LA Public Library adds new role — it’s now a book publisher – Orange County Register


A library houses books, sure, but can a library actually create them too?

That’s just what the Los Angeles Public Library, a storied institution in Southern California for more than 150 years, has taken on. The library system manages 73 branches in the Los Angeles area and is home to more than eight million books. And, as of December 2023, the library also became a publisher of them when it acquired Angel City Press.

After 30 years of ownership, Angel City Press co-founders Paddy Calistro and Scott McAuley announced their retirement and approached the library with an offer to donate the publishing operation to them. The library accepted, and Angel City Press at the Los Angeles Public Library was born.

City librarian John F. Szabo says Angel City Press’ tradition of highlighting the rich culture of Los Angeles will carry on under the library’s management.

“Angel City Press has been a local publisher of wonderful, high-quality, award-winning nonfiction books focused on the art, architecture, history and personalities of L.A. and Southern California since 1992,” says Szabo. “We recognize that their mission is a natural extension of our own: to amplify the voices of authors, celebrate their work and preserve their stories.”

This acquisition has been well received throughout publishing, Szabo says.

“Really, the response by the publishing world, as well as the literary world, the library world and Angelenos, has been great,” he adds. “People are especially excited that the Los Angeles Public Library will not only be a place where people can check out books, but a place where new books will be written, shared and celebrated.”

As a publisher, they intend to stand out among presses of similar size, Szabo says.

“Our plan is to remain true to our core strengths: to spotlight L.A.’s diverse tapestry of people, places, art, history and trends that have captivated the world. We’re committed to preserving L.A. history, and we get excited about telling untold stories of L.A., too. Angel City Press at the Los Angeles Public Library will continue to do that through books that help shape our understanding of Los Angeles. We want readers to experience L.A. through the eyes of others.”

They have big plans for their upcoming lineup of books, says editorial director Terri Accomazzo, who retains her position under the library’s new management of the press.

Several new releases are on its 2024 schedule: a book about the lost communities of Terminal Island; a history of the Santa Monica Pier; a book about California’s heritage landscapes; an essay collection of California writers; books about the New Wave community and the Vietnamese Diaspora; and a look at the art and style of mid-century American bowling culture.

More information on its offerings is available at Angel City Press.

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