For bookworms big and small, local libraries provide dynamic yet quiet places to engage in reading and study. But many libraries hold more than just books. They’re also places that offer free access to technology, story-time hours, as well as help with homework. Here are some options in and around Los Angeles that give curious learners the opportunity to expand their literary and history-minded horizons.
Los Angeles Public Library
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
This architectural gem located in downtown Los Angeles holds an even greater treasure in its wondrous Children’s Literature Department. Often described as a “library within a library,” this child-friendly destination is decorated in rich wood and colorful California history murals. It also offers a computer zone and Story Corner, complete with baskets of books and cuddly stuffed animals. Older kids can check out the Teen’Scape section, where they can find anything from “Twilight” to test prep materials.
LA84 Foundation Sports Library
2141 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
For children interested in all sorts of sports, this is the place to go. Committed to providing L.A. kids with opportunities to participate in athletics, the Foundation, named in honor of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, also houses an extensive library of sports information. Children can listen to oral histories from dozens of Olympians or leaf through collections of publications including Sports Illustrated or Women’s Sports & Fitness.
Pasadena Public Library
285 E. Walnut St.
Pasadena, CA 91101
You know a library has got to be great for kids when it boasts of its own children’s wing – the Ernestine Avery Children’s Wing, to be specific. The dedicated space at Pasadena’s Central Library holds more than 60,000 books, DVDs, magazines and other multimedia materials for little ones and their parents. In addition to story-time hours, there are also Preschool Film Fridays as well as special hours for kiddos and teens.
Culver City Julian Dixon Library
L.A. County Public Library
4975 Overland Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230
From a mystery book club to a knitting club to a homework center sponsored by Sony Pictures, this library (part of the Los Angeles County library group) covers lots of popular ground. Not only that, but it also offers a diverse selection of adult and children’s materials in languages other than English, including Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese. Feeling stressed about a project? Check out the Japanese Garden, which was a gift from Culver City sister city Kaizuka, Japan.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
40 Presidential Dr.
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Whatever your political inclinations may be, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library provides California families the chance to see history up close. Not only can visitors catch a glimpse of a section of the Berlin Wall (and remember Reagan’s famous quote, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”), they can also step aboard Air Force One, the “flying White House” that served seven presidents from 1973-2001, and view a full-scale replica of the Oval Office. And, yes, there are books too!
Santa Monica Public Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Housed in a sustainable building with equally sustainable landscaping, the Santa Monica Public Library’s main branch cultivates the mind with environmentally friendly practices – as well as literary ones. In addition to workshops (poetry writing!), clubs (Legos!) and homework help, the Santa Monica library system has also invested in a thriving virtual space, complete with links to online e-books and resources for parents, who can get help in areas ranging from child development to recommended reading.
Laura Clark is the founder & editor of http://www.losangelesstory.com.