I am particularly excited to bring you this Store Spotlight on The Library Store in Los Angeles, CA, not only because we recently created a custom Maptote for the Library’s various branches in LA, but also because they have set out on an admirable venture as a non-profit to raise money towards programming for all of the city’s branches…and the store seems awesome with such a witty and genius collection of merchandise!
Q: Can you describe your store aesthetic?:
A: We like to say we’re “library-centric”. If it has to do with reading or writing, we want it! We carry a broad range of eclectic items, educational toys, autographed books, stationery, crafting supplies, cookbooks, and more.
Q: Are there any fun or interesting store facts?:
A: We made an 8 foot long papier-mâché bookworm for a window display last year, out of newspaper and pages from a book about New Orleans during prohibition times. The bookworm is now retired from view, hidden in one of the many rooms here at Central Library. Maybe one day he’ll make a reappearance…
Q: Tell us a bit about your neighborhood and why you love it!:
A: We’re in downtown Los Angeles, and we completely love it! Our building, the Central Library, has been here since the ‘20s and is a beautiful example of the Egyptian Revival architecture of the time period (our building is topped with a mosaic pyramid!). We’re surrounded by people from all walks of life, and we love the hustle and bustle of being downtown. People are really starting to take an interest in downtown as well, so we’re constantly getting new eateries, fun shops, and new residents nearby.
Q: When not in your store, where is the next most likely place you’d be?:
A: I should say “reading”, we are the Library Store after all! But probably shopping… getting inspiration for the store.
Q: Do you have any favorite restaurants in Los Angeles?:
A: So many to choose from! My most recent restaurant meal was at the newly opened Umamicatessen, here in downtown. It was fantastic—I can’t stop thinking about their trés leches donut!
Q: If there is 1 thing someone “must do” when they visit downtown Los Angeles, what would you recommend?:
A: Exploring the library would be at the top of my list. It’s a HUGE building (4 floors up & 4 floors down), filled to the brim with books, murals, a zodiac chandelier, sphinx statues…. You get the idea. You could get lost in all there is to see at the Central Library.
Q: What was your inspiration/motivation to open your store?
A: Our store came about in an effort to raise money to reopen the library after it was damaged in an arson fire in the late ‘80s. It started as just a catalog of fundraising items, and has grown to what it is today. And no, the arson culprit was never found…
Q: How did you come up with your store name?
A: Well, we’re in the library, and we’re a store… not a ton of imagination was used.
Q: What’s next for The Library Store…. any upcoming sales or events?:
A: We’re collaborating on a tote bag with Maptote! Using the basic Los Angeles map idea, but adding the locations of our 72 branch libraries.
Q: Are there any blogs or magazines that you follow or draw inspiration from?:
A: Sadly, I haven’t picked up a magazine in ages (I hear Domino is coming back though!) As far as blogs, of course Design Sponge is a daily read—so much inspiration. We’ve found a few items for the store on the Swiss Miss blog. We like to keep up on what’s going on in LA, so we’re always checking LAist & The Eastsider Blog. And I can never resist the hilarious posts on Bon Appétempt!
Q: Where do you find all of your products?
A: We go to the California gift show twice a year, and to the NY Gift show every fall. We also scour Etsy, find items through blogs, and are just always looking when we’re out for things that would fit the aesthetic of our store.