Print this page

Central Docents, Central Library



Flower Street facade of Los Angeles Central Library

Are There Hidden Masonic Symbols on the Los Angeles Central Library?

October 21, 2016

Since I began leading docent tours eight years ago at the Los Angeles Central Library, some tour goers ask—is hidden Masonic symbolism contained in the art that decorates the library?

UN World Peace Bell

World Peace Bell Rings Out Message for Peace

September 14, 2016

Most visitors to the Central Library’s Maguire Gardens see Jud Fine's “Spine” installation and the unique collection of fountains that grace the gardens, but not everyone notices tucked away in the westernmost corner, nearest Flower Street, a quiet token of the most ambitious possibility, the Wor

Detail of owl sculpture for the balconies of central library

Lee Lawrie's Wise Owls Decorate the Library

August 16, 2016

The doors of wisdom are never shut. - Benjamin Franklin

The classic icon of wisdom, the owl, is found in several places around the original Bertram Goodhue Library building. These owls are not hidden, but they may not be obvious to the casual visitor.

Hope street entrance

Mystery of the Hope Street Tunnel

July 15, 2016

Did you know that when Central Library opened in 1926, the entrance at 530 South Hope Street was both the "front door" and mailing address? Patrons entered the gates at Hope Street and walked up a long sloping ramp to a circulation desk at the center of the lower level.

Los Angeles Sunday Times article about the library

Happy 90th Birthday, Goodhue Building!

June 15, 2016

In July of 1926, Angelenos eagerly awaited the opening of the Los Angeles Central Library's new building, the first permanent home for the fifty-year-old library.

Aerial view of fire, April 29,1986

April 29 Marks 30th Anniversary of 1986 Fire

April 29, 2016

This year, 2016, marks the 30th anniversary of the most catastrophic fire of a library building in the U.S. It occurred at our Central Library.

Exterior view of the Flower street entrance of the library

Long-lost Lucretius Poem Still Resonates

April 22, 2016

If you've taken one of our free library tours, we've probably pointed out the quotation over the Flower Street entrance from Lucretius: “Like runners they bear on the lamp of life."

Parapet Walkway below Pyramid of central library

Hidden Spaces and Forgotten Places in the Library

February 08, 2016

Have you ever climbed the old marble staircase in our Central Library and, glancing up, spied a lit window cozily lined with books and plants?

part of Maguire Gardens’ SPINE sculptor

Sculptor Jud Fine Reflects on the Maguire Gardens’ SPINE

January 04, 2016

The incised metal steps that lead from Flower Street to the Central Library are part of an “art plan integrated with an architectural plan” now known as “Spine,” and the highlight of The Maguire Gardens. It is “not an installation or a sole art project,” says primary artist, Jud Fine.

Senior Librarian Mary McCoy at the Teen'Scape Desk

Teen’Scape Revisited: YA Library after Nearly Two Decades

November 23, 2015

When you take our free, daily, docent-led art and architecture tours of the Los Angeles Central Library, we always point out Teen’Scape, one of the nation’s first libraries within a library designed by and exclusively for teens.  Architect Robert Coffee created the unique space, which opened