Tag Archives: Buena Vista Library

Los Angeles County Opens Buena Vista Library as a Emergency Cooling Center

 With warm weather arriving in Los Angeles County, vulnerable populations such as the elderly who do not live in air-conditioned homes may need relief from the heat.

To meet this need, L.A. County has opened eight Emergency Cooling Centers. One of these sites will be in Burbank at the Buena Vista Branch Library Meeting Room, 300 N. Buena Vista St.

The cooling center will be open from May 6, 2020 – May 7, 2020, from 12:00 P.M – 6:00 P.M.

The cooling center will be fully managed and operated by Los Angeles County employees.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Visitors are required to bring and wear a face covering at the centers.
While everyone visiting the center is required to practice social distancing, remaining six feet
from staff and other guests, they are allowed to sit closer to members of their household.

Visitors who have COVID-19 symptoms — cough, fever, or difficulty breathing — or are actively
following isolation or quarantine orders are not allowed in the centers. Hand sanitizer, soap, and
water, or another disinfectant will be available at each location.

The Buena Vista Library is not open for normal operations at this time

Suspicious Fire At Buena Vista Library Remains Under Investigation

The Burbank Police and Fire Departments responded to a fire alarm activated inside the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Library after an employee saw smoke emitting from the men’s restroom on Tuesday, June 26, at 4:35 p.m., according to Sergeant Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

All patrons inside the library were evacuated to a safe location outside the front doors.

Burbank firefighters arrived on scene and located a small fire inside a trash container in the men’s restroom. That fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters with a water fire extinguisher.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)


The patrons who were asked to evacuate were interviewed as to what they had seen while visiting the library. Some people reported they had seen people entering the restroom just prior to the alarm ringing. Burbank police detectives are continuing the investigation.

Green reports there are no suspect or suspects at this time, although transients have been known to frequent the library and surrounding area. No estimated amount of damages was given and the library reopened within a few hours after the incident.


“Casablanca” Director Michael Curtiz To Be Discussed In Buena Vista Library Program

Author Alan Rode discusses his latest book Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film with Warner Bros. Studios Senior Vice President George Feltenstein on Tuesday evening, January 23, at the Buena Vista Library.

Rode and Feltenstein will converse about Academy-Award winning director Curtiz, the auteur of Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy and White Christmas, who spent 27 years directing nearly 100 films for Warner Bros. Studios.

They will talk about the director’s career, with a focus on Casablanca. The January 23 event also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the national release of the film.

“I’m very much looking forward to the presentation about Michael Curtiz at the Burbank Library,” commented Rode. “It is a personal thrill for me to be interviewed by George Feltenstein who is one of my heroes for all he has done to make Warner Bros. vast film library available to the public.”

micahel curtiz

The “Casablanca” shoot was an anxious time for both of the two stars and the director (Photo Courtesy of the Lucas family).

“No other film director is more identified with the brand of a movie studio than Curtiz at Warner Bros.,” added Rode. “His classic films including Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mildred Pierce and White Christmas remain revered, but the man himself is either forgotten or relegated to an anecdotal stereotype.”

Michael Curtiz; A Life in Film sets the record straight on Curtiz’s life and career with a great deal of heretofore unpublished information and details.”

An archivist from Warner Bros. will set up some props from Casablanca for the presentation, including a reproduction of Sam’s piano, a screen from Rick’s Café and some other items that appeared in the film or were related to its production, explained Burbank Librarian and event coordinator Hubert Kozak.

Curtiz observes a shot of James Cagney and Ann Sheridan in “Angels with Dirty Faces “(1938). (Photo Courtesy of the Lucas family)

“Michael Curtiz’s years as a director spanned the early years of Hollywood and the studio system of making movies, so Alan Rode’s book is not only a wonderful portrait of the director and his work, but a reader is going to learn a great deal about how movies during this period were made, and particularly how they were made at Warner Bros. here in Burbank,” commented Kozak.

“Rode shows you how technology and social issues impacted the nature of filmmaking, but most of all you learn that making movies is a tough business, the clash of egos and artists, the relentless pressures to stay on top and turn out box office hits, and the sad arc and poignant denouement of many careers in an industry that for all the glamor, was tough and often unforgiving.”

