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20 Under 30: Eileen Ybarra

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Happy Summer Solstice! Summer is finally here. It's time to chill out, take a vacation, sit on the beach and get lost in a good book. Angelenos are lucky to have so many literary choices and librarians like Eileen Ybarra, a young adult librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library, to guide our tastes. As Eileen notes below, the library is still one of the best places to access information, preserve free speech and celebrate the life of the mind.

Age and Occupation:
Young Adult Librarian, 28 years old

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do
you live in?: I've lived in L.A. County my whole life, born and raised. I’ve lived in Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Boyle Heights, West Covina, Whittier, Pico Rivera, Palms, and Pasadena. I currently live in Glendale.

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Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I used to think it was just because I wanted to stay close to my friends and family, but after doing a little traveling, I realize that L.A. is as much a part of who I am as anything else. If I leave L.A. it's like leaving a part of me behind. I think L.A. allows people the freedom to be who they want to be, and to be untethered in a way that is not possible in many other places.

Why are you a young adult librarian?
I became a librarian to help people foster a sense of self-empowerment within them. I also was attracted to librarianship because of the sense of freedom, exploration and intellectual curiosity that is possible through using the library. With teens that process is a lot more fun and interesting. They tend to be enthusiastic about their interests and are still open to learning and knowledge. I really enjoy how straightforward and direct they tend to be too. They like what they like and are not shy about letting their preferences be known. I find that teens are often most concerned about having fun and being engaged. I like being around that kind of energy.

Is LA a town of readers?
I think that the continual success of the LAPL branches renovation and re-openings show the support and pride that people here take in learning and growing through reading. The annual Festival of Books also points to this fact.