Echo Park library volunteers want to roll away with a blue book cart

Lisa Baca Sigala wants a new set of wheels. But she’s not interested in a big SUV or energy sipping hybrid. Instead,  Baca, an  Echo Park Library volunteer, has her eyes set on a sky-blue, all-steel Buffalo Booktruck. It does not go very fast but it can carry up to 400 pounds of books, which would make life much easier for volunteers during book sales and other events held by the Echo Park Library Community Group.  But the Buffalo Booktruck costs about $400, and it’s one of the many items  and services that the library group wants to purchase to support the branch. So, on Saturday, the Echo Park Library Community Group will be holding a Summer Book Sale to raise the enough money to form a nonprofit – or 501C3 – corporation.  Operating as a nonprofit, said Baca, would allow the group to apply for bigger grants to pay for a fleet of Buffalo Booktruck as well as to fund arts and music programs, support the library’s computer lab and knitting club and start a gardening club.

We need to become our own long-term, sustainable, stand-on-our-own-two-feet nonprofit force dedicated to championing the needs of the Echo Park Library,” said Sigala by email.  “When the Echo Park Library Community Group gets their 501 c 3 nonprofit status, we can raise funds in larger grant amounts than $10 – $50 memberships or  25 cents” book sales.

The Summer Book Sale begins at noon.


  1. I understand one’s wish to help out those at the library, but given the current budget and staffing situation why is this focusing on helping a volunteer? No disrespect intended towards Baca, but shouldn’t the library’s priorities be focused on helping out the staff, especially since staff and operation hours have been horribly cut due to the city council’s unwillingness to give the library system (that they built up) a proper budget?
    Knowing that the librarians at the desk don’t have enough support to carry out their jobs is far more troubling to me than a volunteer that wants a new cart or to add extra programs. What good is a gardening club when the library keeps reducing its hours? And shouldn’t the individual library branches be trying to help the library as a whole rather than just themselves?

  2. ‘Seriously’ How do give the staff more hours if the city won’t pay for it? what the volunteers are doing is great…there are doing things that will produce results quickly.

    The $400 for a book cart is super inflated though! They better not buy a $400 book cart….you can get one on Ebay for $80 with free shipping! It just not ‘Blue’ like the title of the article says….


  3. Lisa Baca-Sigala

    Thank you EastiderLA for promoting the Echo Park Library Community Group’s July 31st book sale efforts.

    The City of Los Angeles Library enters into Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with local branches to establish “Friends” groups as fundraising support for the individual local branches in each community.

    Echo Park Library Community Group (EPLCOG) has the MOA with the City of Los Angeles and serves as 100%volunteer support for Echo Park library staff and programs.

    We work closely with the library Branch Manager, Lisa Palombi, and her staff to fill in the needs created by the many City of Los Angeles budget cuts. This summer EPLCOG was able to raise funds to sponsor TWO summer programs requested by the library.

    Every donation goes back to support the Echo Park Library.
    See you all 12noon Saturday!
    Lisa Baca-Sigala, Treasurer
    Echo Park Library Community Group

  4. Personally, I think the article could have benefited with some background information about what Los Angeles Libraries are going through with the closures of libraries to only five day service.

    Additionally, there ought to be a larger picture explanation that the Echo Park group can only fundraise for extras, such as programs, books, some equipment, etc., but cannot help pay to bring back the much needed library staff that have been laid off or sorely missed library hours. Most individual libraries have an organization that fundraises for these extras: Chinatown, Silver Lake, etc.

    I hope that the Echo Park group is active in advocating and mobilizing its members to push City Council and the Mayor to restore Library funding and restore library hours to full service again.

  5. Many LAUSD schools buy similar carts for teachers that have to rove at year round schools but their are fewer year round schools every year. Someone should be on the lookout for a LAUSD salvage sale. My classroom has several but we’re year round for one or two more years.

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