Originally constructed in 1926, Los Angeles Central Library (630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles) is the third largest public library in the United States. Like many buildings of the time, it is a mixture of ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean Revival architecture.
As well as books the library features some interesting artwork. The main lobby has a vividly painted ceiling featuring names of Los Angeles novelists intertwined by artist Renee Petropoulos. The First Floor Galleries to the sides of the corridor as you walk towards the Tom Bradley wing often have interesting free mini exhibitions.
At the back of the library towards the Tom Bradley wing (named in honor of one of L.A.’s former mayors) are unique chandeliers sculptures created by Therman Statom. Each chandelier weighs about 2000 pounds and represents the natural world, the man-made world and the spiritual world.
On the second floor is a beautiful Rotunda, around which are murals from 1933 and depict four eras of California history; discovery, mission building, Americanization and the founding of Los Angeles. In the middle is a bronze chandelier weighing 1 ton and cost $40,000, which represents the solar system and features zodiac signs around the globe. The 48 lights around the rim represent the 48 United States in 1926 when the library opened.
Also on the second floor is two free galleries – the Annenberg Gallery, featuring extraordinary materials from the library’s extensive special collections like maps, autographs, rare books and old movie posters and the Getty Gallery which has rotating free exhibits.
Be sure to check out the gift shop, which has unique items for readers, writers and some unusual LA themed gifts. Closed Sundays.