Lincoln Heights Branch Library

Lincoln Heights Branch Library

The Lincoln Heights Branch Library is the second oldest branch library in the Los Angeles Public Library system. It is located in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles, CA. The branch was built in 1916 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and is one of three surviving Carnegie libraries in Los Angeles. The Lincoln Heights Branch is unique among California Carnegies in its design in the shape of a segment of a circle, said to be modeled on Italy's Villa Papa Giulio. It is located just east of Dodger Stadium, near the interchange for the Pasadena and Golden State freeways, at the corner of Workman Street and Avenue 26. It was the fifth completed of the six Los Angeles Carnegie branches. Hibbard and Cody designed the Italian Renaissance building with strong Beaux Arts influence. The arched entry is centered in the middle and three series of concrete walkways with landing lead up to it. The tall one-story design features high clerestory windows inset between pilasters. At the ends are round windows with keystones. A cornice separates the stucco-clad walls from the gabled tile roof. The ends of the building on the north and the west feature large arched multi-pane windows set between paired pilasters supporting the gable returns.

The Lincoln Heights Branch Library has become integral to the life of the neighborhood. In 1975, a community vote renamed the facility "Biblioteca del Pueblo de Lincoln Heights." The branch was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument (No.261) by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1983. In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles, the Lincoln Heights Branch Library was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in a thematic group submission.

In February 1990, the historic building of the branch was closed in compliance with the Los Angeles City Building and Safety Commission's earthquake hazard reduction order. The renovation and expansion of the Lincoln Heights branch library were made possible by Proposion No.1, the 1989 Library Bond issue, Community Development Block grant, and LSCA Title II Library Services and Construction Act funds. The building has been seismically reinforced and made fully accessible to the disabled. The library area has been expanded from 10,912 to 12,912 sq.ft. Through the generosity of the Joseph Drown Foundation, the Lincoln Heights Branch Library was technologically modernized as well as made a "virtual electronic library," with multimedia computer workstations linking the library to the electronic resources of the Central Library and a vast array of databases.

The art component of the renovated building, prepared by Richard Rodriguez Duffy, consists of handcrafted glazed ceramic placed on the archways in the lobby. The three arches are supported by four columns. Each of the columns depicts a different environment found in Los Angeles: a mountain and river wildlife scene; a city scape; arid lands and various modes of transportation and communication; and an ocean scene. Above the columns is a design featuring a plumed dragon flying through clouds. The design reflects the influence of several cultures, in particular the Mestizo and the Asian.

Address: 2530 Workman Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031



Branch History:

Status: Active

Additional Resources

Carnegie Libraries of California website:

City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning (2007, September 7). Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments.

Figenshow, S., Morris McNeill, Inc., & Los Angeles (Calif.). (1990). Historic cultural monuments: A review of historical monuments to identify potential cultural facilities. Los Angeles, CA.: City of Los Angeles, Cultural Affairs Dept.

History of Lincoln Heights Branch, 1900-1936.

Los Angeles Public Library. (1928). From Handbook of the Branch Libraries: The Six Carnegie Buildings (1913-1916).

Los Angeles Public Library. (1996, June 20). Grand Opening Celebration, Lincoln Heights Branch, June 20, 1996.

Los Angeles Times. (1915, May 30). Beautiful Italian Renaissance Edifice for East Los Angeles: Modeled After Italian Types; New Library Will Suggest Famous Villa; Carnegie Branch Structure on East Side to Incorporate Many Interesting Details, Including Circular Reading-room and Outdoor Features.

Los Angeles Times. (1916, December 2). From Carnegie Fund: To Open Last of City's Six Library Branches.

Los Angeles Times (1996, June 20). Historic Library Opens New Chapter After Renovation.

Los Angeles Times (1987, October 23). Local news in brief: Library back in business.

Los Angeles Times. (1916, August 30). New Library's Doors to Open: Board Will Hold Reception in Unique Building; Northeast Branch Equipped to Suit All Readers; One of Six Provided for by Carnegie Fund".

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

Morrison, P. (1996, January 31). Of Carnegie, Gates and Library Lore. Los Angeles Times.

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.