Originally published in LA Streetsblog
After two years at the corner of 1st and Cummings streets, Libros Schmibros Lending Library and Bookshop opened Wednesday at its new location at Mariachi Plaza, right on top of the Metro Gold Line Station.
The addition of Libros Schmibros with the already existing businesses at Mariachi Plaza has made that area one of the most human-friendly Metro-affiliated sites.
“If you visit train stations in any city in the world . . . so many of them have newsstands. And most of those newsstands don’t just sell magazines, they sell books,” said David Kipen, co-founder of Libros Schmibros.
The prime location Libros Schmibros has at Mariachi Plaza is a result of the property being locally family-owned and the landlord wanting a community-focused tenant, Kipen said.
The owners of Libros Schmibros, a nonprofit that both lends books to patrons and sells books at extremely low rates, jumped almost immediately at the chance to get the property at Mariachi Plaza, said Colleen Jaurretche, Libros Schmibros’ co-director.
Though the space is smaller than the old space, the new format and location of the store lends itself to new opportunities, Kipen said. For events, groups can spill onto the plaza and not have to worry about traffic. Kipen is also working with a UCLA graduate film student to put on a Mexican film series at Mariachi Plaza, where they hope to screen a film with Pedro Infante.
The human-focused promise that continues to blossom at Mariachi Plaza is something that Metro stations, portals, and platforms have not been able to take full advantage of, said Will Wright, director of government & public affairs at American Institute of Architects Los Angeles.
The Metro Redline portal at the W Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, for example, used a design that looks like it would create community interaction, but security there will tell patrons to move if they station themselves.
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Libros Schmibros Lending Library and Bookstore
1711 East 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033