Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library

Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library

Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library is a branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. It is located in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, CA. The library opened in 1914 as the Stephenson Branch in rented quarters at 3431 Stephenson Avenue in response to a Neighborhood Improvement Association petition to the City Librarian. During its first year of operation, 982 books were checked out. When Stephenson Avenue became Whittier Boulevard in 1925, the library was renamed to Robert Louis Stevenson Branch, in honor of the Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer, famous for his works Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The new branch building, designed by architect George M. Lindsay combining elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival style with Classical details, opened to the public on February 1, 1927. The cost of construction was $37,652. It is a one-story brick building designed in an L-plan, with a tiled gable roof. The entrance, surrounded by cast stone quoins, is located at the juncture of the two wings. A sidewalk runs diagonally across the lawn to the paired paneled doors. The interior of the library features a central charging desk and fireplace in the children's room.

In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles, the Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in a thematic group submission. Thanks to the funds provided by the Housing and Community Development Block Grant of the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department, the historic building received seismic reinforcement, renovation, and expansion. Following the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake, the building was closed for repairs. The renovation and further expansion of the branch were designed by Martinez-Hirsch Associates. Upon completion, the rededication of the renovated historic building was held on July 3, 1991.

Address: 803 Spence Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023



Branch History:

Status: Active

Additional Resources

East L.A. Gazette (1957, February 24). Honor library.

Los Angeles Public Library. (1988, July 21). Library News: Robert Louis Stevenson Branch to reopen in temporary quarters July 28.

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.

One-page articles on the history of R. L. Stevenson Branch Library, ca. 2000.

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.