6 Incredible L.A. Libraries That Aren’t Just for Students

From locations open 24 hours to those that lend out telescopes, our L.A. library list has something for everyone

With the back-to-school season coming to a close, it’s time for students to hit the books. But the fact of the matter is no two students are the same; each one has a different recipe for academic success. For every student, academia almost always includes the library. That’s why LAMag has compiled a list of some of L.A.’s best libraries, with a range of amenities, to fit students of all types. From night owls to early birds and first-grade attendees to those going back to school mid-career, every student will be satisfied. 

Leavey Library at USC, 651 W 35th St

Sure, this library is no Harry Potter-style, dark academia paradise to spend your days as you watch the rain drizzle outside your window. But we’re in L.A.—so it’s not going to rain anyway. Though the Leavey Library is no classic beauty, it offers a host of amenities. It’s open to the public 24 hours a day Monday through Thursday, closing at 9 p.m. on Fridays. And even on the weekends, it still welcomes guests during certain hours. Non-USC-affiliated guests can use the space as long as they provide a valid photo ID, so it’s the perfect spot for working or parenting students who want a quiet place to focus in the wee hours of the night. [More info]

Brand Library Arts Center

Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 West Mountain St

Housed in the former residence of Leslie Coombs Brand, this library is on the smaller size—but that just makes it extra cozy. Featuring both a gallery and study spaces, there’s always something interesting around the corner if you need to take a break from the books. Plus, the library is open until 8 p.m. on certain days, leaving just enough time for an after-dinner study session. And perhaps the best bonus is the free parking. [More info]

Westwood Branch Library,1246 Glendon Ave

Though it’s just a short walk away from the UCLA campus, this library escapes all the university hustle and bustle. It’s ultra quiet for those who need to escape the noise, and its window-filled walls are one of its big perks. Unlike some of the other spots on this list—which can feel dark and closed off—the Westwood Branch’s windows allow light to seep into the space, ensuring your body doesn’t lose its Circadian rhythm just because you’re in the middle of a study marathon. It’s open until 8 p.m. on most days, so there’s plenty of time to soak up the sunlight. [More info]


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Central Library, 630 W 5th St

As the main hub of the Los Angeles Public Library system, Central Library is truly the center of the action. The building boasts 538,000 square feet of space and a variety of different departments, so there’s something for all—no matter their interests. The library also provides dedicated spaces for both children and young adults, with librarians who are specifically trained to work with them. There’s the Octavia Lab, a studio within the library complete with 3D printing and green screens. And if you need to take a break from the books, the library’s Maguire Gardens provide the perfect place to do so. [More info]

L.A. Law Library, 301 W. 1st St

The L.A. Law Library has hours Monday–Saturday, but perhaps its most unique resource is the variety of legal tools and classes available to patrons. With opportunities to get connected to attorneys and learn about how to represent yourself in a civil lawsuit, there are plenty of ways to increase your knowledge of the legal system. Whether you’re studying law yourself or simply want to be equipped with the knowledge, the L.A. Law Library is a great place to start. [More info]

Altadena Library, 600 E. Mariposa St.

Yes, the Altadena Library has study spaces and all the other fixings of a typical library. But what makes it stand out is its so-called “library of things”—a collection of non-book products and oddities available to valid library cardholders who meet certain requirements. There are the basics of course, like laptops and WiFi hotspots. But more notable items include Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets, tarot card decks, and even a telescope. All in all, the Altadena Library is a space that proves libraries aren’t just about books and outdated DVDs anymore. [More info]

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