Touring the Los Angeles Central Library

I am a huge library nerd. Always have been. When I was a kid I would visit the library multiple times a week and always come home with a huge bag full of books. When I was in high school I would go to the library…to look for books to read. I did my studying at home! And as an adult I still visit the library regularly to check out the latest celebrity memoir or best seller that I don’t feel like shelling out money for at the bookstore.

Truthfully, I’ve visited more libraries in SoCal than the average citizen. And my very favorite one is the Los Angeles Central Library in the heart of Downtown.

los angeles central library
There it is! Smack dab in the middle of the highrises.

There are so many special aspects of this library – the historic architecture, the hidden galleries and exhibits, the amazing retail store and the free guided tours.

free toursI cannot tell you how long I’d been meaning to take this tour. It’d been on my list for years. Last Saturday I finally lucked out. I needed to go to the library store and got stuck in traffic making me arrive at there at…I kid you not…5 til 2.  It was fate!

We started the tour just outside the bookstore and learned about the history of the library. Did you know that Los Angeles has had a library system in place since 1872? The Central Library was built in 1926.

libraryWe then headed to my very favorite part of the library (outside of the bookstore) – the rotunda.


Just breathtaking. We learned all about the design and history of this amazing room. There’s so much art that it’s overwhelming. Just look at these murals.

mural mural

These are but two of the four that flank each wall. And then there’s these Deco era statues

statueand the remnants of the card catalog.

card catalog

Oh, memories.

Just off the rotunda is the children’s room. I had never been in it before and I was in for quite a treat.

children's roomchildren's room

The murals date to the early days of the library and illustrate California history as this was initially the history room. Isn’t it amazing! I seriously want to live in it.

Leaving the past we entered the new wing of the library built in 1993.

new wingThe size is impressive but the architecture is just not for me. I’m a classicist at heart and much prefer the historic areas.

Our final stop was the current history room and the last functioning card catalog which is used by the genealogy department.

card catalog

And it was in this room that I found yet another hidden gem – a photography exhibit devoted to classic Hollywood at Court.

central libraryOh Central Library, you know me so well.

Los Angeles Central Library

630 W. 5th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071

Tours offered Monday – Friday at 12:30 and Saturday at 11 and 2.


  1. Kennethia Russell January 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    OMG!! This is by far my favorite one by you, so far. This is so impressive. I am so going to take my kids to this library. It is amazing. I love reading your stuff, because it shows hidden gems and places that I would have never even guessed existed.

  2. Ruchel January 14, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Love exploring LA la la land. This is the best for the whole family

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