Central Docents, Central Library



1926 Mural

Original Children's Room Holds Art and ... Secrets!

December 14, 2016

I love taking tours through the old children’s room in the Central Library because it’s the only place in the building where one can stand close enough to the ceiling to see how artist Julian Garnsey’s painting skill created the illusion of wooden beams. The secret behind the illusion?


Are There Hidden Masonic Symbols on the Los Angeles Central Library? Part 2

November 15, 2016

In Part 1 of our post we looked at sculpture on the library’s exterior as it reflects an overall theme, The Light of Learning.

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? Unwilling to get into a debate about conspiracy theories or mind control, I always chose to deflect the question.

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 World Peace B

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?