Cerritos Library

Best Library for Children, August 2008

If Frank Gehry and Richard Meier had offspring together, the kid’s architectural gift to the region might look like the Cerritos Library. The building’s undulating titanium skin is a whimsical response to the rigid lines of the pergola circling an entrance that features a fish tank big enough for your tot to swim in. We advise against this, since the sharks are real. Each section of the expansive first floor has a theme—mission, art deco—but the star attraction is the Children’s Room. Ten-foot-high books form the portal to a wonderland with a miniature lighthouse, a life-size T. rex facsimile, and a theater that rivals many cineplexes. Walk past the green screen and a video camera captures you in space, the jungle, or some other exotic locale. Oh yes, they have books, too.