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CENTRAL LIBRARY - American Libraries 1730 - 1950

Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter

Join former SAH National President and noted author Kenneth A. Breisch, Ph.D. as he takes us on a tour of America’s most significant libraries. His new book, American Libraries 1730-1950 (Norton, 2017) is an expansive overview of our storehouses of knowledge, from the earliest library building (Philadelphia, 1745) to Mid-century Modern and beyond. Although new technologies appear poised to alter it, the library remains a powerful site for discovery, and its form is still determined by the geometry of the book and the architectural spaces devised to store and display it. American Libraries provides a history and panorama of these much-loved structures, inside and out, encompassing the small personal collection, the vast university library, and everything in between.

And what better setting than the newly restored-Glendale Central Library (Welton Becket & Associates, 1973)?

American Libraries traces the development of libraries in the United States, from roots in such iconic examples as the British Library and Paris’s Bibliothèque-Ste.-Geneviève to institutions imbued with their own, American mythology. Starting with the private collections of wealthy merchants and landowners during the eighteenth century, the book looks at the Library of Congress, large and small public libraries, and the Carnegie libraries, and it ends with a glimpse of modern masterworks.

Breisch, a former member of the Santa Monica Public Library Board, teaches architectural history at the University of Southern California and has been studying the architecture of libraries for decades.

This lavish book features more than 500 photographs. It is something you’re definitely going to want to put on your Christmas list. Or just buy for yourself at the event. Books will be available for sale and signing and they make great gifts.

Sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter. The SAH/SCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing its members with opportunities to learn about and experience the rich architectural heritage of Southern California and beyond. Our volunteer Board creates engaging and informative tours, lectures, symposia, travel tours, and other events that explore the ideas behind the architecture as well as the buildings that result from them. Our programs are the best-kept secrets in Southern California.

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