Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Grand Performances: Why 21st Century libraries are anything but dull

by Take Two

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Hope Street entrance to the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. Todd Johnson/KPCC

L.A.'s library system is huge. Really huge. There are more than 70 branches, which are home to nearly 6.5 million publications, 3 million photographs and 30,000 electronic volumes. 

For the past year now, John Szabo has been the man in charge of all those libraries. The chief librarian has received a lot of help though from Ken Brecher, president of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

To many, the notion of librarians may bring to mind fastidious, pedantic sorts, or book nerds. And though John Szabo and Ken Brecher do love books, they are anything but dull.

Alex Cohen recently had the chance to spend some time chatting with the two of them as part of the Grand Performances series in downtown LA. She began the conversation with John Szabo, who told me about his earliest memories of the library. 

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