Art Deco Lives! Checking Out DTLA’s Central Library

Rich in history and impressively designed, the LA Central Library is a one-of-a-kind space in DTLA. Plan a visit to one of the most photogenic architectural gems in DTLA.
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There is an overwhelming amount of special spaces and places in DTLA that are worth exploring. However, if you consider yourself a junkie for beautiful architecture and capturing that perfect shot, there’s one space in particular you’ll want to add to the top of your list. The Central Library in DTLA is an architectural gem and one of the most photogenic locations in DTLA. Regardless of whether or not you’re planning to rent any books (but hey, it’s free to get a library card and there’s also free wifi here!), exploring the building itself is well worth the visit.

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The Central Library opened in 1926 and is today considered a DTLA landmark, landing at #46 on the list of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monuments. It’s currently the third largest central library in the nation, covering 538,000 square feet on 8 floors. The mission of the Central Library is “to provide free and easy access to information, ideas, books and technology that enrich, educate and empower every individual in our city’s diverse communities.” In this massive, impressive library you’ll find over 6 million books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, ebooks, and so much more.

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You’ll also find a large computer center equipped with WiFi if you need a comfortable place to read and relax, look for jobs online, plan your next vacation, or catch up on that research project you’ve been avoiding. And, of course, if you get lost in this mecca of a library, ask one of the many librarians and they’ll be happy to help you out. More on the many Central Library resources can be found here.

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The Central Library falls under the architecture and design category of Art Deco, which gained popularity in the mid 1920’s-1930’s, embracing modernism and bold, geometric shapes. While all of the Central Library is a beautiful blend of old and new architecture, the focal point is the rotunda—a 64-feet high dome ceiling with murals painted by artist Dean Cornwell, from which a cast bronze chandelier hangs. The murals showcase four eras of California history: discovery, mission building, Americanization, and the founding of L.A. Artist Julian Garnsey painted the ceilings and designs surrounding the murals, This rotunda, in my opinion, is the most beautiful and noteworthy aspect of the library’s interior. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced photographer, this is a unique spot to explore and capture the intricate, aesthetic detail in the design and art.

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If you want an insider’s view of the architecture throughout the grounds of the library, you can go on a free and guided walking tour Monday–Friday at 12:30 p.m., Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. or on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. No reservations are needed, and you’ll meet the tour guide in front of the Library Store. Click here for more information the Central Library tours or click here for a self-guided tour map if you’d rather explore this gorgeous mecca of knowledge on your own.

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Truly a grand space for a library and located in the center of DTLA, this space will keep you entertained, fuel your desire to discover, and leave you feeling inspired. Come here to capture the beautiful aesthetic, take a step back in time, and have endless opportunities to learn more about what interests you.

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The Details
What: Central Library
Location: 630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Floor Map: Click here
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday from 10:00am-8:00pm, Friday – Saturday from 9:30am-5:30pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm-5:00pm.
Central Library Parking: Click here
Jordan Brown
Jordan Brown
Creative Writer |

I love sharing my L.A. experiences and adventures through photography and writing, in hopes to inspire both L.A. locals and visitors to get out of their comfort zones and explore more of our city. Follow along with my journey of falling more in love with Los Angeles every day. Blog: www.NewGirlsGuidetoLA.com; Instagram: @jorda_b