I am writing this post from one of the best places on earth for a writer: The WGA Library.
Located at 3rd and Fairfax - a stone's throw from the Farmer's Market and The Grove - the library is a collection of tv and film scripts that are available to anyone who can read.
It's a great great thing. And it's the first place I came to read a teleplay - specifically SMITH. (It was an amazing experience since it was incredibly fast to read and gave me the sense that all good guilty pleasures do: Let's do that again and hope we don't caught.)
While not exactly huge, my guess is that there are probably 5,000 or so scripts here, both TV and film, behind locked glass cases. The way it works is simple: You come in, introduce yourself to the librarians and then, once you decide what you want to look at, you hand them your driver's license and they give you the script. (Everything stays in the library.)
Don't underestimate the introducing yourself to the librarians bit. These folks are the gate keepers of the secret books and they know what people read, and thus what people write.
I learned very quickly that the shows that had been most popular for spec scripts in the last year or so were "House" and "Medium" for drama; and "The Office" for comedy. ("Two and a Half Men", I've since learned, is the other 1/2 hour comedy everyone's supposed to write for.)
The librarians also know what people are talking about - which I hope will give me a good jump on next spring's scripts to write. (I'm placing big bets on DEXTER, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and HEROES.)
And they do favors too. One of them, when I asked whether they'd get a copy of DEXTER from Showtime, told me that they wouldn't but that he had a friend who was taping them. "I'll email you when I get them."
Now THAT's a librarian I like.
But even if they didn't have these wonderful people and fairly large library, it's a great place to hang out if for no other reason than hearing the sound of other writers writing. Yes, indeed, to sit in the library is to hear ambitions songs played out on computer keys.