If you love the historic Central Library’s art and architecture, why not share that passion with others?
"Being a docent has given me confidence, broadened the scope of my world, and taught me to value the wonderful diversity of Los Angeles. But the greatest gift is the pleasure of walking into one of the world's greatest public libraries and knowing that I'm a little part of its life, a small contributor to its fascinating past and its exciting future." --Delores McKinney, Central Library Docent since 1990
The Central Library Docents conduct an extensive program of tours focused on the art and architecture of our landmark downtown library. We are looking for new docents to become a part of our vibrant docent community.
"Our docents are amazing ambassadors of not only our stunning Central Library but for all of the rich collections and life-changing services our library offers. I truly treasure their contributions." -- City Librarian John Szabo
Our six-class docent training program features a combination of slide lectures and detailed tours of the library building.
"I appreciate the great people who are attracted to do this volunteer work… and the sense of shared love for the library and feeling of camaraderie that is engendered by the group." --Phil Moser, class of 2003
Trainees receive an intensive introduction to the art and design of the 1920s Goodhue Building and the 1990s Bradley Wing as well as the important public art of the Maguire Gardens. Before flying solo, trainees practice touring for several months with a mentor to hone the skills needed to become an effective docent.
"Being a docent gives me a connection to the city. I'm a gypsy at heart, but when I walk into Central Library, I'm home and I can't wait to show the world why we are one of the 25 most beautiful libraries on the planet." --Najah Haqiqah, class of 2012
The Central Library Docents formed in 1980, and there are currently more than 40 actively touring docents. Backgrounds are diverse, from education to medicine to writing to filmmaking to law. Ages range from 20-somethings in the throes of busy careers to retirees in their 80s. But every one of us loves the Central Library, and loves to become immersed in the lore of the magnificent building and in its rich, unfolding resources.
"The best part is meeting people from all over the world. I'm continually surprised at how interested people on my tours are and by the great questions they ask.” --Mary Valentine, class of 2012
The six-week training includes both classroom and on-site education. After attending the training, future docents are paired with a mentor to learn the ropes of giving tours. In addition to touring, the docents gather for seasonal parties, take field trips, and meet up at quarterly meetings for programs and continuing education.
"My favorite part of docent training was the time spent socializing with the docent trainees - we had a great class! I also love that I can set up my schedule each month however it fits my (sometimes) challenging personal schedule." --Edie Morrow, class of 1993
Docents give daily tours to walk-in groups, as well as school groups, and pre-arranged tours for clubs, researchers, and special interests groups. Some docents cover all the bases, while others choose a single focus, such as garden or children’s tours.
"For the last two years I have been doing only children’s tours enjoying it tremendously. It is a new experience every time." --Kayla Garen, class of 2008
Our next training begins January 2016.
"Somehow I got involved with special needs kids. And now I love it and have learned so much from them. Everybody wins." --Harriet Marsh, class of 2004
Six docent training class sessions, taught by a team of experienced docent educators, will be held on Wednesdays: January 13, 20, 27; February 3 and 10 and March 16. Classes will run from 10:30am to 1:30pm and will take place at the Central Library, located at 5th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles.
"I'd never been any kind of tour guide, but it sounded like fun, and it is, even more than I imagined. In a small way, it feels like I'm doing something good for the City." --Kate Kaplan, class of 2014
To learn more about becoming a Central Library Docent, go to lapl.org/docent