Libraries, Constituent Service Centers

File Taxes for Free at LA County Libraries

Once again it’s that time of year: whether they are sitting down to the kitchen table with pencils, papers and receipts or are assisted by tax preparers and accountants, Americans are in the final flurry of tax time.

Libraries across Los Angeles County, however, are working to ease the pain by providing a new kind of pocket(book) protector—a pilot program from the Internal Revenue Service offers free tax preparation assistance. The website www.MyFreeTaxes.com, guides the user through a step by step process for filing taxes and provides a toll-free number for personal assistance. The site is available to use for free for qualified individuals or families with a combined income of $58,000 or less in 2013. The site will be accessible from public access computers and at library catalogue computers across the county, and libraries also will be prepared with tax forms and extended computer times.

In-person assistance is also being offered at select libraries to provide free tax preparation help to people who make $52,000 or less until April 15. IRS-certified volunteers are also providing free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. The program specializes in assisting disabled taxpayers, those with low income and non-English speaking taxpayers.

Regardless of your income, you can find ways to save money while filing taxes thanks to a host of free materials, events and resources compiled by Los Angeles County Libraries. The only question that remains (hopefully) is — what will you do with your tax refund?

For more information visit the Los Angeles County Library’s Tax Information webpage.

Newest Constituent Service Center Now Open

A beautiful constituent service center in Lennox, adjacent to the city’s library, is now open.

Since taking office in 2008, the Supervisor has invested more than $13 million to upgrade and create constituent service centers in strategic locations throughout the Second District. The centers, fully staffed and open to the public on weekdays, provide venues for town halls and public meetings on important issues, as well as space for ongoing educational programs for residents. In some locations, county agencies such as the Department of Community and Senior Services are on-site to directly serve residents.

“We need to meet our constituents in their communities,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The policy work we do at the Hall of Administration is only part of our mission. By attracting residents to our constituent centers we also create opportunities for members of the community to engage with us and each other, to enable residents to let us know what services they need and how we can help make neighborhoods better.”

services and facilities.


Lennox Library Constituent Service Center

Originally built in 1949, the Lennox Library was the oldest and most outdated library within the County’s Public Library System. The new library will be more than double the size. There will be a children’s section and teen study room, as well as a community meeting room and of course, an adult reading area. There will be nine new public access computers and a community meeting room with seating for 75 people.

Lennox Library Constituent Service Center

  • Located at 4359 Lennox Blvd., Lennox CA 90304
  • Community conference room
  • Teleconference center
  • 10,000 square-foot library
  • Children’s library
  • Teen study room
  • Computer center
  • Supervisor’s staff on-site to serve constituents
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Exposition Park Constituent Service Center

The Exposition Park Constituent Service Center, located adjacent to several popular museums and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, currently features the largest public meeting space of the centers, which has made it possible to host numerous well-attended events there since its 2011 completion, including a Town Hall meeting with Max Huntsman, the County’s new Inspector General overseeing the Sheriff’s Dept, a round table discussions on stormwater pollution control, LAX rail connection options, a discussion on citizen’s oversight of the Sheriff’s Department and a forum on financing clean energy projects.

Exposition Park Constituent Service Center

  • Located at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037
  • Community conference room
  • Teleconference center
  • Environmental Services Center programming
  • Supervisor’s staff on-site to serve constituents
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Florence-Firestone Constituent Service Center

The Florence-Firestone Constituent Service Center, located across the street from the Sheriff’s station, is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays. Also, with an on-site outpost of the County Registrar-Recorder’s office, constituents can easily apply for birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates without traveling to downtown Los Angeles. The facility also offers constituents free access to computers, fitness facilities and a recreation room.

Florence-Firestone Constituent Service Center

  • Located at 7807 S. Compton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90001
  • Community conference room
  • Senior meals program
  • Fitness and Recreation Center
  • Free Community Computer Lab
  • Registrar-Recorder
  • Supervisor’s staff on-site to serve constituents
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Readers Win Awards

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas with award winners DaVonna Fletcher and Bre ‘Auchinae Crocket

DaVonna Fletcher spends most days after school at the AC Bilbrew Library in Willowbrook. A math honors student and member of the school choir at the Inner City Education Foundation School, she was encouraged by her favorite librarian “Miss Daria,” to enter the 34th annual County of Los Angeles Public Library Annual Bookmark Contest. To her surprise, she won.

“I’m grateful to her for encouraging me to read,” said Fletcher, who is 12, and whose bookmark was decorated with spaceships, jungle leaves and flowers to convey the contest’s theme of “Read, Seek and Explore.”

