The South Pasadena Library Conference Room on the second floor was renamed in honor of Ray Bradbury (1920-2010) in 2013. The extraordinary author spent much time in South Pasadena and often remarked that it reminded him of his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois.
During his later years, Bradbury and his plays appeared many times at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena and he appeared for the South Pasadena Public Library a couple of times, including for his 90th Birthday Celebration. Bradbury also gave the Library Measure L Committee its slogan: “Without libraries, what have we? No past, no present, and no future”
Since Ray Bradbury’s passing, the Library has conducted numerous popular Bradbury-themed events including the screening of “Halloween Tree,” “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “It Came From Outer Space.” On March 22, 2019 the Library presented the debut performance of “Ray Bradbury Live (forever)” starring Emmy Award-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. before a packed house in the Library Community Room.
To Honor and help continue Bradbury’s amazing legacy, the Library is also developing its collection of Ray Bradbury materials, including many rare items that are being housed in a special reference collection in the Conference Room that bears his name. More than 100 rare Bradbury items have been donated for the room by his friends, colleagues, and admirers.
Most recently, Doris and Jerry Selmer have donated two items to the Library’s Ray Bradbury Conference Room. A signed first edition with a dust jacket of “The Stories of Ray Bradbury” inscribed to them in 1982 was given, along with another autographed book that is so rare that the Bradbury family doesn’t even have a copy. “The Climate of Palettes” is a miniature poetry book signed by Bradbury has been framed in a beautiful shadow box by Mission Framing for display in the room.
It was published in a very limited run by Lord John Press of Northridge, California in 1989. The first edition was limited to only 150 signed copies. It will soon be displayed on a wall in the room, along with 2 of the 4 poems it contains hanging beside it in framed reproductions. Permission to reproduce the two poems is provided by Ray Bradbury Literary Works, LLC so that visitors from the room can read a couple of the poems the tiny book contains. The poems also reveal a literary side of Bradbury not commonly known.
Native Californians, Doris and Jerry Selmer lived most of their lives in the San Gabriel Valley. Both have been avid book readers, reviewers and collectors for many years. They were able to meet Ray Bradbury on many occasions and considered him a fine author and special friend. Their donation of the two unique, autographed books by Bradbury are appropriately placed at the South Pasadena Public Library, a place he so loved.
Members of the International Miniature Book Society, Doris served as their president and even hosted a Miniature Book Society Conclave in the ‘90s in Pasadena. Jerry was a longtime member and past president of the Zamorano Club, Southern California’s oldest organization of bibliophiles and manuscript collectors.
Doris and Jerry were very involved with the Arcadia Public Library. Both served for 8 years each on the Library Board of Trustees at separate times. They have also been members of the Friends of the Arcadia Public Library for over 50 years, both serving in various capacities on their Board which included the office of President for each of them for multiple terms. Doris was in charge of sorting all donations for the Friends’ annual book sale and more recently their bookstore.
Jerry served as Executive Director of the Southwest Museum for three years after retiring from his career with the City of Los Angeles. Doris and Jerry even published a miniature book about the museum, The First Museum of Los Angeles. They were members of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners. Additionally, they were members of various other historical organizations, as this was one of their main interests throughout their married life.
This article was written and produced by Steve Fjeldsted, Director of the South Pasadena Public Library