Discovering Glendale's Library
August 31, 2017
Whether you're a complete outsider or a long term resident of the stylish local complexes, the Altana, Glendale CA is a name you've probably heard of before. The Los Angeles-adjacent city is well known as thriving hub of business and shopping, in addition to being a diverse community that represents individuals from many walks of life. What you may not know about, however, is that this LA County jewel is also home to a less-hailed but extremely important government organization: The Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department. If you're already living in Glendale or keen on moving to the city in the near future, this is one facet you'd do well to educate yourself on. Let's explore.
Just What Is Library, Arts & Culture?
The department itself provides a short description on their "About" page:
"The Library, Arts & Culture Department provides the community with the opportunity to seek and share ideas and information that will enrich lives, foster literacy, inspire intellectual curiosity and stimulate the imagination."
This, in and of itself, provides some inkling of what they do, but leaves out much of the detail about what makes them so enriching. There's a hint in the name. This Department is key in managing the eight libraries that exist around Glendale:
- Downtown Central Library
- Brand Library & Arts Center
- Casa Verdugo Library
- Chevy Chase Library
- Grandview Library
- Library Connection @ Adams Square
- Montrose Library
- Pacific Park Library
Of these fine establishments, the Downtown Central Library sticks out for its rich history. Located on East Harvard Street, the beginnings of the Central Library stretch all the way back to the early 1900s, when the idea of providing a service for books around Glendale was still in its infancy. Born from an earlier philanthropic organization known as the Tuesday Afternoon Club (who raised the necessary funds) the first iteration of what would become Glendale's Central Library "opened in a renovated pool room at Third and E (Wilson and Everett) Streets with seventy books, soon supplemented by a State Traveling Library of fifty more, and served a population of 1,186."
Throughout the years, the library saw numerous changes. An ordinance was passed to ensure that the collection remained free to the public; generous donations were used to continually expand both the number of books and the size of that first building. In 1973, however, the library finally moved to its present location, the site of a former school. Since then, it has continued to expand into the operation that visitors now enjoy today, replete not only with books, but with A/V capabilities, computers, and much more. The most recent renovation, which was completed in 2016, has outfitted with even greater capacities:
"[The] reimagined Central Library [is] a state-of-the-art facility for public access to information and technology. In addition to fresh new spaces for learning, studying, and collaboration, it [includes] a MakerSpace, a Remembrance Room, a Digital Lab, six new conference rooms, a reinvigorated teen space, an upgraded auditorium with a green room/audio mixing room and an adjoining catering kitchen, an updated Children’s Room, and more self-service options."
At both the Central Library and other libraries throughout the city, events are routinely held to help promote a sense of community around a shared love for books and other media. These include movie screenings, a game night, visits from authors, and even a very eclectic LEGO club. The events sometimes draw major stars, like an upcoming visit from actor/writer Bryan Cranston. Events like these give book lovers a chance to peer into the mind of talented authors, learn about what inspires and sparks creativity, and even provide a chance to get a copy of their treasured books signed.
You can get an overview of all the great events the library has planned on their Events Page, and search the vast collection of books they have available via the Catalog Search. You can even Chat With A Librarian, for those times when you have burning questions about books and the only ones capable of answering them are the skilled staff that help keep Glendale's library system running.
Maintaining books and fostering learning are but part of the Department's goals, mind you. They also work in concert with the Arts & Culture Commission to help foster the arts:
"The mission of the Arts and Culture Commission is to enrich the human experience, reinforce Glendale’s identity and civic pride through arts and culture, and to recognize the importance of arts to our quality of life and to the local economy."
As a part of that mission, they manage several programs designed to facilitate the creation and propagation of unconventional art. Chief among these is the Art Happens Anywhere (AHA) program. With the express goal of community enrichment in mind, this program seeks to bring all forms of art, be they "visual, musical, performance-based, social, experiential, environmental, [or] sensory," to public places around the city. These public forums include "parks and recreation centers, the City Hall complex, libraries, streets and sidewalks, airspace, busses, transit stops, the Glendale Transportation Center, pedestrian passageways, and City-owned parking lots." They accept proposals from artists of all stripes in their commitment to bring non-traditional forms of expression to the masses.
The Arts & Culture Commission is also responsible for the live performances held at Brand Library Plaza. On Fridays throughout the summer, 60-90 minute shows are put on by peerlessly talented musicians. These shows are free to the public, and you can find a list of both upcoming and past performers here.
If You Value Culture, You'll Love The Altana In Glendale CA
All of this amazing cultural richness is but a stone's throw away from The Altana. Located on Pioneer Alley, this is one of Glendale's finest rental communities that puts residents squarely within reach of all the best the city has to offer. Floor plans range from simple studios to superbly spacious three bedroom offerings. All are designed to emphasize modern style and convenience. This appreciation for the contemporary can also be seen in the complex's features and amenities, which all come together to make The Altana a truly incredible place to live. Take a look at this unique building for yourself, and consider making it your new home in Glendale, California.