Los Angeles Public Library
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South entrance of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library at Hope Street
|Location||Headquarters: 630 West 5th Street |
Los Angeles, California
|Access and use|
|Director||John F. Szabo (Fall 2012)|
The Los Angeles Public Library system (LAPL) serves the residents of the City of Los Angeles. The system holds more than six million volumes, and with over 18 million residents in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, it serves the largest population of any publicly funded library system in the United States. The system is overseen by a Board of Library Commissioners with five members appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles in staggered terms in accordance with the city charter.
Circulation and services
Library cards are free to California residents. Circulating books, zines, periodicals, computer access, and audiovisual materials are available to patrons. Books, magazines, and audiobooks are loaned for three weeks. Music cassettes, music CDs, documentary videos, and documentary DVDs are loaned for one week. Entertainment videos and entertainment DVDs are loaned for four days. Fines are charged only if materials are returned late. There is a loan limit of 10 books, 10 magazines, and 4 DVDs or videos at one time up to maximum of 30 items on the patron's record. Items checked out from Los Angeles Public Library may be returned to any of its 72 branches or to the Central Library. Most items may be renewed a maximum of two times. Entertainment DVDs and videos may be renewed one time.
The Los Angeles Public Library has many community support organizations which work with the library to raise funds and sponsor programs to enhance library service throughout the community. The Library's Rare Books Department is located in its downtown Los Angeles location. There is also an extensive selection of databases covering a wide variety of topics, many of which are available to remote users who hold an LAPL library card. Examples include full-text databases of periodicals, business directories, and language learning tools. The Central Library at 630 West 5th Street, between Grand Avenue and Flower Street in Downtown Los Angeles, remains an important research library, despite the development of accessible databases and public access to the Internet.
The library also offers an online program that allows adult patrons who have not completed high school to earn their high school diploma.
The Los Angeles Library Association was formed in late 1872, and by early 1873, a well-stocked reading room had opened in the Downey block at Temple and Main streets under the first librarian, John Littlefield.
The original library consisted of two rooms. The larger room was called the “Book Room,” and the smaller room was called the “Conversation Room,” which contained newspapers, tables, chairs, and spittoons for the chess and checkers players who gathered there.
Women were not initially involved in the conception and development of the Los Angeles Library Association. Mrs. John Downey was given an honorary membership out of “courtesy,” but otherwise, no women were listed in the association's founding documents, women were not represented on the board, and women were denied access to the library's reading room. However, this changed in 1876 when the association decided to implement a “Ladies Room.” While this new room did not offer any books, it did provide a number of magazines and comfortable sofa and chairs for local clubwomen to use.
After Mary Foy was appointed as the first head woman librarian in 1880, her appointment was viewed as an act of charity by Mayor Toberman, who may have thought Foy to be in need of a job. Joanne Passet even postited that Foy's nomination, and librarian nominations in general, were seen as “an honorable means of assisting needy men and women in the community.” This notion was mostly confirmed when Foy was replaced by Jessie Gavitt, whose economic need was deemed greater than Foy's by the board.
There was further speculation as to why the board decided on appointing Foy as the first head woman librarian. It may have been a political choice since she represented values that flourished in women's organizations, aiming to please the city's powerful women's clubs who may have been applying pressure. It's also suggested that Foy's nomination was a financial move; John Littlefield earned a salary of $100 while Mary Foy earned $75, which included janitorial work.
Tessa Kelso was appointed head librarian in 1889. She abolished the membership fee, increased membership from 100 to 20,000, increased the collection from 12,000 to 300,000 volumes, moved the books to open shelves, and permitted children to use the library. She set up an early system of branch libraries and moved the central library in to City Hall. She was forced out after a controversy over the library's acquisition of Jean Richepin's book La Cadet, which was considered indecent at the time.
Mary Jones, who was appointed Librarian in 1905, was fired by the library board in favor of Charles Fletcher Lummis. The only reason given for this was that the library should be run by a man, not a woman. This provoked "The Great Library War". Women in Los Angeles petitioned and marched in support of Jones but she was finally forced out; she took up a position as head of the library at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Lummis established several special collections, including photography, autographs, and California and Spanish history. He oversaw two moves into larger buildings, and he greatly increased use of the library through several outreach programs.
Aggressive expansion and growth of the system began in the 1920s. The first building dedicated exclusively for library use opened in 1926. Under Library Board of Commissioners Chairman Orra E. Monnette, the system was improved with a large network of branch libraries with new buildings. Thelma Jackman founded the Business & Economics section of the library sometime prior to 1970.
