Angeles Mesa Branch Library

Angeles Mesa Branch Library

The Angeles Mesa Branch Library is a branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library system in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was started by members of the Plymouth Congregational Church who wanted to provide books for the neighborhood children. In 1914, the Library Committee obtained a deposit of 150 books from the County Library. The books were housed in a store building at 54th Street and Sixth Avenue and looked after by volunteer workers. Following a rapid growth of the library holdings, a custodian, Joseph F. Zika, was appointed by the County Librarian in 1915. After the territory became part of the City of Los Angeles, in 1917, Angeles Mesa became a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

The city continued to grow and so did the demand for reading. In 1918, the library moved to new quarters in Mesa Pharmacy, 2800 W. 54th Street; the branch served 127 patrons, owned 290 books and recorded a circulation of 4,710 that year. In 1925 funds were obtained to construct the present building at 2700 W. 52nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043. The one-story rectangular-plan building was designed by architect Royal Dana in a simplified combination of Spanish and Mediterranean styling. It was constructed of concrete block and topped by a read tile roof. The central entry is flanked by three sets of multi-pane casement windows. The east elevation features a large multi-pane picture window with a decorative wrought iron grill showcasing the inscription: "Translate reading into living." The entry features decorative molding with the name of the library and two paneled doors. On the interior, the doorway is surrounded by tiles. The reading room has a large ceramic tile fireplace.

The library was dedicated and opened to the public on October 9, 1928. Since then the fortunes of the Angeles Mesa Branch have fluctuated, reflecting the trends of the times. By 1949, the annual circulation at the Angeles Mesa Branch Library constituted 179,354. At the time of the LAPL division into regions, it was the second largest branch in the Southwest.

In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles it was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in a thematic group submission. In 1992, the historic Angeles Mesa building was closed in compliance with the Los Angeles City Building and Safety Commission's earthquake hazard reduction order. Temporary quarters were set up at the Angeles Mesa Elementary School library and subsequently at a temporary facility at 2400 W. 54th Street. As a result of the Library's Branch Building Project, made possible by the passage of Proposition #1, the 1989 Library Bond Issue, and Housing and Community Developement Block Grant funds, the historic branch re-opened after the temporary closure — structurally reinforced, renovated, and expanded to 6,000 square feet. It features a new multipurpose room, air conditioning, carpeting, access to the disabled, and has increased electrical capacity to accomodate modern library technology, including LAPL's automated circulation system and computerized catalog providing access to the entire LAPL system.

Address: 2700 W. 52nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043



Status: Active

Additional Resources

Angeles Mesa News. (1937, June 25). Local library starts with deposit of 150 books.

Brief history of the Angeles Mesa Branch Library

History of the Angeles Mesa Branch Library from 1936 to 1949, written by staff

Information concerning the construction of Angeles Mesa Branch Library--facts and figures

McGrew, P., & Julian, R. (1994). Landmarks of Los Angeles. New York, NY: H.N. Abrams.

Los Angeles Public Library. Program for re-dedication of the renovated Angeles Mesa Branch Library, in English and Spanish

Soter, B. D., Muench, J., & Library Foundation of Los Angeles. (1993). The light of learning: An illustrated history of the Los Angeles Public Library. Los Angeles, CA: Library Foundation of Los Angeles.