Moneta (Junipero Serra) Branch Library

Moneta Branch Library

The Moneta Branch Library, also known as the Junipero Serra Branch Library, is a former branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library system, located south of Downtown Los Angeles. The Moneta Branch was established in 1908 as a book depository located in a store. In 1915, a formal branch library was opened in a rented store building at 249 West 45th Street, near Moneta Avenue, from which it derived its name. During World War I, the Moneta Branch served as a headquarters for Liberty bonds and the Red Cross. In 1923, the library moved to its historic building at 4255 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90037.

The building was designed by architect Lyman Farwell in Mediterranean Revival style. The U.S. National Register of Historic Places thematic group submission describes it as a one-story building, constructed of brick with a stucco finish. It is designed with a symmetrical front facade and its most visible feature is a square, central tower. The entry portal, located directly in front of the tower, features an arched parapet above an arched opening with a molded surround. Just within the arched opening are twin oak doors. The ground floor windows are deeply recessed and grouped in threes. The central tower has casement windows that are narrower and longer than those on the ground floor.

The name of the branch was changed in 1934 to the Junipero Serra Branch in honor of Junípero Serra, the founder of the California mission system. In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles, the Moneta Branch was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in a thematic group submission.

The Moneta (Junipero Serra) Branch was closed in 1987 following the Whittier Narrows earthquake, and a temporary replacement branch in a mini-mall on Figueroa Street was burned in the 1992 riots. A permanent replacement library was opened in 1998 at the former site of a tortilla factory at Main Street and 46th Street. The new branch is three times larger than the old Serra Branch and includes multimedia computer workstations with access to the Internet. The historic 1923 building of the Moneta Branch Library on Olive Street has remained closed since the 1987 earthquake.

Address: 4255 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90037


Branch History:

Status: Relocated to 4607 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037. The original site is closed.

Additional Resources

Los Angeles Times. (June 18, 1992). After the Riots: Rebuilding grant awarded to library branches.

Martin, H. (1998, November 3). Library rewrites L.A. history. Learning: Branch that was shut down by Whittier quake and again by riots reopens with state-of-the-art facilities. Los Angeles Times.

Maxtone-Graham, G. (1988, July 28). New chapter : 3 branch libraries shut by quake to reopen. Los Angeles Times.

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

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.