Why We Need a New Federal Writers’ Project

This piece originally appeared on thenation.com

Libros founder, David Kipen, enumerates the many reasons that a new federal writers’ project is just what we need, at this time of collective crisis. This project, like its predecessor, would be the proverbial tide that lifts all boats — er writers — at all stages of their careers and from all backgrounds. Worth the read.


Let your representative know that you support the idea, and tell your friends.

We Are Turning 11! – Come Get Your Books!

We are turning 11!  Come get five free books per person, to celebrate!  In store only, during the month of July.

Libros Schmibros Lending Library is turning 11, on July 19, 2021! That’s eleven years sharing books with the Community, we are thrilled to be able to continue to do what we love. To celebrate, come get five free books per person. Offer good in store only, throughout the month of July. Our hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 to 6 PM.

All we ask in return is that you share with us a picture of you with your books, or just your books if you are camera shy. We understand. #freebooks #librosschmibros #11yearsofreading

What a year! Who couldn’t use a little lift from a book? Books, the original stay-cation! And the options are pretty wide open. You could get one every week in July. You could get two this week and bring a different friend every week for the next three weeks. You could get five today and share them with four friends. Whatever you do, come get your books! And, enjoy.

A New Deal for Writers in America – The New York Times

Hello, booklovers — and get a load of this, hot off the presses:

Never mind that I’m quoted in this NYT op-ed about the 21st-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act — just please read it and consider forwarding it to your member of Congress and senator. (Not sure who that is? Find out here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.) And thanks!

Are you still on the fence about supporting the Writers’ Project Act? Just think of all the books on our shelves at Libros Schmibros that, but for the original New Deal project, might never have been written. There’d be a gap on the Fiction Wall where Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God used to go. The B’s and the E’s there would look a lot thinner without Ralph Ellison and his friend Saul Bellow shelved where they belong. And what happened to John Cheever and Richard Wright?

The Crime Shelf? Kiss Jim Thompson goodbye. Environmental? Loren Eiseley would have gone extinct, too. And think how impoverished the Poetry Shelf would feel without Kenneth Rexroth, Claude McKay or Weldon Kees.

During the Depression, all these writers cut their teeth on the Writers’ Project. And don’t forget the Project’s own greatest monument: the WPA Guides that all these writers helped create. In just eight years, the FWP created cheap, informative, often funny, still delightful booklength Guides to all 48 states, and 40 American cities besides. Many of them appear on our shelves too, whether in their original editions…

Read more about the WPA Federal Writer’s Project and why it’s a good idea to support HR3054 the 21st-century Federal Writer’s Project, here. Read the New York Times opinion that came out today here.

Carribean Fragoza Interview

New on the Libros Schmibros Podcast, the Carribean Fragoza Interview.

Vickie Vertiz in conversation with Carribean Fragoza, writer and artist from South El Monte. Her debut collection of stories Eat the Mouth That Feeds You was recently published by City Lights.
Vickie Vertiz is a poet, educator, and frequently collaborates with Carribean Fragoza. 

Learn more about Ms. Fragoza, and purchase her books here:

Available on:

YouTube  |  Spotify  |  Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  other platforms

John Freeman Interview

New on the Libros Schmibros Podcast, the John Freeman Interview.

David Kipen in conversation with writer and literary critic John Freeman. Freeman is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story, a selection of short fiction from 1970 to 2020. 

Available on:

YouTube  |  Spotify  |  Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  other platforms

Bloomsday at Libros!

As part of Ireland’s global diplomatic effort, the Irish Consulate of Los Angeles is generously donating to Libros many English and Spanish language versions of Joyce’s Ulysses, as well as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners. Come by and pick yours up! 

While supplies last. We are open Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6 PM.

Continue reading “Bloomsday at Libros!”

Rick West Interview – The Libros Schmibros Podcast

The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs’ presents David Kipen in conversation with Rick West, President and CEO of the Autry Museum, who will be retiring from his position at the end of the month. Rick is also the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. This (admittedly loooong) interview appears as part of the Cultural Affairs department’s Big Read of Louise Erdrich’s novel The Roundhouse.

Available on:

YouTube  |  Spotify  |  Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  other platforms

Latest News on the 21st Century Writers’ Project Act

June 3, 2021 Representative Ted Lieu and David Kipen discuss the 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project with LA Times Today. Click through to see the Twitter video or the full Los Angeles Times Today / Spectrum News 1 segment, courtesy of Representative Ted Lieu’s YouTube channel.

PEN Pops: Libros Schmibros Lending Library

Thank you to PEN America for this wonderful video featuring Libros Schmibros and our Founder, David Kipen. In which David reminisces about the original location near the post office, the location on Mariachi Plaza and the three years new location in the historic Boyle Hotel.

Also featured is Cuauhtemoc H., Library Manager, speaking about how Libros is always looking for new ways to utilize the space, in addition to book lending. We are open, Wednesday through Sunday 12 to 6 PM. Come by and get a book!

The video is also available on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CPI7ykSBgLp/