AKA: Los Angeles Public Library Hollywood Branch #2, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Parkinson and Parkinson, Architects (firm); Donald Berthold Parkinson (architect); John Parkinson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1940, demolished 1982

2 stories

1623 North Ivar Avenue
Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Designed by Donald Parkinson (1895-1945) of Parkinson and Parkinson architects, this library cost $90,000 to complete and opened on 04/30/1940. According to the architects, "The design problem confronted by the architects was that of constructing a library to incorporate the present building which was moved from its previous site on Hollywood Boulevard to the new location [on Ivar Street]. (See "Hollywood Branch Library,"Accessed 09/03/2010.) The first floor of the plan contained the main book circulation room, reference room, stairway, check room and restrooms. Managerial offices and a work room also were located on the first floor. Steel book stacks existed on the first and second floors. Children's spaces occupied most of the second floor. In order to soften the interior, lighting was indirect. Acoustic tiles on the ceiling were meant to dampen noise to a minimum. The building had gas heat.

A document produced by the architects, Parkinson and Parkinson, for the Los Angeles Public Library, described the library's exterior: "The new Hollywood Branch Library...is revolutionary in library design. The severe simplicity of the Ivar Street elevation is accentuated by the concentration of detail at the main entrance. At this point a colored tile fountain with flowing water emanating from a bronze detailed spout suggests a delightful entrance. The walls surrounding other sides of the building are carried out in the same tone with the fenestration affording all detail." This document described the interior: "The design problem confronted by the architects was that of constructing a library to incorporate the present building which was moved from its previous site on Hollywood Boulevard to the new location. The solution shows a skillful handling of book circulation and library control. Directly inside the entrance is the main book circulation room which is flanked on the right by the reference room, stairway to the second floor, check room and public lavatory facilities. This room is divided off to give the greatest east in controlling the book circulation from every aspect. In connection with this the architects have incorporated the idea of indirect lighting and paint harmony with an acoustically treated ceiling to afford the maximum comfort for both reader and attendants. The reference room has been handled in the same manner with the control being places at the main and secondary entrance. This was done to offer the readers every opportunity for convenience in direct entrance to one room or the other." (See "Hollywood Branch Library,"Accessed 09/03/2010.) Popular historians Will (1885–1981) and Ariel Durant (1898-1981), who resided nearby, used the Hollywood Regional Branch Library for many years, while writing their books, including the 11-volume, The Story of Civilization.

Demolished. this library burned in an arson fire at 2:00 a.m. on 04/13/1982. Fourteen engine companies fought the fire for one-and-a-half hours before putting it out. The branch contained some rare theater and movie related items, particularly theater programs. According to the Los Angeles Times: "The theater arts collection is of particular value and may prove difficult, if not impossible, to replace....It contained 'out-of-print and rare books and periodicals--magazines like Variety and Billboard--and old theater programs....'" (See Michael Seiler and Anne G. Ball, "Flames Destroy Hollywood Library: $3.3-Million Loss Includes Irreplaceable Theater Art Items," Los Angeles Times, 04/14/1982, OC edition, p. A11.) The Los Angeles Public Library was feeling the effects of Proposition 13, the anti-tax initiative started by Howard Jarvis at the time of the fire. Replacement costs would be high and library officials had no idea how to get the money. "It will take $200,000 to demolish what is left of the gutted structure and about $1.5 million to build a replacement building....Another $103,000 will be needed for replacement equipment and $1.5 to $2 million for the books, magazines and other materials lost...." A replacement library by Santa Monica architect Frank O. Gehry (b. 1929) opened on this site in 1985.

PCAD id: 15487