Monday, September 16, 2013

Historic Uses of Pershing Square: Outdoor Library Reading Room

In December, 1936, the Los Angeles Public Library established a free outdoor reading room under a stand of banana trees in Pershing Square. Open Monday through Saturday from morning until mid-afternoon, the reading room was staffed by WPA workers, and no library card was required to borrow a book or a magazine to peruse while in the park. In its first six months of operation, this special branch of the city library circulated 21,000 items, and nearly every one was returned.

The photograph below comes from a 1949 photographic guide to Los Angeles, and  nicely shows the bookworms of old Pershing Square in their element. This lovely reading room does not seem to have survived the 1951 remodel. 

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