Monday, March 19, 2012

The Harbor City - Harbor Gateway Branch Library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library is a fairly new building and an eco-friendly facility. Located on Western Avenue at 240th Street, this library is only a few years old. There is adequate free parking and easy access as it is all on one level. There is a community room as well which can be rented, as well as a computer lab, and other smaller meeting rooms.

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.