Vroman’s Owner Joel Sheldon to Join Friday’s Episode of ‘Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman’


Pasadena Media’s award-nominated local TV talk show, “Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman,” formerly known as the award-winning “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman,” continues his Friday at 5 p.m. PT on Pasadena Media’s cable TV channels and streaming apps. The episode will feature a review of the month’s top stories in Pasadena, a history segment and a discussion with Joel Sheldon III, long-time owner of Vroman’s Bookstore.


Last month, Sheldon announced that the 130-year-old bookstore is going up for sale. No buyer has been selected yet. Sheldon and his family and team have shepherded Vroman’s through numerous challenges over many decades—including the pandemic, changes in the publishing industry and the shift to Amazon and other online booksellers, to name a few.


“We’ll be looking for the right buyer, and will take our time to do that,” Sheldon said. “I want to keep Vroman’s as a very special legacy institution and see it go forward as a gathering place, a community resource. Vroman’s, the institution, deserves more opportunity.”


Sheldon is the chair of the board of Vroman’s Bookstore on Colorado Boulevard (which also has a coffee shop and wine bar), Vroman’s Hastings Ranch, two boutiques at LAX, an e-commerce site and Book Soup in West Hollywood, which Vroman’s purchased in 2009. He currently holds the controlling interest among a group of shareholders comprised of family and non-family members. He has managed the original bookstore since 1972. His family has been running the business since 1916, when its founder Adam Clark Vroman died and left the store to his long-time employees including Sheldon’s great grandfather Alan Sheldon, who was also Vroman’s godson.


Founded in 1894, Vroman’s Bookstore is a Pasadena institution. The store has hosted author events for everyone from President Jimmy Carter to Upton Sinclair to Hillary Clinton to Ray Bradbury to Jonathan Lethem to Chapman himself, among many others.


Sheldon has also served on the Occidental College Board of Trustees and the Pasadena Community Foundation board and advisory council.


“Pasadena Monthly” airs at 5 p.m. PT on the fourth Friday of every month on Pasadena Media’s Arroyo Channel and streaming apps, available on channel 99 on AT&T U-verse, channel 32 on Charter Spectrum, YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. The show is written, hosted and produced by Chapman, directed and edited by Jeffrey Stanfill and executive produced by George Falardeau, CEO and executive director of Pasadena Media.


“This is must-watch television each month for everyone who cares about this city,” Falardeau said.


Last year, Chapman won two 1st place journalism awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, as well as two 3rd place awards and two finalist positions. He has won a total of 10 awards from the LA Press Club in recent years, including three 1st place awards. In 2022, the previous iteration of the show, “NewsRap Local,” won a 2nd place award in News Programming at the Alliance for Community Media West’s WAVE video awards.


Guests on “Pasadena Monthly” and “NewsRap Local” have included Congress member Judy Chu; Congress member Adam Schiff; Assembly member Chris Holden; Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo; Pasadena city manager Miguel Márquez; LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; JPL director Dr. Laurie Leshin; and many others.


Chapman was the youngest elected official in LA County when he served on the Altadena Town Council at age 19. He has served on a number of local boards and wrote hundreds of articles for two dozen print and digital publications, including KPCC/LAistAlta JournalHuffington PostLA Weekly, Irish PostBerkeley Political ReviewPasadena Weekly, Pasadena Star-NewsPasadena Now and many others. He was a professional child actor who starred in dozens of movies, TV shows, commercials, and plays. He previously served as Communications Officer for USC’s Pacific Council on International Policy and currently serves as the District 6 Council Liaison/Field Representative to Pasadena Vice Mayor Steve Madison.


Learn more at justindouglaschapman.com and pasadenamedia.org.