About the Central Library

Central Library exterior view from Maguire GardensCentral Library and the Maguire Gardens

The flagship Central Library is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Public Library, which includes 72 branch libraries. The third largest central library in the nation, its subject departments contain more than 2.8 million books, 5,000 magazine subscriptions, more than 3 million photographs, 10 million digital access U.S. patents, plus language learning and multi-media materials.

The Central Library has nine subject departments that provide a variety of reference services over-the-counter, by telephone, mail, e-mail or IM chat.  Materials can be ordered by patrons throughout the city and shipped to the borrower’s local branch. 

Central Library Building Overview

The historic Central Library opened in 1926 to rave reviews and has been welcoming Angelenos and visitors for nearly a century. Hailed as an architectural gem, the building is renowned for such iconic features as the tiled pyramid on the roof; the vast, mural-lined Rotunda; and its more modern Atrium wing, which opened in 1993.

The building features 538,000 square feet of space on eight floors, nearly 89 miles of shelves and seating for more than1,400 people. There are 255 free public access computers located in the Computer Center and throughout the building. Internet access is also provided by Wi-fi. LAUSD Downtown Magnets High School uses the Central Library as a classroom.

Central Library Features

  • The Singleton Adult Literacy Center
  • The Popular Library, a “library within the library” offering popular, high-demand books, magazines, DVDs and CDs.
  • The 235-seat Taper Auditorium
  • Central Library Video Wall
  • KLOS Story Theater for children’s programs and puppet shows
  • The Getty Gallery, First Floor Galleries and Annenberg Gallery for exhibitions, as well as exhibit space on the walls of the History & Genealogy Department
  • The Library Store
  • Food Service: Panda Express, Skid Row Coffee
  • Maguire Gardens, a 1.5 acre public park adjoining the library

Subject Departments

The subject departments contain in-depth collections of books and other items related to specific subjects.

Docent Tours of the Central Library