Discovering the LA Public Library

March 4, 2016

I successfully made it through all my midterms! Yes, technically I still have one more but that’s at the end of March so it doesn’t count…yet.  Sometimes with the stress of multiple midterms and too much to study in too little time, I like to do something different just to clear my head. Rather than studying on campus at the usual spots – Leavey Library or the Engineering Library – I decided to venture downtown to the city’s public library. I’m looking forward to going back.

Apparently, the Los Angeles Public Library also supports the concept of “clearing your head”; they have a fountain outside the main entrance with water pouring over a chrome head and the word “clear” engraved underneath. This ingenious and humorous structure welcoming me to enter the library was just the first of many surprises. The library’s tall towers resemble the outside of a cathedral. The next surprise was the sheer size of the library. When you enter the main lobby, there are four different hallways as well as an elevator to take you to one of three floors, all filled with books and reading material. 

I didn’t expect to see so many people filling the tables on a quiet Sunday afternoon, but there they were, from all walks of life. The library also has nooks and crannies tucked away in small hallways to sit and peruse a book as well as tables and chairs in between the book stacks where professionals, students, and the general public can spend a productive afternoon.

The major downside was the lack of a good Wi-fi connection so I eventually left, but I plan to return to figure out if that was just a fluke or a chronic problem.

It was peaceful yet rejuvenating and reminded me of the public library I visited as a child. However, the LA library is vast and urban, with a larger book selection and a bigger crowd.

Logistically, it’s easy to get to from USC taking a Metro bus or the DASH if you go on a weekday. With a car, they provide a parking garage right under the library with validated parking if you’re a member. I became a member on the same day I visited and it took me less than 10 minutes. Word of caution – they require a California driver’s license or proof of residence in California (electricity bill etc.)

Published on March 4th, 2016

Last updated on August 16th, 2018