Library given 700 Armenian-language books

Library given 700 Armenian-language books
By Alex Dobuzinskis, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Daily News, CA
Oct 15 2004

BURBANK — About 700 Armenian-language books from the estate of
a local teacher have been donated to the Burbank Public Library,
nearly doubling its collection of works related to that culture. The
books were donated by the family of Khatchik Araradian of Hollywood,
who died last year at age 90. They should appear on library shelves
within three months.

“There’s a lot of older people in Burbank, older Armenians, who don’t
necessarily have the money to buy these books brand-new, so they
could go in and check it out and read it,” said Bedig Araradian, 45,
of Burbank, a nephew of the teacher.

The volumes include a translation of P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins”
and a translation of plays by William Saroyan. There are also books
by famous Armenian authors, such as Avetik Isahakyan, Silva Kaputikyan
and Hakob Oshakan.

There are also textbooks and other nonfiction in the donation.

Librarian Isabelle Kotikian said she expects nearly all the books to
be added to the library’s collection.

The Burbank library has about 400,000 books — about 8,663 of them
in non-English languages including Spanish, French and Japanese.

Araradian taught children about plays and theater at local Armenian
schools, including Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary in Encino. His
interest in theater shows up in the donated collection, which has
many plays and books about the dramatic arts.

“He loved reading. Every time he went out, he saw a book that he liked
(and) bought it,” said Alec Araradian, 40, of Burbank, another nephew.

Khatchik Araradian bought the books in local Armenian bookstores
after he settled in the United States in 1977 from Lebanon.

The books are among 1,000 donated books in Armenian or about Armenia
or Armenians that the library has received this year. The library
system had about 500 Armenian books before the donations.

In March the library received about 150 books about the Armenian
Genocide and Armenian history and put those books into circulation.
An additional 100 books for children in Armenian were donated over
the summer and put into circulation.

A group called Books for Burbank organized the donations with
involvement by the local chapter of the Armenian National Committee.

“The reason we reached out to the community was we realized we weren’t
meeting the needs of the Armenian community, and our book budget didn’t
really give us a lot of money to go out and purchase what we needed,”
said Sharon Cohen, director of library services.