Beyond the Books at Geisel Library - Atlas Obscura
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La Jolla, California

Beyond the Books at Geisel Library

Explore the iconic William Pereira-designed Library situated at the heart of the UC San Diego campus.

Travel beyond the books of the iconic Geisel Library, the eight-story, Brutalist concrete structure named in honor of Audrey & Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Led by the UC San Diego Library’s events & exhibits extraordinaire, Scott Paulson, the interactive tour will include:

  • An up-close viewing of the San Diego County Native Bee Exhibit.
  • Complete access to the life-size 3D CAVEkiosk, an immersive environment designed to enable users to experience at-risk cultural heritage sites in virtual reality.
  • A brief Seussian musical recital featuring the famous Toy Piano Collection at the UC San Diego Library—a one-of-a-kind collection that caught the attention of the Library of Congress in 2001 prompting them to issue a subject heading and call number for toy piano scores.
  • A look at the recently debuted Artist of the Pines exhibit showcasing the breathtaking work of plein air artist Tsuyoshi “Mat” Matsumoto which captures the distinctive beauty of the magnificent Torrey pines, the world’s rarest pine tree, at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
  • A sneak peek at the Library’s next sci-fi literary performance project: Shorter Tales from the Mothership, where post-card length sci-fi tales will be read aloud and underscored by unusual synthesizers and Theremins. If you dare, play a tune or two on several models of Theremins, one of the first electronic instruments.

Home of the Dr. Seuss Collection, guests will also have the opportunity to view a display of items from our collection of more than 15,000 original drawings, sketches, books, and memorabilia of Theodore Geisel. Guests can then take a break from all the walking at the newly established Audrey’s Café, named in honor of the beloved children’s author’s widow.

Along the way, Mr. Paulson will address myths of interest surrounding the brutalist building that is commonly referred to as “the mothership,” whose science-fiction allure continues to fascinate writers and poets alike. You might even catch a glimpse of the Library’s beloved pair of breeding ravens while taking in the views from the fourth floor. As you leave, listen for the Carillon chimes atop Geisel Library to ring out in a special peal, composed using data and musical motifs gathered from you and the other visitors while on the tour!


  • Your ticket includes an exclusive, Atlas Obscura-only tour of Geisel Library and a brochure about the campus’s internationally renowned Stuart Collection.
  • Be prepared to stand and walk for the entire duration of the tour. Some climbing and descending of stairs will be involved as well. Elevators are available for those who need.
  • Family friendly! All ages are welcome.
  • RSVP is required as space is limited.
  • Meet at the Information Desk on the 2nd (main) floor and sign-in.
  • The closest parking to Geisel Library is the Hopkins parking structure. All visitors to the UC San Diego campus are required to display a valid parking pass. More information about parking on campus can be found here.


Contact Erin Johnson at

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

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