Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy Birthday, Burbank Libraries!

2013 marks a Century of Library Services in Burbank!

Circa 1935
Burbank’s first library came into being in the year 1913. The only mode of public transportation in this newly incorporated city was a streetcar drawn up Olive Avenue to the foothills by two mules. Once the mules reached the top of the line, they were given a free ride back down again on a platform attached to the trolley. For the first library, services were contracted from the Los Angeles County Library, and the Burbank Chamber of Commerce was responsible for getting the service started. In combination with the “Library of the Brotherhood” (Foresters), this newly established Burbank library was housed in rooms in the Thompson Block at the corner of San Fernando and Olive (where the Burbank Bar and Grill resides today). The library was the responsibility of a Ladies’ Auxiliary member, and was open only two hours per week. Since electricity was a luxury in those days, two lanterns hanging by ropes from the ceiling served as the library’s lighting system.

Interior, 1950s
 A century later, library services in Burbank have certainly evolved: three libraries, 88 staff members, a collection of 458,000 items and 1.1 million visitors last year! As we move into our next century of service, patrons can borrow e-books, read our blogs, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, visit our website via a smart phone, or connect their laptops to high-speed
when visiting the library.

No matter how our lives change in the next 100 years, there is no doubt that the library will be here to help meet the quest for knowledge, discovery, and community. We have many exciting events planned to celebrate our birthday, including the grand re-opening of our Northwest Branch later this year, in the spring. Visit us on our website (, subscribe to our email newsletter, or pick up a flyer on your next visit to the library to see all the ways we are celebrating our Century of Library Services!

Sharon Cohen
Library Services Director

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