Friday, April 20, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
|Front of the Mar Vista Library. Photo by Devin Kelly / Venice-Mar Vista Patch|
|"...a pale turquoise rounded overhang"|
The history of a library is typically tied tightly to the development of a region, and the branch in Mar Vista is no different. Library service in the area was probably first established around 1912 by the County of Los Angeles in a storefront at 12117 Venice Blvd.
|The new Mar Vista Library ca. 1954 where patrons could grab a book, and then a burger at the joint next door (image from the LAPL Photo Collection).|
It remained in that location until 1950 when the City merged two branches into the Mar Vista branch at 12310 Venice Blvd. Quickly, however, the community expanded and the City responded in 1962 by moving the library from its storefront home to a beautiful new mid-century building designed by Stoshitch and Russell at 12006 Venice Blvd.
|An artist's rendering of the 5,450-square-foot Mar Vista Library (image from the LAPL Photo Collection).|
If the purpose of a library is to bring people together, this one does. Strolling through the main reading room (the building is one large hall separated into sections primarily by shelving), I saw a couple of teens with their heads together over a paperback, several tables of people studying together or being tutored, and a few individuals on laptops. Though the building was busy, the noise level did not go beyond the low din of a public space (with an occasional exclamation from the book sale in the meeting room).
|"Folio/Wave" by John O'Brien (hat-tip to http://www.publicartinla.com/ for the image).|
I normally pop into the Mar Vista Library just before they close on weekdays to pick up my holds so it was nice to be able to stop and browse a little. The collection of adult books isn't especially notable, and I didn't peruse the non-fiction. The audiobooks, which I'm a huge fan of generally, have the cassette tapes and CDs interfiled, which makes scanning less convenient. Still, I found The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury and that was good. The teens of Mar Vista have a sizable section all to themselves and while the floor, tables, and general layout of the section is unremarkable, I did enjoy the wall of collages made by teens, I assume.
|There's more where this guy came from...|
Monday, March 19, 2012
I stopped in at 4:00 pm and found it to be an unusually quiet atmosphere. Tweens and teens were busy at computer stations with and without headphones. Individuals and small groups were diligently working on homework. Parents and young children were on computers together. I found it remarkable that there was so little noise. I really liked this. This is the kind of library atmosphere I grew up in. No one dared speak above a whisper or you were shushed out of there.
The building itself is a long rectangle with a raised ceiling, about two stories high. There is plenty of light and each section is clearly marked in English and Spanish. Despite its rectangular shape, it is far from a sterile design or feeling. As you wander from the front to the back, each section provides interest, and one is not aware of the shape.
At the rear is the Children's Section. A little circular alcove with tiny chairs and tables and high windows up above to light the space. This is very inviting little room for children. A special section for books on specific holidays was set up. Books were at eye level for various ages and sizes of children. Artist Beverly Crist created the unique and modern ceramic letters and numbers, which have been imprinted with children's building blocks. The colors, patterns and shapes are imaginative and charming.
The periodical section was in the well-lit front section near the Circulation Desk. There were popular magazines for all demographics and the area was as neat as a pin with comfortable Le Corbusier-style leather and steel chairs. This same style chair repeated itself throughout the library, all near windows making for comfortable and well-lit adult reading areas.
Serving the community, this branch offers clubs and movie screenings as well as SAT Practice Test Sessions, pre-school story time and free workshops on money management.
I have driven by this library countless times during and since its construction and will definitely stop in more often to browse, read and enjoy this welcoming branch.