RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Interior snapshots of Richard Riordan Central Library – Part Two


richard riordan central library

Richard Riordan Central Library rotunda

As I had met a friend for lunch and was downtown anyway, I decided to trot on over to the Richard Riordan Central Library to see the Union Station exhibit (see One good kipper and a visit to the Central Library – Part One).

los angeles central library

One of many magnificent ceilings

After the exhibit I wandered around the library taking a few random snapshots. As any photographer knows, for taking interior shots you really need a tripod, or at least a steady hand, neither of which I had brought with me. I just left the camera in Program mode and let it do its thing with available light, no flash.

los angeles central library

At top of the stairs, second floor

The original 1926 building was designed by Bertram Goodhue with an eclectic array of influences including Egyptian, Mediterranean, Spanish, Islamic, Byzantine and probably a few others.

los angeles central library

A sweet little tiled drinking fountain

The Central Library was renamed for former mayor Richard Riordan in 2001. It is the third largest library in the US in terms of books and periodicals.

los angeles central library

Above is the ceiling of the main rotunda adorned with amazing mosaic-like decorations and murals depicting the history of California.

Click a photo below for more images of the rotunda:


Lovely art deco light fixtures

When at the library you have to look up, down and sideways or you might miss something wonderful.


The new wing, including the massive eight-story atrium, was completed in 1993 and named in honor of former mayor Tom Bradley.

In 1986 two arson fires came close to destroying the library. Although the arsons were a terrible crime, in the end the fires provided the reason to renovate, improve and add on to the existing building.

Click on a photo below for slideshow of more images of the atrium:

los angeles central library

Beautifully decorated ceiling in children’s library. More images below of children’s area:

los angeles central library

Ceiling at main entrance

The painted ceiling at the main entrance will really keep you awake while you stand in line to check your books in or out!

los angeles central library

This is the original torch that stood atop the pyramid roof of the original building. This is now kept inside the library in order to preserve it while a replica has replaced it on the exterior.

And now for Part Three with photos of Maguire Gardens adjacent to the library that were completed in 1988.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

12 thoughts on “Interior snapshots of Richard Riordan Central Library – Part Two

  1. Pingback: One good kipper and a visit to the Central Library – Part One | One Good Life in Los Angeles

  2. Good coverage of a very good library!


  3. Pingback: Maguire Gardens at Richard Riordan Central Library – Part Three | One Good Life in Los Angeles

  4. Did you need permission to photograph inside the library?


    • Hi Bonnie… no it’s a public space. However, when in doubt I always ask a security guard or I make it very obvious that I’m about to take a photo and if nobody says anything I know I am okay. I rarely use a flash indoors anyway…. there is nothing more annoying than somebody popping a flash bulb every few seconds!


  5. Pingback: ArtDeco – walking with the Los Angeles Conservancy | One Good Life in Los Angeles

  6. Pingback: Finding new places – the Endeavour | One Good Life in Los Angeles

  7. Thanks for the link Roslyn,that’s a fascinating post in every way!Fabulous interior deco,murals,mosaics and classical paintings and colourful depictions mingled with some modern patterns on the entrance ceiling as well.Back to your new post with Mr B …

    And PS:I was locked in the library lol ….. You comment is frozen here since Tuesday afternoon when we had a horrible hailstorm and
    catastrophic heavy rains after an unbearable heat wave.I was completely cut off from the Internet,it was fixed today.It’s the first time I have had such an experience … Sorry about that 😦


    • Ahhh…. locked in the Central Library! Well, there are worse places to be trapped! Glad all is well after the heavy rains. At least you didn’t get washed away!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes,I was really lucky,I was scrolling the frozen page again and again and there was so much to enjoy there.It took two days to be reconnected again.It was such a biblical and unseasonal storm,it felt as if the end of the world were nearing …


      • Glad all is well now!


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