News & Events

The Big Read Finale



Redlands has been reading “Bless Me, Ultima” for the past six weeks

The Big Read Redlands will celebrate its grand finale on Sunday, April 27, from 1 PM to 4 PM in the A.K. Smiley Library Assembly Room. The event is free and open to the public. You are invited to attend and explore themes surrounding the book, “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rodolfo Anaya; Peruse a display of books that have been banned and burned, get free copies of “Bless Me, Ultima” other frequently banned books.

To highlight one of the themes which runs throughout Anaya’s book, a live owl will be on display between 2 and 3pm.  In the book, Ultima’s owl represents her life force and the power of her religious mysticism.  Visitors will have the chance to meet an owl close-up in order to understand why this powerful bird plays such a key role in the novel.  The owl will be displayed by Wild Wonders, a nonprofit group whose goal is to excite the public and foster a desire to preserve and learn about wildlife and the important role they play in the planet we share.

There will free refreshments and music for those in attendance.  Grab some food and join in the fun.  A representative from the Book Craftsman, a book bindery in Mentone, will be here displaying the process of book binding and repair. 

At 3pm, Jennifer Avila, a doctoral candidate at UC Riverside, will lead a general discussion on “Bless Me, Ultima’ as well as providing some general comments.

Over the past six weeks, Redlands residents (and many from elsewhere in the Inland Empire) have been taking part in discussions and programs about Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima” and related topics. Participants have discussed subjects such as: why are certain books banned; what makes for a coming of age story and why coming of age stories are so popular; can a novel like “Bless Me, Ultima” make the transition to full-length feature film and retain its integrity (the consensus answer from various sessions was yes); and, does this book play a role in the Chican@/Latin@ literary canon forty years after its first publication. Book clubs throughout the city and beyond have read and talked about “Bless Me, Ultima”. Volunteers from the University of Redlands, Crafton Hills College and the A.K. Smiley Public Library have led discussions with varied groups of participants.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

For More Information Contact:
A.K. Smiley Library
(909) 798-7565

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Flying The Lindbergh Line

Flying in the early 20th Century was dangerous business. Aircraft were made of sticks and cloth and their engines failed at an alarming rate. Those who flew experienced a high incidence of accidents. Almost every pilot had stories of seized engines, landing or takeoff mishaps, becoming lost, bad fuel, dangerous weather and lost friends.

However, some saw this stumbling attempt to master the skies as an opportunity to bring the human race forward. They had a vision of stylish travel across the ground and into the heavens with comfort, speed and profit. Such was the vision of Transcontinental Air Transport’s Lindbergh Line that began the first scheduled coast-to-coast airline passenger service in 1929. It teamed with aviation visionaries Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart to build a new industry. That industry’s successful struggle evolved into our modern airline passenger service, one that carries us across the continent and across the world.

Join us for a PowerPoint Presentation and Book Signing on the history of TAT as it developed into the airline giant TWA.

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Faegre Art Exhibit April 13th-20th

Pastel and acrylic artist Brad Faegre, who has been associated with Redlands for more than 25 years, will be featured in a one-man exhibition of his Redlands scenes. The exhibition, sponsored by A.K.Smiley Public Library, will take place from April 13-20 in the Library’s Assembly Room, with an opening reception on April 13 from 4-6 pm.

 ”Brad is a very talented artist who has been a great supporter of the Smiley over the years. We are fortunate to have several of his prints in the library’s holdings” said Library Director Don McCue.” We are very pleased to be able to collaborate with Brad in displaying some of his original paintings and drawings for the enjoyment of our patrons.”

Exhibition hours for the week-long show will be Monday- Saturday, 11-5 and Sunday, 1-5.  All of the works in the exhibit are available for purchase, with part of the proceeds going to the Library.

Mr. Faegre’s  watercolors, pastels, acrylics and oils have been featured in numerous magazines and books, including Pastel Artists International, American Artist and the Pastel Journal. He served as president of the San Bernardino County Museum’s Fine Arts Institute, and was featured artist in 2010 at the annual “Art for Heaven’s Sake” and at the University of Redlands Alumni House in 1999.  He also has been chosen as Artist in Residence, Yosemite National Park and has had exhibits there and at Grand Canyon National Park.

