Monday, September 6, 2010

Los Angeles Library Tour - Norwalk Regional Library

This weekend, we made it back to the Norwalk Regional Library (see previous Norwalk post). They were open this time and it was definitely worth the wait.

At 39,000 square feet it was the largest library ever built in the county public library system when it was dedicated in July 1969, The exterior almost has a museum-like quality to it. Windows are adorned with gold metal screens. As you walk toward the entrance, you are greeted by two mosaics designed by Ben Mayer. They each depict events and industries that have shaped California - such as agriculture (orange trees), transportation (trains and ships), aerospace (jets and rockets). These mosaics alone are worth a trip to Norwalk.

Inside, the grand touches continue. There are many giant gold light fixtures which compliment the screens outside. Additional mosaics form what almost appears to be a UFO hovering over the children's section.

This branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library system held many books we had never seen at any other libraries we've visited. We've been to a lot of libraries, and after awhile the same books seem to pop up from one branch to the next. But here, the aisles were filled with rare books waiting to be discovered. I found this in the arts and crafts section: Pop Topping!. And in the Los Angeles history section, we found Previews of Coming Attractions: Scenes and Faces from the Permanent L.A. Fun Game. Haven't seen that in years.

The local history section is amazing. They had a giant selection of magazines (three different publications on libraries and two on restaurants. How often do you see that?) Plenty of government and reference material. A small but functional audio/visual department. They also had a lot of nice exhibit cases to show off the summer reading programs.

After loading up on books, we drove down the way to Bellflower for a lunch at Fronks. Giant sized burgers topped off what turned out to be an epic trip to the Norwalk Regional Library.

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