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Richard J. Riordan Central Library

Richard J. Riordan Central Library Review

It's still known locally as the Central Library—but after fires in the 1980s precipitated reconstruction, it's become the nation's third largest public library. The original building, designed by Bertram Goodhue, was restored to its 1926 condition, with the pyramid tower and a torch symbolizing the Light of Learning crowning the building.

The mega-size of this library can be overwhelming with several floors and departments. The Cook rotunda on the second floor features murals by Dean Cornwell depicting the history of California, and the Tom Bradley Wing, named for another mayor, has a soaring eight-story atrium.

The library offers frequent events and special exhibits, plus a small café to refuel. For $50 out-of-towners may apply for a one-year visitor's card by showing a valid ID to check out books. Don't ignore the gift shop, which is loaded with unique items for readers and writers.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 630 W. 5th St., at Flower St. Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071 | Map It
  • Phone: 213/228–7000; 213/228–7168 for tour information
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunday & Monday: Closed Tues. &Thurs. 10–8, Wed., Fri. and Sat. 10–5:30; Free docent tours are given daily. Call (213) 228-7168; Daily on-hour Walk-In Tours of the Central Library Tues. - Fri. at 12:30, Sat. at 11 and 2, and Sun. at 2. A self-guided tour map is also available on library's website.
  • Website:
  • Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Updated: 02-07-2011

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