Check Out San Diego’s Dreamiest Library And Art Center

Ana Sofia de la Cámara Ana Sofia de la Cámara

Check Out San Diego’s Dreamiest Library And Art Center

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is one of La Jolla’s brightest gems!

This nonprofit membership library and cultural center is only one of 17 nonprofit membership libraries in the whole United States! The Anthenaeum provides library resources and invaluable artistic programs all over San Diego. Among their programs, you’ll find top-notch lectures on art, music, and more. Some past lectures include From the Greeks to Picasso, Two Events that Transformed Western Art, Presented by Linda Blair, and The World of Music & Movies, Presented by Bruno Leone. If you want to check out exciting and unique exhibitions, you should keep an eye on the great ones at the Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum’s story began in 1894 when a small group of women formed the La Jolla Reading Club. A few years later, in 1898, Florence Sawyer built a Reading Room at the corner of Girard Avenue and Wall Street. The following year the reading group and building became the Library Association of La Jolla! The Anthenaeum has since been a crucial part of La Jolla’s thriving and eclectic community and is really worth getting to know.

The library is devoted exclusively to music and art. You’ll find an impressive and expanding collection of all the books, periodicals, reference material, compact discs, DVDs, sheet music your nerdy heart could ever want! They also have one of the most significant collections of artists’ books in SoCal. This cultural haven is open to the public five days a week, and members can check out materials for an annual fee.

Music at the Athenaeum is no joke. They present a year-round roster of eclectic concerts. They range from classical, jazz to acoustic and new experimental music. They offer over 200 programs and cultural events every year in four different zip codes in San Diego. Another event we’re sure you’ll love is their popular film series, Flicks on the Bricks. You will enjoy a piece of classic cinema on the outdoor patio al fresco.

Their permanent collection is made up of an immaculate array of unique treasures. They have specific requirements that an object must meet to be added to the collection. The Athenaeum is not a museum but rather a membership library and cultural art center. Back in 1990, the Anthenaeum began to collect these items. As the years have passed, they have acquired a collection of around 350 pieces, including paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures. Since 1994 they started the tradition of gifting members at the Patron level and above limited edition artists’ prints. They have a fantastic relationship with the artist in their collection, and the Athenaeum has often been the starting point for emerging artists, who have gained international acclaim. The Anthenaeum is a fantastic spot to gain an insight into the regional, national and international art scene.


The Athenaeum’s library is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

In 2016, the Athenaeum opened a satellite location in Logan Heights, the Athenaeum Art Center (AAC). The AAC is a multicultural community center designed to serve local artists as a hub and creative space. It has an art school studio, a print studio, and an events space! They host great exhibitions that tend to focus on the community.

The AAC is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 am to 4 pm. Check their website for their scheduled programs and classes.


Featured image: Rosamar / Shutterstock.com