Into the Land of the Borrowers

The Central Library in downtown Los Angeles is home to 2.2 million volumes, including books, maps, CDs, DVDs and prints. Built in 1926, it was remodeled following a fire in 1992 and reopened a year later. The multilevel building is a popular destination judging from the 2.1 million bibliophiles who visited last year. We checked out some book lovers for a quick read on the library.


For the record:

12:00 a.m. Dec. 1, 2004 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday December 01, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
Library fire -- An article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Magazine about the Central Library said the library was damaged in a 1992 fire and reopened a year later. The fire was in 1986 and the library reopened in 1993.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 19, 2004 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Part I Page 6 Lat Magazine Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
For the Record
The article “Into the Land of the Borrowers” (Metropolis, Nov. 28) incorrectly stated that the Central Library was damaged in a 1992 fire and reopened a year later. The fire was in 1986. The library reopened in 1993.

Ted Sweetser

Space Mission Designer at JPL



What brings you here?

I brought some books back. I also bought some books at the book sale.

What are you returning?

Plays. My wife reads those. I’m more of a science fiction fan.

Your favorite read ever?

One is “The Dispossessed,” science fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin. Libraries trust that people will return books. Why does the system work?

Because most people are trustworthy. I suspect the percentage of trustworthy readers is somewhat higher than the percentage of trustworthy people in general.

What book should be read more?

“Wittgenstein’s Poker” by David Edmonds and John Eidinow.

It’s about a confrontation between Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, a couple of philosophy professors in the middle part of the last century.


David Moriarty

Stay-at-Home Dad, Los Angeles with daughter Ella, 2

Why are you here today?

To take Ella to the children’s reading room.

What books are you browsing?

I’m reading a lot of nonfiction right now about politics and the state of the world.

Your favorite read ever?

“Rock Springs” by Richard Ford. It’s short stories set mostly in Montana. He captures something about everyday people. He doesn’t over-intellectualize his characters.

The library system depends on trust. Why does it work?

Generally when you trust people, they are trustworthy. That’s what we try to teach Ella. When it looks like she’s going to tear something up, we say, “Someone lent this to us. We have to be nice enough to bring it back in good condition.” It doesn’t stop her every time.

What great books should be read more?

The old classics and philosophical works. Take Plato’s “Republic.” It’s amazing how something so old can be relevant today.


Rebecca Galvez

Computer Consultant

Culver City

Why are you here today?

To sell a concert ticket for Monster Massive. It’s a techno-type, hip-hop deejays kind of thing. I’m not going.

Are you checking anything out?

Travel videos on Amsterdam. I’m visiting there for two weeks. “Crop Circles.” I have an ex-boyfriend who was totally into the UFO expo kind of thing. “Culture and Customs of Peru” because my father is from there.

Your favorite section in the library?

The children’s section. I was born and raised in L.A. My mom dropped me off here during work. It just feels like home.

Your favorite read ever?

The Judy Blume book “Forever.” My parents did not let me read it. There was a sexual scene. When I turned 18, I checked out the book and read it in a day.

What great book should be more popular?

There’s a book I read as a kid called “On Listening.” It’s about how to try to listen. I don’t think it was popular.


Cristina Garalde

Financial Analyst

Los Angeles

What are you checking out today?

John Grisham’s “The Summons,” and “Straight Talking” by Jane Green. Also, “The Dim Sum of All Things” by Kim Wong Keltner. It’s close to home because it’s an Asian writer and I’m Filipino. It’s my No. 1 hobby, reading. How boring, huh?

Your favorite read ever?

“Memoirs of a Geisha.” I left it in the Philippines so I’m going to buy it. It’s a great story.

Your favorite section of the library?

The law books. I’m studying to be a paralegal and I have assignments to do.

What is the typical librarian personality?

On “Extreme Makeover” there was a librarian. She had glasses and didn’t look attractive. Afterward she looked really hot.

What should be banned from public libraries?

Couples hanging out. They shouldn’t do that.

You don’t like public displays of affection?

Not in the library.