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100 Years of the County of Los Angeles Public Library

In September 2012, the County of Los Angeles celebrated our 100th birthday.
Check out facts about the library along with historic photos.

1912 - 1929  |  1930-1949  |  1950-1969  |  1970-1989  |  1990-2012  |  1912-2012: All Facts

  • 1990 - The new computerized Automated Circulation System (ACS) was inaugurated system-wide.

  • 1990 - First Lady Barbara Bush and California State Librarian Gary Strong visited our Community Access Library Line (CALL), the Southern California Literacy Hotline.
  • 1991 - The Begin at the Beginning with Books service, which targeted expectant mothers who use public health clinics and encouraged the habit of reading and learning as an important parenting tool, started.

  • 1992 - The Library celebrated its One Millionth cardholder, five-year-old Robert Miller at the Clifton M. Brakensiek Library in Bellflower.
  • 1992 - The Lake Los Angeles Library was dedicated. This leased facility replaced the High Desert Mobilibrary which the community had outgrown, and at the same time helped estabish equitable service to this unincorporated community in the Antelope Valley.
  • 1993 - Westlake Village Library was dedicated despite chilly weather and threatening clouds.
  • 1994 - The Maywood Library is renamed the Maywood Cesar Chavez Library to honor the late Cesar Chavez, crusader for the California farm worker.
  • 1994 - A new Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) was introduced. The new online catalog had up-to-the-minute information about the over 6 million items in the Library's collections.

  • 1994 - The 6.7 Northridge Earthquake on January 17, closed 35 of the County Library's 87 facilities. Valencia Library was badly damaged and closed for the duration of the Library's fiscal year, reopening on November 10.

  • 1995 - The County Library introduced public computers with access to the Internet at 35 libraries, thanks to grant funding. They were an immediate hit.

  • 1995 - The first Homework Help Center opened at the Clifton M. Brakensiek Library thanks to a grant from Kaiser Permanente Medical. The Productivity Investment Fund of Los Angeles County provided a grant which funded 5 more Homework Help Centers.

  • 1995 - Self-Check Out Stations were installed in the West Covina and Culver City Libraries; the customer-operated circulation equipment allowed customers to check out their own library materials.
  • 1995 - Dedication and opening of the Edmund D. Edelman Public Policy Collection at the Norwalk Library. This collection honors 35 years of County service by the retired Supervisor.

  • 1996 - The new 48,721 sq. ft. Lancaster Library opened
  • 1996 - The County of Los Angeles Public Library's web site was launched. The extensive site included access to the Library's fee-based services.

  • 1997 - Public Internet access was made available in every County library building.

  • 2000 - The Library had a smooth Y2K transition into the new millennium. The County Information Technology Investment Fund provided $4 million for updating wiring, telecommunications, network equipment and computers. Over 250 new computers were installed in County libraries, 161 from the Gates Foundation.

  • 2000 - A new Urban Outreach Bookmobile expanded service to areas in Los Angeles, Whittier, Compton, La Puente, Valinda, Rosemead and Azusa.

  • 2000 - The new San Fernando Library was built and opened, funded by a local developer, with assistance from the County and County Library.
  • 2001 - Margaret Donnellan Todd appointed County Librarian (2001-Present).
  • 2001 - 3 new libraries were opened: Agoura Hills (replacing Las Virgenes Library - city funded); Canyon Country Library (funded by city and developer); Westlake Village Library (new building - city funded).
  • 2002 - The Library piloted an online homework program,, at 6 sites. Kids logged on and worked with live tutors in real time.

  • 2002 - SAM, an Internet management program, was introduced to help in scheduling use of the popular public computers.

  • 2004 - Thanks to funding from Gloria Molina, Supervisor of the First District, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the East Los Angeles Library moved into its new location in September.
  • 2005 - Downloadable audio books from NetLibrary, now OneClickdigital, were added to the online catalog. Later, downloadable eBooks were added from OverDrive.

  • 2005 - In collaboration with the Los Angeles Opera, Youth Services launched "Opera Tales" at ten County libraries. The program featured performers from the LA Opera and music by Mozart, in honor of his 250th birthday.
  • 2005 - The Family Place program was launched as part of the Library's Emergent Literacy services.
  • 2008 - The library debuted a new Integrated Library System and online library catalog allowing easier placement of holds, checking of accounts and email hold notifications.

  • 2009 - New Lawndale Library, featuring beautiful glass artwork "Subdivisions" by artist Anne Marie Karlsen, opens.
  • 2010 - County Library app is launched to renew books, place holds, and find library events on smart phones. "Ask a Librarian" chat reference begins.
  • 2010 - New Acton Agua Dulce Library opens on land donated by John and Robert Brevidoro.
  • 2011 - The new 32,000 square foot, LEED-certified West Hollywood Library opens in October.
  • 2012 - New Topanga Library opens in January. Refurbished Malibu Library celebrates grand opening.
  • 2012 September - Happy Birthday Library! All libraries celebrate the library's centennial today. Here's to another 100 years of library service!

1912 - 1929  |  1930-1949  |  1950-1969  |  1970-1989  |  1990-2012  |  1912-2012: All Facts