 ”I was a stranger from North Orange County when I came to Redlands for the first time in 1987,” Faegre said. “I was here to enter an art competition and was treated like a friend and neighbor by show organizers. That experience inspired me to return, again and again, eventually to live and work here.”

“There is a saying that a place must be lovely to be loved,” he continued. ” Redlands fits that description. What is lovely in people is usually transferred to ‘the street.’ It shows up in warm hails and greetings and the efforts of a community to design and build a lasting and rewarding life. I’ve spent a lot of time savoring these qualities in Redlands and expressing them in my art: the town’s broad avenues, winding hilltop roads, light and shadow-rhythms of mature trees and public buildings, parks and homes, punctuated by citrus orchards and basin and range vistas.”

Faegre currently has 89 original paintings and drawings of Redlands of which about 40 will be on display. Visitors to the exhibit will also be able to watch a revolving digital “slide show” of all his Redlands work, as well as a sampling of other favorite subjects.

 ”For three years in the early ’90s I lived in nearby Oak Glen,” he said. “I enjoyed those mountains, but I sketched and painted more in this town with friends, like George Riday. George was one of those warm and inviting Redlands artists who befriended me that first day. Others were Sheila Hansberger, Roberta Thole ,Allan Griesemer, and Monte and Nelda Stuck. “Several works in this show are plein air efforts created while on outings with George and others. I discovered several drawings and paintings of this area in a flat file last year and am showing them for the first time.”

 Faegre said, “A personal thanks must go to Shirley Harry for pulling me closer to Redlands when she opened her EOS Art Gallery downtown in 2001. Her shows and friendship caused me to make more visits after I moved back to North Orange County to care for family.” For further information about the exhibit  please contact Smiley Library at 909 798-7565.

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Lincoln Memorial Shrine to present Civil War Musical Duo on April 5th

Lincoln Memorial Shrine to present Civil War Musical Duo on April 5th

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is proud to present acclaimed minstrel duo Suzanne and Jim Hale at the Contemporary Club on Saturday, April 5th at 3:00 P.M. Suzanne and Jim will perform “Civil War Times: The People’s Favourites”,  a presentation of music popular during the American Civil War. Conceptualized through their historical research on music of the Civil War-era, Suzanne and Jim transport their audience back to America in the mid-19th century. The presentation features the favorite waltzes of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, as well as melodies that civilians and soldiers sang to leave strife behind, including “O’ Susannah”, “Some Folks Do”, and “Home, Sweet Home.”

This is the second consecutive year that Suzanne and Jim will perform for a Redlands audience. Their exclusive performance last year for members of the Watchorn Lincoln Memorial Association was so well-received that Don McCue, Director of A.K. Smiley Public Library and the Lincoln Memorial Shrine, decided to make it available to the public. “Following their great performance last spring, we knew that we wanted to share this event with a wider audience. We are grateful to our friends at the Contemporary Club for graciously opening their doors to us to make this event possible. We’re excited to share this with Redlanders and anyone interested in music and history,” McCue said.

This free event is open to the public on first-come first-serve basis. The Contemporary Club is located at 173 S Eureka St. in Redlands, behind the Lincoln Memorial Shrine. For more information, please contact the Heritage Room of Smiley Library at (909) 798-7632 or To learn more about Suzanne and Jim, visit:

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Help Barnes & Noble support A.K. Smiley Public Library

Help Barnes & Noble support A.K. Smiley Public Library at an in-store and online fundraiser between March 22 and 27. Mention Smiley Library at checkout and a portion of your purchase will go to the library! Online shoppers can enter Bookfair ID 11302437 at checkout. The fundraiser will kick off with an in-store book signing and presentation by co-authors Ann Deegan and Maria Carrillo on Saturday, March 22nd at 1:00pm. Ann and Maria will discuss their recent book Images of America: Early Redlands and will show the images that inspired their work. A book signing will follow the presentation.

A.K. Smiley Public Library is located at 125 West Vine Street in Redlands. For more information, please contact the Heritage Room, (909)798-7632. Barnes & Noble is located in Citrus Plaza at 27460 Lugonia Ave. in Redlands.

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The Big Read Redlands 2014

The Big Read Redlands 2014


The University of Redlands, in partnership with A.K. Smiley Public Library and Crafton Hills College ANNOUNCES THE KICK-OFF OF THE BIG READ IN REDLANDS

 REDLANDS will come together to
read and celebrate Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima

Redlands, CA, February 19, 2014 —The University of Redlands, in partnership with the A.K. Smiley Public Library and Crafton Hills College will launch its Big Read program in celebration of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima with a community gathering and discussion on Saturday, March 1.

The kick-off event will feature music and dance as well a conversation led by Carlos E. Cortés, Professor Emeritus of History at University of California, Riverside. The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 1 pm to 4 pm in the Orton Center at the University of Redlands. Refreshments will be served. Dr. Cortés will speak at 2:30 pm.

 Leela MadhavaRau, Special Advisor to the President and Associate Dean for Campus Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Redlands commented, “The reasons we selected Bless Me, Ultima for our Big Read are best summarized by Luis Torres (

First published by a small publishing house back in 1972 it has since sold nearly a half-a-million copies. It has satisfied readers, both Latino and non-Latino, with its impeccable storytelling and its universal analysis of the threshold between innocence and understanding, between wonder and awareness, between the power of the spirit and the presumed rationality of the intellect. It is about the power of myth and legacy. Now published and distributed by a mainstream publishing house, it is still enthralling readers. It has won the praise of critics and captured the hearts of readers in the United States and beyond. And deservedly so.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. Redlands is one of 77 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2013-June 2014. From March 1 through April 19, our community will celebrate Bless Me, Ultima with a full calendar of events including book discussions, a movie series focusing on ‘coming-of-age’ stories and other relevant activities.

MadhavaRau said, “I am delighted that we can be a part of a program that encourages a community to come together to talk about both a specific book as well as the importance of reading. Over the past few years as I read about fewer Americans reading, I have become more passionate about the need to get books into people’s hands and re-ignite the love of words that is innate in us all.”

Copies of Bless Me, Ultima will be available at all events, as well as at the A.K. Smiley Public Library and Campus Diversity and Inclusion (Hunsaker Center) at the University of Redlands.

For more information on this event, please contact Leela MadhavaRau at 909-748-8285 or via e-mail: You also can view a full calendar of events for The Big Read in Redlands here. Further information is also available on Facebook.


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The 8th Quadrennial A.K. Smiley Library Gala

The 8th Quadrennial A.K. Smiley Library Gala

“Preserve, Innovate, and Inspire: Creating the Library of the Future”

Saturday, March First, Two Thousand Fourteen
A. K. Smiley Public Library
Social hour begins at half past five in the evening with appetizers, silent auction, and wine/beer
Followed by dinner
Black tie optional
For further information and to obtain an invitation, you may contact the Library Director’s office at (909) 798-7565 or
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Smiley Library to Offer Local History Class

Smiley Library to Offer Local History Class

Larry Burgess and Tom Atchley are offering their Redlands Intensive class which focuses on the history of Redlands. The class will begin Tuesday, February 18, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will run for eight weeks ending on April 8. All classes will be held at the Smiley Library

The eight-week series is sponsored by the Library Board of Trustees for a fee of $30.00 per person. All proceeds go to the acquisition fund for the Redlands Heritage Room.

The class is limited in size and reservations can be made either by e-mail at or by calling the Library Director’s Office at 798-7565.

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New Book on Redlands History on November 24

New Book on Redlands History on November 24

If you have ever seen a 100-year-old photograph and marveled at its clarity and composition, it is likely that you were noticing the work of aprofessional photographer. In the days before personal cameras were commonplace, professional photographers were essential members of communities. From promotional photography for tourism or businesses, to family portraits or school photography, the work of early professional photographers documented the growth of cities and the lives of the people who lived there.

Co-authored by Ann Deegan and Maria Carrillo, Images of America: Early Redlands explores Redlands through the lens of the professional photographers who lived and worked here between 1880 and 1920. Utilizing images solely from the Archives of A.K. Smiley Public Library, this book examines the work of the 34 professional photographers who captured Redlands in its formative years. “These photographs reveal the aesthetics and technical skills of the men and women who photographed Redlands in those early years,” Ann Deegan noted. Co-author Maria Carrillo added, “The clarity of these photographs is truly impressive. It is almost as if the viewer can walk through the photograph and see early Redlands. They are a true testament to the extraordinary photography collection of the Heritage Room.”

