Central Docents, Central Library



close up of card catalog

Yes, Central Library Still Has Catalog Cards

March 04, 2020

While it's true that information on the 2.8 million items in the Central Library is on computer servers that take up a tiny space compared to the hundreds of drawers of catalog cards once used, one can still view some of our collections the old-fashioned way, complete with Dewey decimal number, title, auth

Boxing of damaged books

A Docent’s Life for Me

September 30, 2019

I have always loved books. When I was five, I pleaded with my mother for books...Little Golden Books, about lambs and engines and whatever...and she helped me learn to read them. In junior high and high school, I was a library helper.

Jesse Kingsley with two puppets

Take a Tour of Our Puppet Gallery

January 15, 2019

The Children’s Literature Department of Los Angeles Central Library is so vast and awe-inspiring, one of its most fascinating offerings could be easily overlooked.

Tom Bradley on an escalator at the opening of the Red Line subway downtown, 1-30-93.

Los Angeles’s First (and Only) Black Mayor Broke Racial Barriers

September 06, 2018

“Never give up. Keep your thoughts and your mind always on the goal.” —Tom Bradley

 The Cheltenham Alphabet Spout, designed by Jud Fine, which graces LUCID, the middle of three ponds in Spine.

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Part III: Cheltenham Comes to Central Library

February 17, 2018

After nearly a century, the Los Angeles Central Library still reflects architect Bertram G. Goodhue's vision that buildings should be “literate,” using symbolic expressions to make them distinctive and eternal.

 Photo of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Part II: Designing Cheltenham, a Century-Old Type Font

January 19, 2018

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a bookmaking revival in the greater Boston/New York area, and Bertram Goodhue was thoroughly involved, influential, and supportive.

Richard J. Riordan Central Library

Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Part I: Artist in Many Mediums

December 09, 2017

Architect Bertram G. Goodhue (1869-1924) was a gifted and multi-faceted artist. He began drawing as a young child, first with pen and pencil and later with watercolors.

Central Library Atrium. Detail of the chevron design motif at the base of a column.

Norman Pfeiffer: Highlights of the Tom Bradley Wing

May 05, 2017

For 50 years, nationally recognized architect Norman Pfeiffer has applied creativity, innovation, and technical proficiency to an impressive portfolio of outstanding renovations and additions to library and arts buildings throughout the country.

Illuminations, a series of lanterns by Ann Preston in the Bradley Wing. Photo courtesy of Karina Buck

Ann Preston's Lamps Illuminate the Bradley Wing

March 15, 2017

A highlight of our docent tours is Ann Preston's Illuminations, a series of lanterns that descend the southern escalator landings of the Tom Bradley Wing.

Tower Reconstruction, 1991.

What Are "Air Rights" and Why Are They Important to Central?

February 10, 2017

The shortest answer to the question of importance is that without the funds which the city received for the sale of the air rights above the Central Library site, we might not have the Goodhue Building today. Instead of being renovated, it easily might have been demolished.