Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Happy 125th Birthday, Long Beach Public Library!

2021 marks two important anniversaries — the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s 25th and the Long Beach Public Library’s 125th year of service to the Long Beach community.

On January 1, 1896, the Long Beach Library Association with books donated by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union opened the City’s first library in a small structure on Ocean Boulevard. Today, we celebrate those early supporters of literacy who raised funds and advocated to make the Library possible. The Library has grown into a premier center of learning with 12 locations and an extensive collection of online resources that hundreds of thousands of families, students, job seekers, veterans, those with disabilities, and older individuals depend upon. It continues to transform lives with the support of donations to the Library Foundation.

Thank you for helping us continue a legacy of promoting free educational resources for all members of the community!

Enjoy the photos below of the downtown library through the years. The Library manages a digitized collection of directories, high school yearbooks, and photographs from the City’s history which can be enjoyed at any time — no library card required. Check it out at https://lbpl.contentdm.oclc.org/digital.

A Look Back at the Downtown Library Through the Years

Following the Library’s opening in 1896, it found a more permanent home in 1899 when Long Beach’s first City Hall opened with a space dedicated to the Library. This 1908 photo from the Long Beach Public Library’s archives shows the City Hall on Pacific Avenue near Broadway which housed the Library for several years.
This 1910 photo from the Library’s archives shows people enjoying Lincoln Park in front of the Main Library. The first Main Library opened in 1908 thanks to generous support from Andrew Carnegie.
The Main Library was damaged in a major earthquake in 1933 and was closed for several years for renovations. This photo from the Library’s archives shows the 1937 dedication ceremony of the renovated library.
After a devastating fire in 1972, plans were made to build a new, more expansive Main Library. The new Main Library opened in 1977 and is pictured here in a 1976 photo from the Library’s archives in the final months of its construction.
Over 8,000 people visited the Billie Jean King Main Library on its first day of operation, September 21, 2019. Thanks to hundreds of founding donors, the Library Foundation raised more than $3.3 million to fund technology, materials, and enhancements to the City’s newest Library that will be enjoyed for many years to come.