The Rudolf Steiner Library in Los Angeles was founded in 1943. At that time, Fascism was spreading its way through Europe, and Anthroposophists in Germany sent two complete collections of Rudolf Steiner’s works to America for safekeeping. In its first form, our Library consisted of two branches – one in Kansas City and the other here in Los Angeles. When world conditions eased, the Kansas City branch was closed and the materials were consolidated here in Los Angeles. From the very beginning, our Library has been a living response to influences, both internal and external.
When the Los Angeles Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America found its home on South Normandie Street in the early 1950s, the Library moved in with it. We have shared locations with the Branch ever since. In 1964 the function of book selling moved from the Branch to the Library. The bookstore continued until two years ago when it was recognized that Anthroposophical works are now easily available online. Therefore, our book selling has been condensed to a collection of “Basic Books” and to occasional special offerings.
These changes do not mean that the Library volunteers or Board are without a purpose. On the contrary, a sense of renewal and re-formation is alive at the Library. When we reduced our focus on selling new books, other opportunities arose. In a wonderful example of community action and collaboration with the Branch, many hours of consideration went into the concept of creating a “living room” where the inner and outer communities can mingle. The beautiful Garden Room is the result. In this setting, the lending-library continues to be a valuable source of Anthroposophical literature, both for students of Rudolf Steiner’s work and for the general public in our area.
We continue to deepen our collection by adding important, new anthroposophical titles to our lending-library. Our future goals include making the volumes more accessible to the Library’s users to facilitate research and study; implementing a modern database and a faster computer to access it; and developing the Library webpage, online catalog and new-title reviews. We are also excited about opportunities to nurture our community and engage in outreach, such as artistic events and book review evenings. These projects inspire our energy and support.
Our Library is a community resource of tremendous value for the Los Angeles area that seeks our loving attention and care. The redesigned space is also a place of quiet beauty and solace in a world of constant turmoil and demands. We welcome your visits as opportunities to nurture your relationship with Rudolf Steiner’s work and to meet others to learn and share your interests.