Support the 21st-century Federal Writers Project

Hello, booklovers — and get a load of this, hot off the presses:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/opinion/federal-writers-project.html.

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…

Cover image of the WPA era original California - A Guide to the Golden State, created as part of the Federal Writer’s Project
Cover image of the WPA era original California – A Guide to the Golden State, created as part of the Federal Writer’s Project

or in reprints, like this one from UC Press:

Los Angeles in the 1930s - The WPA Guide to the City of Angels
Los Angeles in the 1930s – The WPA Guide to the City of Angels

(Read the small print and win a prize!)

So that’s what Libros and I have been up to, how’s your summer going? In addition to all our work on the e 21st-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act (aka House Resolution 3054), Libros is gearing up again for our Summer Fellowships. They’ll spill over into fall this year, so students can actually get out and explore the city they’ll be reading about.

All that, plus our other programs old and new — and, of course, the Libros Schmibros Lending Library itself. We’re back to our usual hours too, thank heaven, Wednesday through Sunday from noon til 6, up in the old Boyle Hotel, across from the Mariachi Plaza Metro station. Why not come pick up a book and chew the fat again? (Fat-free options available!)

All finest,

David and the whole Libros team