Also included is a how-to chapter detailing how Deegan and Carrillo’s research can be applied to other communities. “What makes this book unique in the Images of America series is that it includes a chapter on how we identified Redlands photographers and used information about the photographers to date photographs. This is a useful tool for other communities and groups to date their own photographs,” explained Deegan.

Images of America: Early Redlands is now available for purchase at the Smiley Library circulation desk. All proceeds from the book will benefit the special collections of the library in the Heritage Room.

A.K. Smiley Public Library is located at 125 West Vine Street in Redlands. For more information, please contact the Heritage Room, (909)798-7632.

About the Authors:

Ann Deegan received her Ph.D. in Textile History at University of Maryland minoring in U.S. History with her dissertation related to the American Civil War, and has an M.S. and B.S. from the University of California, Davis. She has taught at numerous universities over the last 30 years including University of Maryland, Kansas State University, Utah State University, University of Redlands, and UC Riverside. Topics have included Museum studies, U.S. history, and a variety of courses related to the history of costumes and textiles. Additionally she has been a curator of history in private and public museums including the San Bernardino County Museum as Curator of History and Head of the History Division. She does research, writing, and publishing in areas such as U.S. history and has numerous publications in professional and public journals. She is currently serving as a consultant in the Heritage Room of A.K. Smiley Public Library related to cataloging of archival materials.

Maria Y. Carrillo received a bachelor’s degree in history from California State University, Fullerton in 2005. She then decided to pursue a career in the museum and historic preservation field and continued on for a master’s degree in history from University of California, Riverside in 2008. As a graduate student she worked as a museum intern at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield in Dover, Tennessee. She has served as curator, collections manager, historic interpreter, and researcher for museums and cultural institutions in southern California. She is currently associate archivist at A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, California, where this new work by Arcadia Publishing is set.


Orange and State Streets, Fourth of July 1901, Photographer: Elias F. Everitt


A.K. Smiley Public Library east wing after expansion, 1907, Photographer: Elias F. Everitt


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AKSPL goes mobile

AKSPL goes mobile

AKSPL for You – mobile app (beta test)
Available for iOS devices

With AKSPL for You you can browse the library catalog and view your account information all from your smart phone. 

Social recommendations, barcode scanning, and bestseller list make finding books more convenient than ever.  

AKSPL for You is available in the app store.  Find the app under keywords: akspl; aksmiley; redlands; library

We welcome your suggestions:

AKSPL is for YOU


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Ebooks – Downloadable books & audiobooks

Ebooks – Downloadable books & audiobooks

Download a digital book from Overdrive’s Southern California Digital Library  with your 14-digit AKSPL card number &  PIN.

Need help getting started?  View how-to videos on the Overdrive Channel hosted on YouTube or visit our eBook online access page for more information.


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Will J’s Coffee Cafe – Located Downstairs

Will J’s Coffee Cafe – Located Downstairs

Will J’s Coffee Cafe on the lower level of AKSPL offers a variety of coffees, teas, and hot chocolate. 

The new cafe has tables and chairs where patrons can sit and enjoy their drinks, but you are also welcome to enjoy your covered beverage throughout the library, except in areas near public computers.

The newly designed coffee bar was funded by the Will J. Reid Foundation and was specifically designed to be enjoyed by study groups, wireless users, and book lovers alike.

Enjoy your stay.

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Book Clubs – Join the Conversation

Book Clubs – Join the Conversation

Exploring Literature that shaped Western Civilization




Join the Great Conversation

Every First Thursday

First Book: Epic of Gilgamesh

(More will be added)

Great Ideas Welcomed





First Meeting

Dec. 1st 4pm,

In the A.K. Smiley Library Tower Room

Limited Space: RSVP!

(909) 335-5984

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Redlands Adult Literacy Program

Redlands Adult Literacy Program

The Redlands Adult Literacy Program has been awarded a 2011 Community Impact Fund Grant of $9534 from the Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The grant will be used to develop an adult literacy computer lab at the A. K. Smiley Public Library, expand public outreach to adult learners in the Redlands community and enhance the adult literacy tutor training program.

Stay posted to learn more about these enhancements to the Redlands Adult Literacy Program!

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