“I was impressed with the prodigious research and mastery of his subject in Rode’s book, but what impresses me most is it’s utter integrity. And by that I mean something more than simply a ‘balanced’ portrait of Curtiz, where you hear pros and cons from various people he worked with in his life.”

michael curtiz

Director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Sol Polito line up a crane shot during the production of “The Sea Wolf” (1941) on Warner’s massive Stage 21. (Photo Courtesy of the Lucas family).

“This is not an ambiguous portrait. There is a point of view. Rode doesn’t pull any punches, but gives you the facts as he has found them that show you the best and worst of the man. It’s a cold eyed approach that makes you feel you are in the hands of a narrator whose criticisms and praise can be trusted in equal measure,” Kozak continued. “In spite of the man’s foibles and failings, the reader is lead to recognize and understand Curtiz’s extraordinary skills and achievements in the development of movie making.”

“This is our second collaboration in the last year with Warner Bros.,” he added. “All of us here at the Burbank Public Library appreciate the willingness they have shown to help us develop these kinds of events for our patrons, many of whom have worked for Warner Bros. and the entertainment industry, and all who appreciate this kind of look back at the proud heritage of their community and its important contributions to our national culture.”

“Michael Curtiz and the Making of Casablanca” begins at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Library on Tuesday, January 23. Plenty of free parking is available on site. The author will be available to sign books for purchase after the program. The program is free to the public.

michael curtiz

A quartet of “Casablanca “winners: a sleepy Michael Curtiz, Jack Warner (talking as usual), Hal Wallis (with his Thalberg Award), one of the events hosts, Jack Benny, and the screenwriter Howard Koch (Photo Courtesy of Alan Rode collection.)


Author Sasha Abramsky Discusses “Jumping At Shadows”

Author Sasha Abramsky talks about his most recent book, Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream, at the Buena Vista Library on Wednesday evening, October 4.

A Q& A session after the author’s initial presentation will allow the public to engage in conversation with the Oxford University-educated writer, who’s other notable books include The House of Twenty Thousand Books, The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Lives and Inside Obama’s Brain.

jumping at shadows

Author Sasha Abramsky talks about the prevalence of fear dictating Americans’ personal lives, social interactions and politics. (Photo By Lala Meredith-Vula, Courtesy Hachette Book Group)

“I very much hope to stimulate a conversation about what rampant, often-times irrational, fear is doing to our culture and to our political system,” commented Abramsky. “As we struggle to understand our moment, and how we arrived here, I hope my book can provide some answers, and can shed light on this perplexing, and in many ways infuriating, political and cultural moment.”

Jumping at Shadows “grows out of decades of reporting that I have done on social justice themes, on inequality, and on what happens when people start trivializing, viewing difference as threatening, and diversity as dangerous,” he added. “That’s the political side of this book.”

“On the non-political side (why do we fear sharks more than mosquitoes, say, or why do we wear our phobias almost like badges of honor?), it just struck me as a fascinating story about modernity and about the ways we try to find community and find stable ground in a world continually changing underfoot.”

Jumping at Shadows “is a book about how we are all bombarded these days with more and more things we are told we must add to our list of modern fears, how this can be done more effectively than ever before because of modern technology and media, and how there is often an economic and political agenda involved in creating this culture where we feel vulnerable and afraid of everything—especially people we see as different than us,” said Librarian Hubert Kozak, who books the author events at the Buena Vista Library.

jumping at shadows“It paralyzes us,” Kozak continued. “It causes us to compromise the civic virtues that we have thought of for so long as defining us as a nation.”

“When I’ve mentioned this upcoming event here, I’ve seen people vigorously nodding their heads in the audience,” he also said.

“It seems that the author has hit a nerve. He diagnoses something we are all dealing with in modern life, and he is trying to explain why recognizing what is going on, bringing it to consciousness, and maybe calling it out, is important.”

“The book, to me, tells many stories: political and cultural, educational and psychological,” Abramsky said.

