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Public Libraries of California
Cities A-L

There's a lot of categories here: buildings which predated the Carnegie program and were replaced; buildings contemporaneous with the Carnegie buildings; buildings which replaced the Carnegie libraries, often those with earthquake damage; and new buildings. The earlier buildings exhibit a touch more civic pride and boosterism.


Built 1906: replaced in 1968 from damage that I suspect was caused by an earthquake.


Alhambra, CA public library, now demolished

(L) Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' card, mailed in 1927.

(R) Albertype postcard, distributed by the Central Drug Co.

Alhambra, CA public library
Beale Memorial Library
Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield, CA

(L) The card was mailed in 1906, with the comment to Cora,

'Just to let you know I am still with the living.'
(R) Edward H. Mitchell card, mailed in 1911.

Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield, CA
Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield, CA

Built in 1900 in memory of General Edward Fitzgerald Beale. The library building (not the clock tower) was destroyed in a 1952 earthquake, and not replaced until 1957.

Kern County Free Library

This is the replacement 1957 library, in turn replaced in 1988. At the time the card was printed--sometime between 1957 and 1961--its circulation ran between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 books per year, according to the publisher.

In the background are a bookdrop and a lot of school buses.

Kern County Free Library (CA)
Carmel by the Sea (Harrison Memorial Library)
Harrison Memorial Library, Carmel by the Sea, CA

Photo post card, likely from 1926-1940s.


1928 building. The Library seems to have improved a great deal since my previous site went online, as now they are a Library Journal  star library.

Compton, CA public library

The Library is now part of the County of Los Angeles Library System. At the minimum, this building has been replaced.


The postcard came from Columbia Wholesale Supply.


Apparently miscaptioned as San Diego. Close, but no cigar: it's across the San Diego Bay from the city.

Founded in 1890 and funded privately at first. Its next home was in the Hotel Del Coronado, whose owner, John D. Spreckles, donated the building shown. Like Waukesha's Carnegie building, it serves as a Reading Room in a larger public library.

Eno & Matteson post card.

Coronado, CA public library, captioned as San Diego.
Hollywood, CA public library in Mission style

This either preceded or replaced a Carnegie library. The card style is definitely pre-WWI; the cars mid-to-late 1920s, and the postmark, 1938.


See what I mean? If this were only a Curt Teich card, the number would date it to 1923, when the Carnegie building was moved and later expanded. Alas, its a Theo.Sohmer card, printed by Western Publishing.


Fate unknown.

Solano County Library, California


County Library and Statue of Chief Solano, Fairfield, Cal.

The county is Solano, and the Library building is replaced. But the Chief is more properly known as Sem-Yeto, Chief of the Suisunes.

Julian, CA public library, now a San Diego Countybranch library

Branch of the San Diego County Library.


Card by Design Elements.

Laton, CA public library

Information from a 2010 Hanford Sentinel article.

This must be one of California's oldest extant library buildings (1904). Strangely, it was built of stucco and wood, designed by the McDougall Bros., who also designed Hanford's Carnegie Library. It was renovated in 2003.

The photo postcard doesn't show it at its best. There appears to be a motel cabin at left, and the yard is unkempt, to say the least.

Long Beach
Long Beach, CA City Hall & Public Library

At first glance, I thought this was the Carnegie library, of which I have many postcards, but it's an earlier, dual-purpose building housing City Hall and the Library.

It didn't try to pack in a fire station, like several Wisconsin towns did. The fire tower is at left.

M. Rieder postcard, postmarked 1907.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has its own page.

Los Gatos

Replaced the Carnegie library sometime after 1954. This Civic Center, also housing the library, won the First Annual Governor's Design Award in 1966, according to the Roger Koskela Agency postcard. The photo was taken by Vince Avila.

Civic Center, Los Gatos, CA
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