able to watch all of the programs on Fora.TV within 24 hours of the event, thank you Fora TV and a few notes we have coffee for you in the lobby courtesy of our barista across the stress and we have books by some, if not all of the authors in the program, in the library store and we even have copies of a wonderful broad side that was produced when Gary Snyder was here for a special tribute a few years ago. So please check that out it is a beautiful hand letter pressed broadside of Garys poem Axe Handles. I hope some of you were here last night to hear Walter Mosley and Ati Kalak Attica Locke kick off the L.A. incarnation of writing from California. It was a great conversation about growing up Russian Jewish and African American in Los Angeles about traffic and fear in war and we expect more today as we explore part 2 of tales from two cities. Our colleagues in San Francisco examined the Bay Area perspective on California history and literature and today and tomorrow we will put Los Angeles and Southern California in the spotlight. So I really look forward to chatting with some of you in between programs today and please join me right now in welcoming Bill Deverell who will tell you a little bit more about todays program. B. Deverell:Thanks for coming. I want to offer some quick partnership thanks as well. The collaborations built through these two conferences have really been extraordinary. At the heart of this is a partnership with David Ulin, my friend and colleague, who is the book critic of the Los Angeles Times, easy going, imaginative and curious, David has been a perfect partner to pull these events together with. I want to offer profound thanks to Margaret and Will Hearst for their support and for Will Hearst creative engagement with our state, its literary and other histories. John Gecky from San Francisco has again proven to be rock solid as a collaborator and partner in these things and needles to say, but I will but working with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles has been a great pleasure. Ken Brecher, Katie Dunham, Rebecca Shehee and especially Louise Steinman and Maureen Moore have extended and further ties across institutional and personal connections all we think to the greater cultural good of all of us in our city, region and state. Warmest thanks to our friends at the library we certainly couldnt have done it without you and Nancy on California West my team, colleague Elizabeth Logan and Lesley Chang again proved us cheerful as they are indispensable. Thank you for everything. Hope you all enjoy yourselves throughout the day and come back tomorrow as well. I'm gonna turn things over quickly to David Ulin before I come out and introduce our first speaker thanks again. D. Ulin:Hi! Thanks for coming. I'm David Ulin and Ill just sort of echo everything Bill said more eloquently than I can one of the great values of being a deadline journalist is that I can write my opening remarks in the back while I was waiting to come on. So this is the second of a two part series the first weekend took place in San Francisco in October and in San Francisco we spoke about or I spoke about the idea of literature as a conversation. I think this is the heart of what literature does both on a personal level and on a cultural level. It allows to discuss or to inhabit each others imaginations to inhabit each others stories that develop empathy and understanding at its best. In the case of these conferences, we are talking about all those issues but we're also talking about literature in terms of California and a sort of California sensibility. My contention has always been that there is more that unites us and by us I mean Northern and Southern California or Eastern and Western California then divides us the California is not only a state of being but a state of mind. That is one of the themes of these two events. But they are also about trying to articulate in some sense a California vision and aesthetic that is more than from California but of California. We often talk of these events of you know, what it means to be writing from California. But I'm very interested in what writing of California what that California sensibility is how it becomes a way of looking or a way of standing in the world. What does it mean to read and write in California? What does it mean to think to be of this place? That is what we sought to discuss or evoke in San Francisco and its what we mean to evoke here as well over the course of the weekend and starting with last night you will hear or have heard already discussions of some classic Los Angeles themes place and exile, identity and community but we're also stretch wider to set Los Angeles in a California context and in so doing hopefully to look at the future as well as the past. Again, the idea is to provoke a conversation or a way thinking a starting point to be engaged. So welcome, thanks for coming and we look forward to having this conversation with you over the next day and a half.