Fletcher, who is in the 7th grade, was one of four winners from the Second District. A total of 24 students were selected countywide for the annual bookmark competition, which is meant to inspire generations of young readers to delve into the rich stories that books offer.

More than 7,000 children throughout the county submitted their work to be selected, and the chosen bookmarks will be professionally printed for library patrons to use.

Bre ‘Auchinae Crockett, 7, created her bookmark at the Woodcrest Public Library, where she also spends most school day afternoons. As a student at Woodcrest Elementary School, she loves to study art but also loves to cozy up with books, including her favorite — Chrysanthemum by Ken Henkes. When she is not reading, she dreams of becoming a police officer.

Two other winners from the Second District, Jeffrey Hata from the Mayme Dear Library in Gardena and Romi Elaine Avelino from the Carson Library, unfortunately were unable to attend the ceremony at the Board of Supervisors .

“Reading is the key to success,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “These youngsters’ lives are enriched every time they visit our libraries and open a book. I commend them for their efforts and love of learning.”

Endeavor’s One Year Anniversary Celebrated with New Exhibit

Calling all astronauts! Coming this week, the California Science Center will be hosting a three-day outer space extravaganza with the opening of the Red Bull Stratos Exhibit. The exhibit will feature the 3,000 pound capsule used by Austrian Felix Baumgartner when he jumped from the earth’s stratosphere and became the first human to break the sound barrier. The exhibit, which runs from Oct. 11-13 also will include talks by NASA scientists and astronauts.

Baumgartner’s free-fall, which took place on October 14, 2012—the same day Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center–reached an estimated speed of 843.6 mph. The Austrian born Baumgartner, who has claimed that “the air” is where he is at home, was a member of a Special Forces demonstration team for the Austrian military and has jumped from Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Taipei 101 tower.

The exhibit includes the actual equipment used during the Red Bull Stratos mission, including Baumgartner’s pressurized spacesuit. The Red Bull Stratos mission helped to advance aerospace safety through the development of a new generation of spacesuits, parachute systems and protocols for exposure to high-altitude and supersonic acceleration and deceleration.

The exhibit tells the story of how man and machine came together and accomplished a mission that required a myriad of collaboration by experts in mathematics, chemistry and physics, scientists and engineers.

In addition, the Endeavour Fest will feature the first screening of Three Nights, Three Days, a new 20-minute documentary on Endeavour’s 68-hour transport through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood. The film takes a closer look at the masterful feat of moving a 150,000-pound national treasure through 12 miles of urban, public streets.

Click here to download the event schedule.

Environmental Service Center at Exposition Park opens on Saturday

Join Supervisor Ridley-Thomas for the opening of the Environmental Service Center at Exposition Park. See the new one-stop shop for environmental resources and programs in the Second Supervisorial District. Join the Community Scientist Program and learn about the environmental research opportunities available for community leaders, teachers, and students. Enjoy a crash course in hydroponic gardens, biodiversity and bioacoustics.

The Environmental Service Center is a “one-stop” location for constituents to get information and assistance with several County initiatives to save residents money, fight global warming and promote economic development and job growth.

Adjacent to the California Science Center, the Science Center Elementary School, the County Natural History Museum and the California African American Museum, the Environmental Service Center is optimally positioned for cooperative educational events.

Below are some of the important resources it provides:

Energy Upgrade California: Los Angeles County has partnered with Southern California Edison and the Southern California Gas Company to save homeowners money. The energy upgrade program encourages homeowners to lower their utility bills by implementing energy-saving upgrades to their houses. Home improvements that qualify for up to $6,000 in rebates and incentives include the installation of sealing, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), VAC upgrades, energy efficient windows and tank-less water heaters. The program emphasizes a “whole house” approach, rather than installing individual improvements, as the most efficient and effective way to save money on energy bills. For more information, visit www.energyupgradeca.org.

Green
Building Program: Developers can come to the center to learn how to efficiently comply with the County’s Green Building standards. Residents can find ways to save thousands of dollars through programs such as energy-saving home improvement subsidies from utility companies.

Public Transit:
In partnership with MTA, the center will serve as a location to purchase TAP cards, find vanpool information and get other transit-related assistance.

Drought Tolerant Landscaping and Low-Impact Development:
The center will provide educational programs and information on financial incentives for homeowners, businesses and developers on state-of-the-art water conservation techniques.

Administrative Offices East
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Download the flyer here.

To RSVP, please contact Omar at (213) 741-9292.