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Welcome to the Friends of Little Tokyo Branch Library!


The Little Tokyo Branch Library of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system provides children and adult literacy programs to all Downtown Los Angeles communities (Civic Center, Little Tokyo, Bunker Hill, Arts District, Skid Row, and South Park). In the entire city, the Little Tokyo Branch Library is the sole provider of current Japanese language periodicals and holds an extensive Japanese American Heritage Collection as well as manga and anime. Additionally, it also administers the most circulated library DVD collection in the entire city.

History: 

In 1933 the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles initiated a request to the Library Commission to establish a much needed library in Little Tokyo. In July 1977, an experimental Inner City Bookmobile Unit (ICBU) bookmobile stop was created in Little Tokyo and the first bilingual Japanese-English-speaking librarian, Yoshiko Solomon, was established for the area. 

The Friends: 

A small group of supporters, calling themselves the Friends of the Little Tokyo Bookmobile, worked hard for a more permanent library. 

Five years later, in April of 1982, the group was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as the Friends of Little Tokyo Public Library Services, and its first president was Tomiye Yonemoto. Today, as the Friends of Little Tokyo Branch Library, its purpose remains to improve library services in the Little Tokyo area and the wider Japanese and Japanese American community. After several temporary sites, the branch celebrated the opening of its own permanent library building on the corner of 2nd and Los Angeles Streets in September 2005. The Friends continue its support of community and children's literacy and family-oriented cultural and social programs, Japanese language materials and the Japanese American Heritage Collection (established by the Yasuda Trust).  

In 1984, the Friends approached Centenary United Methodist Church (on Third Street and Central Avenue), which expressed interestin providing 2,500 square feet of space, rent-free, for five years. 

The Friends raised $50,000 for furnishings, bookshelves, equipment and carpeting.            On April 29, 1989, the Little Tokyo Branch was opened as an experimental branch.

The popularity of the Little Tokyo Branch resulted in its designation as a permanent facility in 1992. A larger facility was needed. The Friends formed an expansion committee and was instrumental in locating space in the Neptune Building at Alameda and Third Streets. The City Council approved a 10-year lease and the Friends pledged $35,000 for furnishings, shelving and equipment. 

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