Renewing the faith: A Visit to Sims Library

I’m in a poetry publishing class this 2021-2022 “school” year with Community Literature Initiative. One of our requirements is to do some quality time volunteering in the poetry universe. While I’m in Plumas County half the time and busy organizing a reading of poetry and prose in February for those wanting to voice their grief and healing with the Dixie Fire for February, I thought I’d go check out the Sims Library of Poetry. Also–I am still grieving my loss of poetry books that went up in the Dixie Fire. Some of my all time favorites went up in the fire. A library sounded like a good place to heal.

This was still my mind that Saturday, late afternoon when I arrived:

Above is the photo I took the week before of the corner of my office. There were 954 books in there. That crumpled mess by the two burnt out digital cameras is my favorite typewriter. I was choked up. But when I arrived at the Sims Library of Poetry, I felt at ease.

The magnificent Sims Library of Poetry at 2702 W. Florence Avenue in Los Angeles.

You walk in the door and hear laughter from children in the courtyard and the sound of a poetry class zoom on the inside. Then you see the room and it is amazing and awe inspiring.

So many titles! All sorts of poetry from all ages of poetry but what particularly caught my eye was the collection of southern California based poets. The Sims is growing its African American and Latina/o/x Chicana/o/ collections. Hoping to see an Asian American collection starting soon (there were some titles).

There’s a campaign to raise funding for the library and the website can show you to a wishlist. I donated some face masks on their wish list.

I shelved for a couple of hours and vacuumed and cataloged. I’d gotten their late so I only got two of my four hours of volunteer time in but I’m planning on coming in again as soon as I can go back to Los Angeles. I loved seeing a children’s section. Loved overhearing people check out books and talk about poetry. I found many copies of books I used to own before the fire. I got a little teary about that a few times, and I realized I thought of my collection like a wall of friends who had my back. Strength in volumes. In numbers. It was a great place to be on a late Saturday afternoon. If you’re looking at making a difference –send some love , books, and funds to Sims.

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