Magazine article American Libraries

The ABCs of L.A

Magazine article American Libraries

The ABCs of L.A

Article excerpt

A LA last met in Los Angeles in 1983. Since then the city has known triumphs, such as the 1984 Olympics, World Series, and NBA championships, and tragedies--earthquakes, fires, floods, and the tragic riots of 1992. As a result of bad press and sound bites, many people believe the myths that have grown up around L.A. Here are two such myths--and the truth about them.

Myth #1: You need a car to get around L.A. Not necessarily. Although renting a car or riding with a local colleague is advisable for some of the excursions described in this article, many are easily reached by public transportation or are within walking distance of most of the Midwinter hotels. Although mass transit in L.A. has long been a joke, Metrorail's Blue Line from downtown to Long Beach and Red Line from Union Station to MacArthur Park have heralded a rapid transit revival.

Myth #2: It never rains in Southern California. False, unfortunately. Although there's no certainty that it will rain on ALA's Midwinter parade, bring an umbrella and boots--gutters can become small rivers during heavy downpours. But bring your swimsuit, too; L.A. has been known to have hot spells in February!

With these thoughts in mind, here's one librarian's abecedarian guide to the City of Angels. (Hours and admission charges may change by the time you read this, so call the institution to double-check.)

A is for Art Museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S. Grand Ave., features ongoing exhibits of modem art and sculpture. An easy walk from most downtown hotels, MOCA's hours are Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission charge. 213-626-6222.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., offers diverse collections including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and textiles. Hours: Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; $3.50, senior citizens and students; and $1, children 6-17. Children under six are free. 213-857-6000. Take a Wilshire Blvd. bus (nos. 20, 21, 22).

B is for Beautiful Downtown Burbank. Made famous by the jokes of Johnny Carson and the Laugh-In cast, Burbank boasts Warner Brothers and the NBC studios (see "S is for Studio tours"). When Warner Brothers eliminated their film research library, they donated it to the Burbank Public Library. This collection is housed in the Main Library, 110 N. Glenoaks. Take the no. 91 or 92 bus from downtown. 818-953-9743.

B is also for Beverly Hills, which is filled with terrific (but pricey!) shops and restaurants--and the Beverly Hills Public Library, 444 N. Rexford Dr. The library boasts a recently renovated building and an outstanding fine arts collection. Call 310-228-2241 for library hours. The Wilshire Blvd. buses (nos. 20, 21, and 22) or the Santa Monica Blvd. buses (nos. 4 and 304 [a rush-hour express]) will take you to Beverly Hills.

B is also for Bookstores. Three well-known independent bookstores are located within easy walking distance of downtown hotels. Caravan Books, 550 S. Grand Ave. (213-626-9944), is one of the city's best antiquarian bookstores. Fowler Brothers, 717 W. Seventh (213-627-7846), the city's oldest bookstore, stocks mainly contemporary titles. Thomas Brothers Maps and Books, 603 W. Seventh (213-627-4018), specializes in maps, atlases, and globes and also publishes detailed street atlases of major western cities. Waldenbooks and B. Dalton have outlets downtown, and Doubleday Books, located in the Seventh Market Place mall, has a fine selection of new titles. Hollywood Blvd. near Highland Ave. (take the no. 1 bus) is the home of a number of new and used book stores.

C is for Central Library. Following the devastating fire in 1986, LAPL's Central Library has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes (AL, Nov. 1993, p. 914-915). The renovated and expanded building and the restored murals in the Lodwrick Cook Rotunda are spectacular. The library is noted for its outstanding collections, including patents, foreign languages, and children's literature. …

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