“Reporting it was a journey for me – pushing me to explore academic areas I hadn’t previously visited, taking me into writing about psychology and neuroscience and physiology… all things that, as a lay person, I find inherently interesting – and I hope that I have managed to convey all of this mystery and all of the wonder of exploration to my audience.”

Abramsky’s author event on Jumping at Shadows begins at 7:00 p.m. The event and parking are free to the public. The Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Library is located at 300 N. Buena Vista Street in Burbank.

“Warner Bros” Author Event Slated For Buena Vista Library

The author of Warner Bros, The Making of an American Movie Studio, David Thomson, is scheduled to appear at the Buena Vista Library on September 13.

“Among the major movie studios Warners was the most remote,” Thomson commented. “It found itself in a rural-suburban place, working class, but then it employed a lot of people who wanted to live close to work.”

Book jacket cover for David Thomson’s “Warner Bros.”

“So it became a kind of movie center. In many ways, it retains that character and I think it helped in giving Warners a family feeling,” Thomson also said.

“It’s a book about something young people today hardly understand – a movie studio where the same people worked together for years or decades so that sometimes the pictures seemed to make themselves.”

Thomson, a film critic and author of several books on the movies, will be introduced by Warner Bros. Studios senior archivist Mark Greenhalgh.

“The story of the Warner brothers is a classic American success story,” said Greenhalgh. “The history of their studio goes back nearly a hundred years now and has become an integral part of the history of Burbank.”

“The Warner family were great believers in being good citizens of both the nation and their community. David Thomson’s book, Warner Bros, The Making of an American Movie Studio, brings a fun and fresh perspective to their inspiring story.”

George Feltenstein, Senior Vice President of Theatrical Marketing at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, will conduct an interview with Thomson about the book.

“David Thomson’s new book about Warner Bros. is a testament to the spirit of innovation and creativity that set the studio apart from the rest of the industry,” commented Feltenstein.

“With a freshly personal perspective, Mr. Thomson has captured the essence of what made Warner Bros. films so distinctive and distinguished,” he added. “It is a highly fascinating, and entertaining book, and speaks eloquently to the legacy that inspires all the storytelling and entertainment that the company continues to create today.”

The Warner brothers – Harry, Jack, Sam and Albert – founded Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

“Besides being a great story about the community, I think this is a timely one, because these days when we seem to be calling into question the value of immigration to our country, this is a story about immigrants who did so much to create the image of what it means to be American to us and to the rest of the world,” added Burbank Librarian Hubert Kozak.

“There are so many young people, and also so many new Burbank residents these days, who don’t know about the central role of Warner Bros. in the development of the film industry in the 20th century, and don’t know that this fabulous history unfolded all here in Burbank where many of the classic movies of all time were made.”

“And many who knew this history have forgotten much about it,” continued Kozak. “It blew my mind to realize that Casablanca was filmed in its entirety just a few blocks from this library.”

The event begins at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13. The interview and Q&A session will take about an hour and the author will sign books afterwards. Books will be available on site for purchase. The event is free to the public.


Coping With Burbank’s Latest Heat Wave

The last week of August is proved to be a hot one, with temperatures reaching into the triple digits. Many of Burbank’s residents are feeling the heat throughout the day, as evidenced by an relatively empty town center in the afternoon.

Photo by Kelsie Hernandez

With the temperature hike, it’s important to know key information to ensure you and your pets stay healthy.

Find Your Nearest Cooling Center

Cooling centers are available around Burbank for anyone stuck in the heat. The most popular place to escape the heat is the Burbank Town Center. While it is undergoing a makeover, there is an open and operating food court located at the bottom floor of the mall. If you’re looking for a longer term solution, AMC 8, also located in the mall, now serves as a dine-in theater.

You can also visit Burbank’s official cooling centers located at each of the city’s libraries:

Buena Vista Library
300 N. Buena Vista St 91505
(818) 238‐5620

Central Library
110 N. Glenoaks Blvd 91502
(818) 238‐5600

Northwest Branch Library
3323 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Keep in mind that these libraries MAY have extended hours. To find out more information regarding extended hours, please call your nearest library.