As with all libraries worldwide, all of the branches had closed since mid-March 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 1873 to 1879: John Littlefield
- 1879 to 1880: Patrick Connolly
- 1880 to 1884: Mary Foy
- 1884 to 1889 : Jessie Gavitt
- 1889 to 1889: Lydia Prescott
- 1889 to 1895 : Tessa Kelso
- 1895 to 1897: Clara Bell Fowler
- 1897 to 1900: Harriet Child Wadleigh
- 1900 to 1905: Mary Letitia Jones
- 1905 to 1910: Charles Fletcher Lummis
- 1910 to 1911: Purd Wright
- 1911 to 1933: Everett Robbins Perry
- 1933 to 1947: Althea Warren
- 1947 to 1969: Harold Hamill
- 1969 to 1990: Wyman Jones
- 1990 to 1994: Elizabeth Martinez
- 1995 to 2004: Susan Goldberg Kent
- 2004 to 2008: Fontaine Holmes
- 2009 to 2012: Martin Gomez
- 2012 to present: John Szabo
The historic Central Library Goodhue building was constructed in 1926 and is a Downtown Los Angeles landmark. The Central Library was designed by the architect, Bertram Goodhue. The Richard Riordan Central Library complex is the third largest public library in the United States in terms of book and periodical holdings. Originally named the Central Library, the building was first renamed in honor of the longtime president of the Board of Library Commissioners and President of the University of Southern California, Rufus B. von KleinSmid. The new wing of Central Library, completed in 1993, was named in honor of former mayor Tom Bradley. The complex (i.e., the original Goodhue building and the Bradley wing) was subsequently renamed in 2001 for former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, as the Richard Riordan Central Library. The building was damaged by fire in 1986.
|No.||Name||Photograph||Address||Zip Code||Phone||Area||Neighborhood Served||Notes|
|01||Benjamin Franklin||2200 E. First St.||90033-3902||323-263-6901||Northeast||Boyle Heights|
|02||Lincoln Heights||2530 Workman St.||90031-2322||323-226-1692||Northeast||Lincoln Heights|
|03||Pío Pico-Koreatown (피오 피코 코리아타운 도서관)||694 S. Oxford Ave.||90005-2872||213-368-7647||Hollywood||Koreatown|
|04||Vernon||4504 S. Central Ave.||90011-3632||323-234-9106||Central Southern||South Central|
|05||Arroyo Seco||6145 N. Figueroa St.||90042-3565||323-255-0537||Northeast||Highland Park/Garvanza||Regional Branch|
|06||Exposition Park||3900 S. Western Ave.||90062-1111||323-290-3113||Central Southern||Exposition Park||Regional Branch|
|07||Junipero Serra||4607 S. Main St.||90037-2735||323-234-1685||Central Southern||South Park|
|08||Echo Park||1410 W. Temple St.||90026-5605||213-250-7808||Northeast||Echo Park|
|09||San Pedro||931 S. Gaffey St.||90731-3606||310-548-7779||Central Southern||San Pedro||Regional Branch|
|10||Wilmington||1300 N. Avalon Blvd.||90744-2639||310-834-1082||Central Southern||Wilmington|
|11||Goldwyn Hollywood||1623 Ivar Ave.||90028-6304||323-856-8260||Hollywood||Hollywood||Regional Branch|
|12||John C. Fremont||6121 Melrose Ave.||90038-3501||323-962-3521||Hollywood||Hancock Park|
|13||Westchester-Loyola Village||7114 W. Manchester Ave.||90045-3509||310-348-1096||Western||Westchester|
|14||Vermont Square||1201 W. 48th St.||90037-2838||323-290-7405||Central Southern||Vermont Square|
|15||Pacific Palisades||861 Alma Real Dr.||90272-3730||310-459-2754||Western||Pacific Palisades|
|16||Donald Bruce Kaufman Brentwood||11820 San Vicente Blvd.||90049-5002||310-575-8273||Western||Brentwood|
|17||Jefferson-Vassie D. Wright||2211 W. Jefferson Blvd.||90018-3741||323-734-8573||Central Southern||Jefferson Park|
|18||Malabar||2801 Wabash Ave.||90033-2604||323-263-1497||Northeast||Boyle Heights|
|19||Robert Louis Stevenson||803 Spence St.||90023-1727||323-268-4710||Northeast||Boyle Heights|
|20||Cahuenga||4591 Santa Monica Blvd.||90029-1937||323-664-6418||Hollywood||East Hollywood|
|21||El Sereno||5226 S. Huntington Dr.||90032-1704||323-225-9201||Northeast||El Sereno|
|22||Palms-Rancho Park||2920 Overland Ave.||90064-4220||323-840-2142||Western||Palms & Rancho Park|
|23||Van Nuys||6250 Sylmar Ave.||91401-2707||818-756-8453||East Valley||Van Nuys||Closed for renovations until Summer 2020.|
