The 10 Best Libraries in California!

From the state’s quaint small towns to its sprawling cities, California boasts some incredible library spaces. Whether they’re state-of-the-art buildings with modern architecture or libraries that have been around for over a century, guests will find an optimal atmosphere for studying, gathering for community events, and enrolling their children in after-school programs. Here are the 10 best libraries in the state.

1. Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library, Los Angeles, CA

 The Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Branch in Downtown Los Angeles is an iconic part of the city’s skyline. The beautiful building fuses Egyptian and Mediterranean influences into an architectural wonder. Beyond the building itself, the library offers special events and a variety of ways to discover new information as the main hub of one of the largest library systems in the world.

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2. San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco Public Library lost much of its historic collection in the great fire that burned the city back in 1906. Over a century later, some pieces are gone forever but the library has managed to build up an extensive collection of information on California and San Francisco history, amongst other concerns.

3. West Hollywood Library, West Hollywood, CA

The West Hollywood Library is a modern vision of a community library. There’s a café, wide open windows to enjoy views of the Hollywood Hills and an extensive collection of LGBT literature. Equally renowned is the parking garage, which features murals from respected artists.

4. Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, CA

Pasadena’s public library is located near the famous Civic Center with its iconic dome that signifies a golden age of California architecture. The library is finished in a similar Art Deco and classical style with dark shelving and narrow halls housing collections of books.

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5. Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA

The Brand Library in Glendale was once the palatial home of Glendale’s first family. Now the Spanish/Moorish/Indian-styled home is tucked away into a quiet canyon and features a variety of information on the history of the Brand family and the city of Glendale. In addition, the library is also a hub of arts and culture with many community events and programs designed to engage and educate.

6. Thousand Oaks Library, Thousand Oaks, CA

The sleepy town of Thousand Oaks has an impressively large library. After an extensive renovation in the 1990s, the library reopened to include a large children’s library, complete with books, puppets, a stunning aquarium display and more. The library holds weekly story sessions to engage a new generation of readers.

7. Manhattan Beach Library, Manhattan Beach, CA

Manhattan Beach Library is a modern wonder built of glass that reflects the nearby Pacific Ocean. The library holds regular community events including story time for kids, and yoga and meditation classes for grownups. 

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8. Memorial Branch Library, Los Angeles, CA

The Memorial Branch Library of Mid-Wilshire is a community architecture created by the collaboration between local Highland Park stained glass expert and the man that created Griffith Observatory. Together, they made a traditional English Tudor-style library that features a number of community programs ranging from computer classes to displays of magic.  

9. Doe Library at UC Berkley, Berkley, CA

The University of California Berkley campus has numerous libraries, with the most famous being the Doe Library. At the center of the school’s library system, Doe Library has soaring cathedral ceilings and allows in natural light, a rarity for the housing of books. There are also plenty of quiet nooks to explore and settle in with a good book.

10. Geisel Library at UC San Diego, San Diego, CA

UC San Diego’s Geisel Library is the first of the campus’ three libraries. Built in the severe Brutalism style, Geisel Library is named after the real-life name of children’s writer Dr. Seuss. The Geisel Library contains a vast amount of Dr. Seuss books and other writings and information on Theodore Geisel, a native of Southern California. 

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1890 Huntington Drive, San Marino, CA
The Crowell Public Library in the City of San Marino enriches and advances the intellectual, cultural, and creative vitality of San Marino by provi... Read More
1500 Street, Modesto, CA
About Us: We are a system of 13 libraries located in communities throughout Stanislaus County.  In our mission to foster the love of reading ... Read More
1550 Oak Street, Alameda, CA
Mission The Alameda Free Library is an inviting and comfortable place where people of all ages develop and enjoy a love of learning and reading, c... Read More
450 Spartan Way, Lathrop, CA
About  The Lathrop Branch Library offers computer workstations for Internet and word processing use, a ready reference collection, and a circ... Read More
2935 Pinole Valley Road, Pinole, CA
About Us The city of Pinole is located in the western portion of Contra Costa County on the shores of the San Pablo Bay. The current population is... Read More
315 El Camino Real, Greenfield, CA
Mission: The Mission of Monterey County Free Libraries is to bring ideas, inspiration, information and enjoyment to our community. Vision: Monte... Read More
2940 Benvenue, Berkeley, CA
Library Hours Monday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm  Tuesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm  Wednesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm  Thursday... Read More
1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo), Berkeley, CA
Hours:   Monday:         10:00 am – 6:00 pm  Tuesday:        10:00 am – 8:00 ... Read More
122 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga, CA
History:The Topanga Library opened on January 21, 2012. As Al Martinez stated in his inaugural speech, "This isn't just an impressive edifice of st... Read More
33792 Crown Valley Road, Acton, CA
History:In 2003, John Brevidoro and his brother, Robert, donated 1.5 acres of land on Crown Valley Road in Acton to the County of Los Angeles for t... Read More
788 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA
Monday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday & Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, Holidays Read More
1170 The Alameda, Berkeley, CA
Hours: Monday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Wednesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Th... Read More
7140 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, CA
About Us The Sebastopol Regional Library has its roots in the first parcel map of Sebastopol drafted in 1871. The first modern use of the land was... Read More
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