Central Library

Updated: March 17, 2021

Books about the history, art, architecture, and collections of Central Library. Browse our catalog for additional titles.

Architecture Transformed: New Life for Old Buildings
Greer, Nora Richter.
Call Number: 720.91 G816 folio

Bunker Hill in the Rearview Mirror: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of an Urban Neighborhood
Call Number: 979.41 L881Bunk

Feels Like Home: Reflections on Central Library
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Fe

Painful memories of the devastating 1986 fire, which destroyed one-fifth of Central Library’s holdings, are starkly juxtaposed with euphoric feelings about the library's reopening in 1993. Moving photographs reflect how the institution came back—with sizable public support—to a bigger and better facility after being closed seven years for renovation and expansion. An architectural landmark built in 1926 was greatly expanded and modernized. Bruckman Rare Books Friends Award for 2019

L.A. Landmarks: Lost and Almost Lost
Olnick, Cindy.
Call Number: 778.41 O51

The Library Book
Orlean, Susan.
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Or

On the surface, The Library Book is about the history of the Los Angeles Public Library, particularly about the devastating fire in 1986 that destroyed 400,00 books and damaged hundreds of thousands more. This part of the book is a true crime story as she explores the possible origins of the fire, and the investigation at the time. It is also a book about the sometimes eccentric City Librarians of the past, and the role of the library in the rapidly growing City of Los Angeles.

More than that, the book is a love letter to libraries everywhere, highlighting the importance of libraries to the vitality of a city and the value they bring to individual lives. While it was a delight to read about colleagues, and the history of the institution all of us proudly serve, the book is a poignant reminder of the personal love of libraries and reading that was fostered by many of our parents, as well as the necessity and relevance of the profession we love.

The Light of Learning: An Illustrated History of the Los Angeles Public Library
Soter, Bernadette Dominique
Call Number: 027.47949 L881So folio

Los Angeles Central Library: A History of Its Art and Architecture
Gee, Stephen
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Ge

Writer Stephen Gee and photographer Arnold Schwartzman are perfect partners in creating this carefully researched and exquisitely photographed history of Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library. They cover the history of why it took more than 80 years, from conception to acutalization, for a building to finally appear. The result is a compelling and engaging history of the political and social leaders, artists and architects who created a building that is home to the largest public library collection west of the Mississippi.

The Los Angeles Central Library: Building an Architectural Icon, 1872-1933
Breisch, Kenneth A,
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Br

The history of Los Angeles Central Library from 1872 to 1933, and how it changed and grew from a private library to become one of the largest public libraries in the United States.

Los Angeles in Maps
Creason, Glen.
Call Number: 979.41 L881Crea

A lively cartographic history of Los Angeles featuring maps of everything from streetcars and sewers to stars' homes and Sleepy Lagoon.

Bruckman Rare Book Friends Award, 2015.

Shades of L.A.: Pictures from Ethnic Family Albums
Call Number: 979.41 L881Sha

Songs in the Key of Los Angeles: Sheet Music from the Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library
Call Number: 781.98 S6985 folio

Spine: An account of the Jud Fine art plan at the Maguire Gardens, Central Library, Los Angeles
Fine, Jud.
Call Number: 730.914 F495-1

To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City
Kun, Josh.
Call Number: 647.9509794 K964 folio