In 1924, Myron Hunt and H.C Chambers were one of ten architectural firms to submit a design for the Pasadena Public Library. Their Spanish Renaissance structure, with its elegantly scaled entry and patio, was particularly pleasing to the judges, and it fit the tone of the developing Civic Center, so it won. Construction began in 1925, and the library opened to an enthusiastic public in 1927. An extensive, historically sensitive restoration took place from 1984 to 1990, and today, the beautiful and highly functional pride of our library system is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Of the 840,000 items (including print, non-print, and electronic resources) in Pasadena’s ten libraries, 394,800 are at this branch, which is known for its reference, business and local history. Step inside and, we swear, you feel the thrum of inquiry (and, yes, some adorable flirting) from those seated at the solid wooden tables stacked with piles of books. You’ll also find people thumbing through the selection of 1,000 magazines, a centrally located reference desk, a wonderful children’s collection housed in its own large room—and that’s before even making it up to the stacks.
The unflappable reference staff will help you do your own research, or you may ask them to research a particular question via telephone or e-mail. And though it’s historic, it has fully embraced the digital era, offering a sizable collection of books and music that can be downloaded for a two-week lending period with a Pasadena or Glendale library card. Extras include children’s programs, films and services for the house-bound. This glorious library remains well used and much loved by generations of Pasadenans. If you haven’t hung out there, you’re missing out, and if you don’t have a library card: what the hell are you thinking? Get one—you’ll be glad you did.
285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena