Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library

Named in honor of the wife of USC Chancellor Emeritus Norman Topping, the Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library was expanded and remodeled in 1990. Comprising over 13,750 square feet, the library is housed in Watt Hall.

The Library houses over 75,000 volumes in the areas of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, art history, fine and decorative arts, and photography. The architecture collection is the oldest (dating to 1925) and best in Southern California, and contains all the major works in the field including many original rare books. The architecture periodical collection is one of the most extensive in Southern California, in both English and many foreign languages. The slide library contains more than 300,000 slides in all areas of architecture and fine arts, and is particularly strong in modern architecture, Renaissance architecture and Southern California architecture.

The University Central Library System holds 2.4 million volumes. Of special note are the Von KleinSmid Library, which contains the urban studies collection; architectural and design-related films are located in the Cinema-Television Library; the Science and Engineering Library includes important material on civil engineering; and the Regional Cultural History Collection houses the Hearst Collection of 1.2 million photographs from 1904-1961, with an emphasis on Southern California, including architecture.

Homer, the library's on-line catalog, provides access to the library system's holdings from any branch on campus as well as from a student's personal computer. In addition, the library offers access to over 300 electronic databases, such as the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, various engineering and building sciences databases, art and popular culture indexes, as well as many journals online.

The USC Libraries belong to a local consortium that provides reciprocal borrowing privileges for USC students at UCLA, California State University, Los Angeles, and the California Institute of Technology. Students also have access to the Getty Center for the Arts and Humanities Library, which is in the process of developing an architectural library of preeminent work. USC is also a member of the Research Libraries Group, and may borrow materials on inter library loan from other member libraries that have major architectural collections such as Columbia University and Harvard University.


Watt Hall

850 Bloom Walk, B-4

University Park Campus

Los Angeles CA 90089-0294

Phone: (213) 740 1956


Stacy Williams

Head of the AFA Library


(213) 740-8646

Antonio Gonzalez

Library Manager


(213) 740-6601