According to the Red Cross, here are some useful tips when going through a heat wave:

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

You can find more information about heat-related illnesses on their website.

Lastly, Burbank residents can expect temperatures to drop starting Sunday, September 3. Stay safe out there!

Authors Discuss Burbank Farming Past, Present And Future

The co-authors of From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles, Rachel Surls and Judith Gerber, present an illustrated tour of Burbank farming and Southern California’s forgotten history as an agriculture center at the Buena Vista Library on Wednesday, May 3.

“Long before Los Angeles County was the nation’s largest urban center, it was the country’s agricultural heartland, producing an abundance of grain, fruit, vegetables, milk and much more,” explained Surls. “With a special focus on Burbank and surrounding areas, we’ll trace this history from pre-colonial times to the present, including how post WWII development paved over the area’s farm bounty.”

“We’ll show some amazing images from Burbank’s past that will spark discussion about how the current passion for gardening, farmers markets and local food not only ties in with local history, but may also inform the future,” she added.

“Human population has grown from 2 billion to 7.5 billion in the past 100 years and we have an enormous appetite,” commented Kreigh Hampel, Recycling Coordinator for the City of Burbank’s Public Works Department. “By understanding the history of food, water and development, we can better understand the world’s need for secure local food systems.”

“Rachael Surls and Judith Gerber have uncovered L.A.’s agricultural history using their wise insights in urban agriculture, food policy and community gardens,” Hampel also said. “If you think Los Angeles is a food desert, you’ll be delighted to know about the rising focus on healthy soils, local food councils and urban agriculture.”

The library became interested in hosting Surls and Gerber’s presentation on Burbank farming and Southland agricultural history after Amy Hammes from the Burbank Recycle Center showed the film Just Eat It in 2016, explained Librarian Hubert Kozak.

Just Eat It is a documentary about the waste in the food production system from farm to retail to individual households.

“We were surprised by the large audience for this event,” added Kozak. “They asked a lot of questions. It became apparent that this issue resonates not only with consumers and food lovers but also with an entire local network in the community of people concerned about environmental issues and sustainable urban living, including those who are a part of the current urban farming movement.”

From Cows to Concrete makes some of these same connections as it reviews the history of farming in Los Angeles.

“Like all history, it shows us that we have options,” Kozak said. “And among the history programs we do at the library, the ones we like best are those that tell a local story that connects older and younger generations living in this community.”

“Many of us remember growing up in Los Angeles and living in areas that were still in transition from farmlands to suburbia, areas still dotted with open fields and orchards,” he added. “Younger people growing up in this area today just have no idea that the area they lived in was ever anything else, or that life could be lived any other way, and it is important to the decisions they make about their future to know this is not so.”

The illustrated tour of From Cows to Concrete begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free to the public.

Many Worlds of the Robot Coming to Buena Vista Library

What is the difference between a robot and a cyborg and an android and an avatar? 

There is a lot of fear and fantasy floating around about robots these days (the rise of the machines) and in popular imagination the lines are getting blurred concerning these very different but seemingly associated technologies.

Come and join us at the library for a special library STEM event Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library.  JPL Robotics Engineer Megan Richardson will disambiguate things for you as she surveys the field of robotics in a talk featuring some amazing clips of robots in action.  She will be explaining basic principles about what a robot is, why we build them, and how they work (vision and mobility) as she addresses some common myths.

She will give an overview of current and possible future developments in the field of robotics, and talk a bit about how the technology developed for space is linked to new or anticipated technology advances in our daily living, like the self-driving cars that have been in the news recently.

Ms. Richardson’s specialty is designing and building robots for space exploration at JPL.  She is currently working with the Curiosity Rover on Mars, leading a team that is trying to solve some recent problems with the drill mechanism on the rover.  So you will get to learn something about the excitement and challenges of working in this field from a “working” rather than theoretical scientist.

The library is committed to encouraging young people to consider careers in science, technology, and engineering, and in particular we want to show young women that there is a place for them in these fields, that they can pursue their interests in these subjects and make creative and important contributions the way Ms. Richardson is doing.  The library hosted a program last year on the Rise of the Rocket Girls, a book that featured the women at JPL who had worked behind the scenes on the vital calculations for the space program, and there is much current interest on women who had worked in a similar way on the space program in Florida and the east coast during that same period as featured in the popular current film  Hidden Figures.

