The Literature & Fiction Department

Located on Level Three (L3) of the Tom Bradley Wing: Department Map

Phone: 213-228-7325  |  Fax: 213-228-7329  |  E-mail (form)

Department Staff

  • Tina Princenthal, Department Manager | 213-228-7009
  • David Kelly, Senior Librarian | 213-228-7333

Materials & Collections

The Literature and Fiction Department collects English-language adult and young adult book and periodicals in the following subject areas:

Biographies of Actors and Writers Library Science
Creative and Report Writing Literary Criticism and Theory
Drama Poetry
English Grammar and Etymology Radio and Television Programming
Essays Speech
Fiction Theatre
Humor Typography and Publishing

We also collect audiocassettes and compact discs of literature and fiction, and videocassettes and DVDs of classic plays, documentaries concerning literature, and television programs.

The Central Library's entire collection of large type books for the visual impaired, in all subjects, is also located in the Literature and Fiction Department.

The Department's drama and fiction holdings are particularly strong. Our collection includes most recent plays published in the United States, as well as many published in other English-speaking countries. All fiction set in California is purchased for the collection, and the Department also focuses on translations from foreign languages, novels made into or based upon motion pictures, short story collections and popular genre fiction (mysteries, science fiction, and westerns). The Department has a special section of classic fiction assigned by local schools and a browsing collection of popular paperback titles.

Special Collections

The Literature and Fiction Department maintains several unique collections of material other than books, listed here.

  • The Audio Book Collection
    Contains several thousand audio titles on tape and compact disc, including fiction, plays, comedy, dialects for actors, vocabulary, poetry, and radio programs. Fiction comprises the majority of the collection, and nearly all of the fiction audios are unabridged (not shortened) versions.
  • The E-Book Collection
    Contains over 3500 classics and many thousands of new titles in electronic format. Sign up for a free account at any Los Angeles Public Library, and you can enjoy this collection from home.
  • The Audrey Skirball-Kenis Unpublished Play Collection
    Includes over 800 bound scripts of unpublished plays which have been produced in the Los Angeles area. The collection, which is for reference only, includes reviews of the plays and biographies of the playwrights. A separate catalogue is available.
  • The Theatre Programs and Playbills Collection
    Includes over 30,000 play programs dating back to the 1880s. The majority are programs for Southern California productions, which are shelved separately by the year of production. The national and international programs are arranged alphabetically by the play title. The collection also includes programs donated by the Los Angeles Times, housed separately and filed by title.

Information Files and Indexes

The librarians have been busy indexing and reviewing thousands of books, helping us find you what you need. Here's a list of our various indexes, and if you see the name of the index highlighted in blue, you can click and use the index yourself on-line. Otherwise, call our reference desk at (213) 228-7325 or plan a visit.

The California Fiction File
Is an index to fiction set in California. Unique to the Los Angeles Public Library, this file can be searched by the title, the author's name, by city or county, and even by the decade in which the story takes place. The post-1986 portion of the file is available in digital form; click on the link above.

The Detective File
Lists the authors of mystery series, indexed by the names of their fictional detectives.

The Drama in Los Angeles File
Indexes reviews of Los Angeles theatre and drama from local periodicals, dating back to 1937. The actual reviews are contained in scrapbooks maintained by the Department.

The Fiction Review File
Contains brief reviews and plot synopses, published in library periodicals or written by our staff, of most fiction owned by the Department, beginning around 1920. We also have a file on material rejected by the Department in the early period.

The Fiction Subject File
Is an index, arranged by subject, to fiction owned by the Los Angeles Public Library. The index covers the period from about 1900 until 1986, after which most fiction is subject-indexed in our on-line catalogue. The thousands of subject headings include geographic locales, occupations, and historical eras and events, and each entry also contains a brief plot description. There are also index entries for historical figures who appear as characters in novels.

The Filmed Books File
Began around 1965 and includes novels, plays, stories, poems, and nonfiction books which were made into motion pictures and television. Also included are novelizations made from motion pictures and television.

The Literature Information File
Is a digitized subject index to information on a variety of frequently requested topics, located by Department staff in response to patron questions and kept at our Reference desk. We've included popular poems, familiar and unfamiliar quotations, and data on language and vocabulary.

The Obituary File
Is a digitized index to obituary information on notable actors, authors, journalists, and librarians. The index is searchable by name, occupation, date, cause, and place of death. Burial information is also included when available.

The Play Review File
Contains bibliographic citations to theatre reviews published in general and theatrical periodicals dating back to the 1920s. Most of the citations are for New York and London productions, but many reviews of regional theatre are also included.

The Series and Sequels File
Lists sequels and fiction series in chronological order. You can search by the author, series (i.e. Star Wars) or character (i.e. Philip Marlowe). Also included are modern sequels to classic novels, such as sequels to "Gone With the Wind".

The Short Story File
Is an index to short stories in collections and anthologies in the library. Only stories which are not listed individually in our on-line catalogue are included by this file, so please check our catalogue first.

The Southern California Theatre File
Indexes articles about local theatres and theatre companies dating from 1975 to 1996. The articles are contained in scrapbooks stored by the Department.

The Television Reviews File
Indexes reviews of television programs which appeared in local newspapers between 1971 and 1994. The index includes program titles and names of the principal actors. The reviews are contained in scrapbooks maintained by the Department.

The Title Derivations File
Provides information on the literary sources for titles of novels owned by the Department.

The Unpublished Play File
Lists plays which have had major productions but have never been published. Included are citations to production reviews and contact names for additional information.

Research Guides

These guides have been prepared by the Literature and Fiction staff to assist you in beginning your research on popular topics. A reference librarian can give you more detailed directions.

  1. Book Reports - Book Reviews - Literary Criticism
  2. Literary Criticism Guide
  3. Play Locator Guide
  4. Poem Locator Guide
  5. Short Story Guide

Meeting Rooms

The Literature and Fiction Department has glass-enclosed meeting rooms available for use.