Memorial Branch Library

Memorial Branch Library

The Memorial Branch Library is a branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. It was built in 1930 based on a Gothic Revival design by architect John C. Austin, also noted as the lead architect of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Masonic Temple. The library includes a large heraldic work of stained glass created by the artists at Judson Studios.

The library is an L-Plan historic building, located in the Memorial Park — a small park across the street from Los Angeles High School. The park and library were designed together as a memorial to Los Angeles High School alumni who were killed in World War I. In the U.S. National Register of Historic Places thematic group submission, the building is described as constructed of a composite of red, dark red, and clinker brick. It has a high pitched slate roof with extended gables capped in cast stone. The entry is located just east of the front-facing gable and features two metal doors which are designed to simulate wood with oversized nails. Surrounding the foor is cast stone ornamentation in a Gothic style. The front-facing gable has a large set of stain glass which is inset into cast stone Gothic ornamentation. The stain glass commemorates the alumni of the Los Angeles High School who died in World War I.

The Memorial Branch was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument (No.81) by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1971. 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.

The historic building of the Memorial Branch Library underwent a major restoration in the mid-1990s. The newly renovated building, opened on July 22, 1996, was designed by the firm of Miralles & Associates, Inc. Bill Judson provided the public art component, which is a stained glass installation at the end of each aisle of the library's main bookstack ranges. Judson is the great-grandson of Walter Horace Judson of the Judson Art Studio. The project was funded by Proposition No.1, the 1989 Library Bond Issue, and the City's Capital Improvement Program.

The Memorial Branch Library served as a filming location for Daniel Webster Elementary School in the 2008 Bedtime Stories movie starring Adam Sandler.

Address: 4625 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019



Branch History:

Status: Active

Additional Resources

Branch building questionnaire: Annual Report 1939/40, Memorial Branch.

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

Dedication of Memorial Library and Window.

Easton, C. (1977, September). Library in the park. WESTWAYS.

Facts about the library and its memorial window, designed and built by the Judson Studios.

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.

Filipek, S. (1996, July). 1926 Memorial Library to open virtually on-line. Larchmont Chronicle.

History of the Memorial Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Larchmont Buzz. (2013, June 22). Historical library monument to be officially unveiled at Memorial Library on Monday.

Letter, June 1930, from Judson Studios explaining Alumni memorial window.

Los Angeles Public Library. (n.y., July 22). Press release, Historic Memorial Branch Library to reopen Monday, July 22: Renovated building features latest in advanced technology with Weingart Foundation grant.

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

Memorial Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 1930. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections.

Memorial Library 40-year anniversary, 1930-1970.

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.