Ms. Richardson will be bringing along a special guest to this event, NASA’s little demonstration space rover, Rov-E who we understand is planning to do a few tricks involving the audience.  It should be an informative and fun evening.  All the library’s public events are free to the public.  We think this one is going to be popular, and you might want to arrive a bit early!

CEO of the New York Times to Speak at Buena Vista Library to Discuss New Book

Mark Thompson (Photo Courtesy Kathy Ryan)

Mark Thompson (Photo Courtesy Kathy Ryan)

Tonight, Wednesday September 21 at 7:00 p.m.  Mark Thompson, the CEO of the New York Times will beat the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library to discuss his new book, Enough Said:  What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics?”  It’s a subject on everyone’s mind this Presidential election year, and Thompson is uniquely qualified to give us some answers.  He was a long- time journalist with the BBC and eventually became Director General of the BBC.  He has been the CEO of the New York Times since 2012.  He’s been on the frontline, and he’s seen it all.

Why does public language matter?  In Enough Said Thompson argues that the character of our public language is not merely a symptom of deeper and more formative forces in our culture and politics.  He writes, “I want to place it at the heart of the causal nexus.  As much as anything, our shared civic structures, our institutions and organizations, are living bodies of public language, and when it changes so do they.  The crisis in our politics is a crisis of political language.”  He tells us what is at stake, “For some, the instrumentality, the leaching away of substance, the coarsening of expression are essentially cultural disappointments—evidence of some wider dumbing down and failure of seriousness.  For me, the critical risk is not in the realm of culture but that of politics, and in particular, democracy—its legitimacy, the competitive advantage it has historically conferred over other systems of government, and ultimately its sustainability.”  Now that’s something that ought to get your attention.

enough-said-slide1 Thompson takes a critical look at the particular politicians and candidates we expect would be in his purview, but his praise and criticism extend across the political spectrum.  His perspective is independent, his judgments are even-handed.  His tools of analysis are derived from classical rhetorical theory, not politics.  He is unwilling to single out any group—politicians, the public, journalists, or new media technology—as the party to blame for the dismal state of affairs.  In a sophisticated analysis of a problem that has no simple origins or solutions, he traces the dynamic between these groups and parses their share of culpability.  It will not surprise the reader that there is plenty of blame to go around.  Thompson argues for the restoration of rhetoric as “critical persuasion,” and he speaks with eloquence and passion about the role of journalism in sustaining a viable public language.

enough-said-book-jacketThis is an event not to be missed for Burbank’s civic-minded citizens.  The event is free to the public.  You can get a copy of Enough Said at a deeply discounted price at this event, and the author will be happy to sign your book.

Burbank Police Find Body in a Car in Library Parking Lot

The Burbank Police Department received a call  from a city employee around 8:50 Friday morning that there was a person down in a car in the Buena Vista Library Parking lot.

Police Officer Justin Brodrick and Detective Aaron Kay Investigates a Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot  (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Police Officer Justin Brodrick and Detective Aaron Kay Investigates a Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Police Officers responded and found a male collapsed in the doorway of a Honda Accord and requested Burbank Fire Paramedics.

The lifeless body of a male approximately 40 years-old appeared to be deceased. Detectives were called and the scene was secured.

The Buena Vista Library, which is currently closed while staff scans all books and items, was being used for a retirement breakfast for Library Services Director Sharon Cohen.

Guest in attendance were unaware of the activities unfolding in the parking lot.

Police Forensic Specialist Victoria Payson Investigate Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot  (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Police Forensic Specialist Victoria Payson Investigate Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Police found that the death appeared to be of natural causes and nothing appeared to be of suspicious origin.

The Los Angeles County Coroner was called and identification and cause of death will be determined by them.

Police  Detective Marsha Laufer investigates a Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot  (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Police Detective Marsha Laufer investigates a Dead Body found in Car at Buena Vista Library Parking lot (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)