|24||Canoga Park||20939 Sherman Way||91303-1744||818-887-0320||West Valley||Canoga Park|
|25||Studio City||12511 Moorpark St.||91604-1372||818-755-7873||East Valley||Studio City|
|26||Angeles Mesa||2700 W. 52nd St.||90043-1953||323-292-4328||Central Southern||Hyde Park/Leimert Park|
|27||West Los Angeles||11360 Santa Monica Blvd.||90025-3152||310-575-8323||Western||West Los Angeles||Regional Branch|
|28||Cypress Park||1150 Cypress Ave.||90065-1144||323-224-0039||Northeast||Cypress Park|
|29||Wilshire||149 N. St. Andrews Pl.||90004-4019||323-957-4550||Hollywood||Mid-Wilshire|
|30||Ascot||120 W. Florence Ave.||90003-1805||323-759-4817||Central Southern||Florence|
|31||Will & Ariel Durant||7140 W. Sunset Blvd.||90046-4416||323-876-2741||Hollywood||Hollywood|
|32||Eagle Rock||5027 Caspar Ave.||90041-1901||323-258-8078||Northeast||Eagle Rock||Article on the former building|
|33||Hyde Park-Miriam Matthews||2205 W. Florence Ave.||90043-5101||323-750-7241||Western||Hyde Park|
|34||John Muir||1005 W. 64th St.||90044-3605||323-789-4800||Central Southern||Vermont-Slauson|
|35||Sunland-Tujunga||7771 Foothill Blvd.||91042-2137||818-352-4481||East Valley||Sunland & Tujunga|
|36||Los Feliz||1874 Hillhurst Ave.||90027-4427||323-913-4710||Hollywood||Los Feliz|
|37||North Hollywood Amelia Earhart||5211 Tujunga Ave.||91601-3119||818-766-7185||East Valley||North Hollywood||Regional Branch|
|38||Mar Vista||12006 Venice Blvd.||90066-3810||310-390-3454||Western||Mar Vista|
|39||Panorama City||14345 Roscoe Blvd.||91402-4222||818-894-4071||East Valley||Panorama City|
|40||Venice-Abbot Kinney||501 S. Venice Blvd.||90291-4201||310-821-1769||Western||Venice|
|41||Washington Irving||4117 W. Washington Blvd.||90018-1053||323-734-6303||Hollywood||Arlington Heights/Mid-City|
|42||Robertson Branch Library||1719 S. Robertson Blvd.||90035-4315||310-840-2147||Western||Beverlywood/Cheviot Hills/Pico-Robertson||Closed Saturday and open Sunday due to widespread observation of Shabbat in this neighborhood|
|43||Alma Reaves Woods-Watts||10205 Compton Ave.||90002-2804||323-789-2850||Central Southern||Watts|
|44||Atwater Village||3379 Glendale Blvd.||90039-1825||323-664-1353||Hollywood||Atwater Village|
|45||Mark Twain||9621 S. Figueroa St.||90003-3928||323-755-4088||Central Southern||Vermont Vista|
|46||Baldwin Hills||2906 S. La Brea Ave.||90016-3902||323-733-1196||Western||Baldwin Hills|
|47||Encino-Tarzana||18231 Ventura Blvd.||91356-3630||818-343-1983||West Valley||Encino & Tarzana|
|48||Felipe de Neve||2820 W. 6th St.||90057-3114||213-384-7676||Hollywood||Westlake|
|49||Memorial||4625 W. Olympic||90019-1832||323-938-2732||Hollywood||Country Club Park|
|50||West Valley||19036 Vanowen St.||91335-5114||818-345-9806||West Valley||Reseda||Regional Branch|
|51||Sherman Oaks||14245 Moorpark St.||91423-2722||818-205-9716||East Valley||Sherman Oaks|
|52||Sun Valley||7935 Vineland Ave.||91352-4477||818-764-1338||East Valley||Sun Valley|
|53||Pacoima||13605 Van Nuys Blvd.||91331-3613||818-899-5203||East Valley||Pacoima|
|54||Sylmar||14561 Polk St.||91342-4055||818-367-6102||East Valley||Sylmar|
|55||Playa Vista||6400 Playa Vista Dr.||90094-2168||310-437-6680||Western||Playa Vista|
|56||Granada Hills||10640 Petit Ave.||91344-6452||818-368-5687||West Valley||Granada Hills|
|57||Valley Plaza||12311 Vanowen St.||91605-5624||818-765-9251||East Valley||Valley Glen/North Hollywood||Formerly known as Vanowen Park Branch|
|58||Woodland Hills||22200 Ventura Blvd.||91364-1517||818-226-0017||West Valley||Woodland Hills|
|59||Northridge||9051 Darby Ave.||91325-2743||818-886-3640||West Valley||Northridge|
|60||Chatsworth||21052 Devonshire St.||91311-2314||818-341-4276||West Valley||Chatsworth|
|61||Fairfax||161 S. Gardner St.||90036-2717||323-936-6191||Hollywood||Fairfax|
|62||Lake View Terrace||12002 Osborne St.||91342-7221||818-890-7404||East Valley||Lake View Terrace|
|63||Chinatown||639 N. Hill St.||90012-2317||213-620-0925||Northeast||Chinatown|
|64||Little Tokyo||203 S. Los Angeles St.||90012-3704||213-612-0525||Northeast||Little Tokyo|
