Friday, September 16, 2011

Out and about: LAPL

Today I'm posting a short photo essay about my new "branch" of the Los Angeles Public Library. This busy place is located on a slope across Fifth Street from Bunker Hill, in the shadow of the high rise office buildings downtown. Built in 1926, it was damaged by fire, renovated, and reopened in 1993.

The small park has fountains, benches, and grass, where you can sit in the shade and read, with a cup of coffee from the cafe as I did on a recent afternoon. Around you is the hum of the city traffic and the sound of street musicians. In a city with few green areas and a short supply of tranquility, it's a haven for book lovers.

View of Central Library from elevated walkway at Fifth and Flower
Ground level view of fountain-lined entrance

Steps to entrance inscribed in various languages
Central room where the main floor's four corridors meet

Eight-story atrium with colorful hanging artwork

There's always Hope, and a way to find it.
Street-level entrance on Hope: "Books Invite All - They Constrain None"

Terraced walkways leading from Hope Street up to main floor entrance 

Two towering neighbors

Cafe with two food counters

Exit through the gift shop

The Dash shuttle that gets me there and back home for 25 cents each way


  1. Thanks for sharing, Ron. That does look a great place to chill out with a coffee and a good book. I love Hope Street.

    25 cents each way? Bargain.

    Have a great weekend, buddy!

  2. Wow, quite lovely. And huge compared to most of our libraries here. Naturally, it would be. My wife works in a library branch that's smaller than my house, which is none too big.

  3. That's very impressive, Ron. Majestic but comfortable at the same time (that make sense?).

  4. Beautiful! But what about the books? Good selection? (Obviously, yes?)

    Naturally, I'm jealous.

    Our library is currently enamored with those flimsy cellophane covers on all the new hardbacks --the kind that crack and break and get sort of sticky-smudgy, forcing me straight to the book store.

  5. I treasure these photos. They reveal a warmer, more civilized, more generous LA, that focused on the quality of life lived there. Thank you for sharing them. I had an urge to move there, upon seeing them.

  6. Dave, there's mnemonic for the downtown streets in LA that goes: SPRING onto BROADWAY, go up the HILL to OLIVE. Wouldn't it be GRAND to HOPE to pick a FLOWER on FIGUEROA?

    Charles, you could get lost in the place.

    David, that describes it perfectly.

    Richard, it is claimed to have the 3rd largest collection of books in a single US public library, which may include all the 40-50 branches. Over the years, I've been able to find 9 out of 10 books I'm looking for.

    Richard, the LAPL has a pretty tenacious grasp on a book-reading ethos that actively serves the public. Despite budget cuts and a revolution in technology it seems to continue to thrive.