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Central Docents, Central Library



Literate Fence

The Literate Fence: Championing Books, Reading & LA’s Diversity

June 13, 2015

The elegant Literate Fence, on the Fifth Street side of the library, was designed by Washington state industrial metal artist, Ries Niemi (b.1955). The Deco design, completed in 1993, echoes the design of the original library building.

Julian Garnsey

Julian Garnsey: Artist and Architectural Collaborator

May 02, 2015

Our free daily docent-led art and architecture tour of the Los Angeles Central Library always includes a stop in the International Languages Department, through which visitors can find the Library's original 1926 Children's Department, with its decorated ceiling and Ivanhoe-themed murals.

Delores McKinney

Spotlight on Delores McKinney

April 02, 2015

LAPL Docents have been giving free daily tours of the Central Library since the early 1980's.  We are guides who love the art, architecture, and backstory of the library, and volunteer to share our passion with others.  Some of us are retired, some are juggling tours with full time jobs

Central Library

Horsetrading and Angry Feminists: Central’s Backstory

March 05, 2015

As you learn on our daily docent led tours, The Richard J Riordan Central Library has almost 90 years of fascinating history.  But some of most intriguing chapters in the building’s story occurred before the library even opened its doors for the first time in 1926.

Library Entrance

Where is the Central Library’s Front Door?

February 04, 2015

Our free, docent-led Art and Architecture tours of the downtown LA Central Library begin and end in the Main Lobby.   But we are often asked:  where exactly is the library’s front door?  It’s a strange question for a landmark building.  Here's a bit of background on the m

Rotunda Globe

Lee Lawrie

January 07, 2015

Anyone who's taken our free daily docent tour of the LA Central Library has seen the many contributions that architectural sculptor Lee Lawrie made to the Library's 1926 Goodhue Building. 

Hartley Burr Alexander: Not Your Typical 20th Century Philosopher

December 04, 2014

If you’ve ever taken a tour of the Central Library, you’ve probably heard mention of Hartley Burr Alexander, the man who worked with architect Bertram Goodhue on the theme and symbolism of the historic 1926 building.   But in the course of our one hour tours, we never have enough time t

History of the Printed Word, Step-by-Step

November 04, 2014

The magnificent stairs at the Flower Street entrance of the Central Library have had several lives.   Originally designed by the library’s architect, Bertram Goodhue in 1926, they were plain steps between three pools of plants and cool water.

The Seven Centers Ceiling in the Main Lobby

Renee Petropoulos & The Seven Centers Ceiling

September 29, 2014

When you meet your docent in the main lobby of the Central Library, the first art piece you'll see is the vibrant mural overhead that spans the vaulted ceiling. Our daily, free, hour-long art and architecture tour starts right there.

Mural Image

The Man behind the Rotunda Murals

August 25, 2014

One of the most breathtaking stops on our daily Docent-led Art and Architecture Tours is the majestic Grand Rotunda, encircled by the pastel-toned murals by Dean Cornwell.   Eighty years after their unveiling, the 12 panels of scenes from California history still feel modern.  But