LA County Library
33°55′40″N 118°09′41″W / 33.92778°N 118.16139°W / 33.92778; -118.16139
LocationDowney, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Reference to legal mandateCounty Free Library Act
Criteria for collectionCounty residents
Access and use
Population served3,375,417
Other information
BudgetUS$131,063,244 (2015/16)[1]
DirectorSkye Patrick, County Librarian
Employees1,483 (2010)[1]
References: [2]
Julian Dixon Library in Culver City
Maywood Cesar Chavez Library
West Hollywood Library
The original Pico Rivera Library, rebuilt around 2012–13

LA County Library is one of the largest public library systems in the United States[3] which serves residents living in 49 of the 88 incorporated cities of Los Angeles County, California. United States, and those living in unincorporated areas resulting in a service area extending over 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2).[4] The LA County Library system provides local libraries to several unincorporated areas and cities across Los Angeles County, and is not to be confused with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system, which serves areas within the city of Los Angeles.


On February 25, 1911, California enacted the County Free Library Law, by which all county governments were authorized to establish a "county free library" to serve all areas of the county where cities and towns had not already established free public libraries.[5] This led to the establishment of the Los Angeles County Free Library, later to become the Los Angeles County Public Library system of branches. Circa 1914, the collection was kept on the “10th floor of the Hall of Records, North Broadway and Franklin Streets.”[6]

The library system, headquartered in Downey, California, is overseen by the Library Commission of 20 appointed members who report on administration, operation, and service to the County Board of Supervisors who operate County Library as a special fund department.[7]

Skye Patrick was appointed County Librarian on February 1, 2016.[8]

Partnerships and community outreach

LA County Library initiated a partnership with the Los Angeles County Probation Department to serve systems-involved youth with an institutional library at Central Juvenile Hall. It offers collections and trained librarians to help improve literacy, teach parenting skills, and encourage respectful interactions. Programming at five Probation Juvenile Day Reporting Centers teaches life skills, builds self-confidence, and introduces potential career paths.[9]

LA County Library also partnered with County of Los Angeles departments to implement lived experience programs aimed at redirecting youth from engaging in at-risk behaviors. The My Brother’s Keeper Peer Advocate program hires young adults of color with lived experience as advisors and liaisons. These Peer Advocates build community relationships, develop programming, and raise awareness of Library services.[10]

LA County Library launched three book kiosks located at County housing sites: Cedar Springs Housing in La Verne serving transition age youth, tenants with mental health disorders, and low-income families; Carmelitos in Long Beach; and Nueva Maravilla Senior Housing in East Los Angeles.[11] The Library installed bookshelves at 10 barbershops across South Los Angeles to encourage reading for boys ages 4 – 8 to help minimize the literacy gap between young men of color and their peers.[12]

COVID-19 response

When LA County Library was forced to close its doors in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library established a Laptop & Hotspot Loan service, expanded Wi-Fi service to Library parking lots with Park & Connect, and developed virtual programs on YouTube and Webex Events for all ages and interests, such as programs about distance learning and workforce development.[13]

Awards and accolades

LA County Library was a finalist for the IMLS National Medal in 2018 and 2019.[14][15]

LA County Library won the 2018 Marketer of the Year Award,[16] the 2019 Librarian of the Year Award for Skye Patrick,[17] and the 2019 Library of the Year Award. All three awards were from Library Journal, and this was the first time a single organization held all three awards at the same time.[18]

In 2023, LA County Library was selected as one of eight recipients of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.[19]

Services and resources

Clifton M. Brakensiek Library

The library provides many resources, including literacy services and programs for families and children.[20]

The library system offers consumer health information under CHIPS (Consumer Health Information Program and Services).



  1. ^ a b "Statistics County of Los Angeles Public Library". Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Skye Patrick (2017). "Statistical Information Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2016". LA County Library. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  3. ^ "ALA Library Fact Sheet 22 - The Nation's Largest Libraries". American Library Association. September 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  4. ^ "Statistics | County of Los Angeles Public Library". Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  5. ^ County Free Library Law, Cal. Stats., 39th reg. sess., 1911, ch. 68, pp. 80-85.
  6. ^ Standard Guide to Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Panama-California Exposition. Press Association. 1914.
  7. ^ "Public Records". County of Los Angeles Public Library. 2009. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "L.A. County chooses new librarian". Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  9. ^ "LA County Library". LA County Library. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  10. ^ "YOUR GIFT MATTERS | LA County Library Foundation". laclf. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  11. ^ "LA County Library Installs Innovative Book Kiosks in Community Housing | Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl". Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  12. ^ "Barbershop Books Encourages Boys of Color to Read". Urban Libraries Council. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  13. ^ "LA County Library".
  14. ^ "2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service". Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  15. ^ "2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service". Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  16. ^ "Past Winners". Library Journal. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  17. ^ III, John N. Berry (December 28, 2018). "Skye Patrick, LJ Librarian of the Year". Library Journal. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  18. ^ III, John N. Berry. "LA County Library Is Library of the Year 2019". Library Journal.
  19. ^ "IMLS Selects Winners for Nation's Highest Museum and Library Honor".
  20. ^ Murray, Stuart A. P. “The Library: An Illustrated History.” New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012, p. 263.

Further reading

Media related to Los Angeles County Library at Wikimedia Commons