National Library Week has me thinking about special libraries in Los Angeles, both past and present, that I don't know much about. Today I chose the Los Angeles Law Library. According to their website they have been around since 1891 and are the second largest public law library in the United States! Their main library building, in the Los Angeles Civic Center, is nearly 175,000 square feet. In addition to the main building they have branch collections in courthouses in Long Beach, Norwalk, Pomona, Santa Monica and Torrance. Its also interesting to note they have public library partnerships with the Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles Public Library, the Pasadena Public Library, the Compton Library, and the Lancaster Regional Library. An individual can pay a security deposit of $140 and check out up to seven items for five days. Late fees are $2.00 per item, per day, with a cap of $60. The details of their circulation policy can be found on their website.
I did a little digging in the Los Angeles Times and found a notice of incorporation for the Law Library of Los Angeles which took place on August 5, 1886. It's first location was in the tower of the County Courthouse (a photo of which can be found in the LAPL Photo Collection). That must have been a separate law library, as the Times on April 11, 1891 announced that an ordinance had been passed to establish a county law library. Litigants would be charged an extra dollar for every case, suit, or appeal filed with the County Clerk to fund this new library. I'll continue to dig when I have more time.