|65||Platt||23600 Victory Blvd.||91367-1349||818-340-9386||West Valley||West Hills|
|66||Mid-Valley Regional||16244 Nordhoff St.||91343-3806||818-895-3650||West Valley||North Hills||Regional Branch|
|67||Porter Ranch||11371 Tampa Ave.||91326-1729||818-360-5706||West Valley||Porter Ranch|
|68||Harbor City-Harbor Gateway||24000 S. Western Ave.||90710-1741||310-534-9520||Central Southern||Harbor City & Harbor Gateway|
|69||Edendale||2011 W. Sunset Blvd.||90026-3122||213-207-3000||Northeast||Echo Park|
|70||Pico-Union||1030 S. Alvarado St.||90006-3712||213-368-7545||Hollywood||Pico-Union|
|71||Westwood||1246 Glendon Ave.||90024-4914||310-474-1739||Western||Westwood|
|72||Silver Lake||2411 Glendale Blvd.||90039-3217||323-913-7451||Northeast||Silver Lake|
- List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles
- Samuel Bradford Caswell (1828–1898), one of the first trustees of the first Los Angeles public library, owned property where the Central Branch was built
- Donald D. Lorenzen, City Council member who supported renovation of library
- Althea Warren, head librarian, 1943–1947
- Leontyne Butler King, first black member of the Los Angeles Library Commission (appointed 1961)
- Central Business District, Los Angeles (1880-1899)
- Martin Gomez (February 2010). "City Librarian's Report to Friends Groups". Los Angeles Public Library. Archived from the original (.PPS) on June 20, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2010. Cite journal requires
- "Los Angeles Library Foundation - Annual Report 2008-2009". Library Foundation of Los Angeles. 2009. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
- "Los Angeles Public Library Facts 2013 (for fiscal year 2012-13) | Los Angeles Public Library". www.lapl.org. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Szabo, John (2015). "LAPL Strategic Plan 2015-2020" (PDF). Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- "Board of Library Commissioners | Los Angeles Public Library". www.lapl.org. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Toppo, Greg (June 2, 2014). "Libraries' choice: Change or fade into oblivion". USA Today. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Orlean, Susan (2018). The Library Book. London: Atlantic Books. pp. 125, 129, 132, 139–143, 173, 174, 198, 203, 307. ISBN 9781782392255. OCLC 1084749272.
- Soter, Bernadette Dominique (1993). The light of learning: an illustrated history of the Los Angeles Public Library. Los Angeles: Library Foundation of Los Angeles. pp. 19–20.
- Debra Gold Hansen; Karen F. Gracy; Sheri D. Irvin. "At the Pleasure of the Board: Women Librarians and the Los Angeles Public Library, 1880-1905". Libraries & Culture. University of Texas Press. 34 (4, Fall 1999): 311-346.
- Orlean, Susan (2018). The Library Book. London: Atlantic Books. pp. 132, 139–143. ISBN 9781782392255. OCLC 1084749272.
- Beyelia, Nicholas (March 21, 2018). "The Great Library War of 1905, Part 1: Have you met Miss Jones?". Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) blog. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- "EARLY HISTORY, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE GOODHUE BUILDING | Los Angeles Public Library". www.lapl.org. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Orlean, Susan (2018). The Library Book. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-4767-4018-8.
- "TOM BRADLEY WING: HISTORY AND DESIGN | Los Angeles Public Library". www.lapl.org. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Los Angeles Public Library.|
- Official Los Angeles Public Library website
- Los Angeles Public Library online Photo Collection: Photo Collection search engine.
- Library Foundation of Los Angeles
- SaveLAPL website opposing budget cuts impacting L.A. libraries
- Fodors.com— L.A. Central Library
- Consider The Library op-ed from LAist
- Image of the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library under construction, Los Angeles, approx 1925. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive (Collection 1429). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.