Central Library

630 West 5th Street

Los Angeles, CA

Opened: 1926

Architect: Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue

This building is a synthesis of International Style and Mexican late baroque that opened in 1926. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, but with maintenance problems, space constraints and development pressures, the building faced demolition in the 1970s. This threat resulted in the formation of the Los Angeles Conservancy in 1978. Two arson fires on April 29 and September 3, 1986 severely damaged both the building and collections (what a coincidence). The result was the sale of air rights for the construction of Library Tower, and an extensive renovation and expansion that included an atrium and underground parking garage. The library reopened on October 3, 1993.

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Getting good people is 100 times more difficult than conventional wisdom says. The fact is, you're going to deal with a lot of mediocre people, no matter how hard you try. You have got to have a system in place to check on how they're doing. (George Cloutier)