Los Angeles Public Library

A Comprehensive Glimpse about Los Angeles Public Library

The Los Angeles Public Library is also known as the LAPL mainly serving all of the residents of Los Angeles City. It is considered to be one of the largest publicly funded library systems all over the world with more than six millions of volumes. This library system is primarily overseen by the Board of Library Commissioners with almost five appointed members by the Los Angeles Mayor.

Los Angeles Public Library History

Aggressive growth and expansion of the library system began in the year of 1920. Under Chairman Orra E. Monnette of the Library Board of Commissioners, the whole system was improved with large networks of libraries with strongly built buildings. It was also founded by Thelma Jackman, Business and Economic section of the library prior to 1970.

Central Library

The historical central library of Goodhue building was primarily constructed in the year of 1926. It was also considered to be a landmark in the Downtown of Los Angeles. Richard Central Library is complex as it is the third largest public library situated in the United States. This is as far as periodical holdings are books are concerned.

The building was renamed in honor of the long time president of the Board of Library Commissioners and the president of the University of Southern California who is none other than Rufus B. von KleinSmid. The new central library was fully completed in the year of 1993 in honor of Tom Bradley, the former mayor of the place. The complex library was renamed in the year of 2001 in honor of the former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan which emphasizes Richard Riordan Central Library.


The original design of Los Angeles Central Library was created by architect named Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. The design was greatly influenced by the Mediterranean revival architecture and ancient Egyptian. Its central power is topped of a mosaic pyramid on the sides of the hand that holds a torch. This represents light of learning at the apex. Other elements which make it more interesting are the snakes, sphinxes and the celestial mosaics of the library. The interior part of the library is decorated with several figures, chandeliers, statues, grilles and mural.


Central library was extensively expanded and renovated in Modernist or Beaux arts architecture under Norman Pfeiffer, the architect of the renovation from 1988 to 1993. It includes an eight story atrium wing that was primarily dedicated to their former mayor Tom Bradley. Now, the library already contains 538,000 square feet area which has 89 miles of shelves for 1,400 people.

Access Needs

The limited access of the building created a lot of problems. Generally speaking, the accessible public stacks of reading rooms displayed for about ten to twenty percent of the actual collection of the Central Library. For this reason, a patron needs to submit for a request slip and an assigned clerk would be responsible in retrieving the desired material from the internal stack.

Arson Catalyst

The catalyst for the Central Library renovation was a devastating arson fire catalyst of fire of April 29, 1986. Despite the fact that the building was safely evacuated, still its ventilation of smoke and heat and access to limited firefighter was precluded due to its vintage construction. Thousands of volumes of library holdings were destroyed. The second fire on the library occurred on the 23rd day of September which destroyed all the contents of the reading room.


As part of the plans of Los Angeles Public Library for rehabilitation, they’ve sold their rights to some developers that allow them to construct eponymous library towers across the streets. Then, the skyscraper was renamed as the First Interstate World Center and later became US Bank tower. There are also additional funds that are raised by means of personal and corporate contributions which flowed through a campaign created by Tom Bradley. This is entitled as “Save the Books”.

The campaign which is also co-chaired by Lodwrick Cook and the CEO of the Atlantic Richfield Company targeted a goal to raise funds for millions of individuals and corporate contributions for the complete renovation of the library. The renovation of the library was completed in the year of 1993. It includes a large and new underground parking facility with a park primarily designed by Lawrence Halprin. Los Angeles Public Library was reopened on October 3, 1993.

Los Angeles Public Library Circulation

Library cards are given free to all California residents. Periodicals, circulating books, audiovisual materials and computer access are all available to the patrons. Library materials are also loaned for three weeks. But, fines are charged if the materials are returned late.

There is also a loan limit of ten books, ten magazines and four DVD’s or videos at one time to a maximum of thirty items of the patron’s record. Items that are checked out from the Los Angeles Public Library can be returned to any of its seventy two branches or even to the Central Library. Most of the items found in the library can be renewed for two times as the maximum. Videos and entertainment DVDs can be renewed for only once.

The Los Angeles Public Library has a lot of community support organizations working hand in hand with the library in raising funds for the improvement of the library. They are also sponsoring programs as part of improving the service of the library in the entire community. The Rare book department of the library is located at the downtown location of Los Angeles. There is also a huge selection of databases that cover the different types of topics. These are all made available to remote users.

With the advantages that Los Angeles Public Library offers to those people who are fond of reading and staying inside the library, many of them are donating funds for its improvement.  They are really showing their support to all of the programs that the library organizes. The programs are after the complete renovation and improvements of the building and all other materials that are found in it.

Thus, Los Angeles Public Library is truly essential in the community of Los Angeles. It offers its most satisfying and most enjoying library experience you never had before. This can truly widen the knowledge and understanding of all people who want to explore more of their abilities and skills with the use of the materials found in the library.