JULY 5, 1921
First County Librarian, Margaret Livingston (1921-1933), is appointed. *
AUGUST 1, 1921
Orange County Free Library begins operating with a staff of three (Margaret Livingston & two assistants, Arline Davis and Frances Stockebrand), headquartered at 508 N. Main Street in Santa Ana in a rented room shared with the County Farm Advisor.
AUGUST 19, 1921
San Juan Capistrano Branch (“SJC Union High School Branch”) is established and begins operating in September out of the community’s new high school building. First Librarian: M.M. Parker. Though housed in a school, SJC is considered a “community branch” as it has its own reading room and a separate entrance for community members. In 1937, the library relocates to an adobe building in the downtown area, then moves again in 1940. In 1953, SJC Library relocates to the Old Justice Court Adobe, then to Adobe Shopping Center in 1965. The library’s current building, designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, opens in 1983.
AUGUST 29, 1921
Westminster Branch is established, operating from a schoolhouse with a collection of 180 books. First Librarian: Louise Turpin. The library later moves to Odd Fellows Hall, then relocates to Sigler Park in 1929. In 1963, Westminster absorbs the Barber City Branch and moves to a storefront in the Westminster Shopping Center. In 1977, it absorbs the Bolsa Branch and opens in a new building at the branch’s current location.
SEPTEMBER 19, 1921
Harper-Fairview (Costa Mesa) Branch is established along with library service to the Harper-Fairview School District. The City of Costa Mesa is incorporated in 1923 and the Harper-Fairview branch is replaced by the Costa Mesa Branch in a new location.
OCTOBER 11, 1921
Brea Branch is established in a rented show room. First Librarian: Anna McVeigh. The library moves to city hall in 1929, then to its own building in 1953. It relocates to Brea Shopping Center in 1962, then to the city’s Civic/Cultural Center on September 25, 1981.
Seal Beach Branch opens in Citizens National Bank. First Librarian: Sarah Dyson. Relocates to temporary quarters in 1929, then to city hall in 1930. Moves to a new location across from city hall in 1962, then into a new building in 1978.
OCTOBER 25, 1921
Garden Grove Branch opens in the YMCA building. First Librarian: Pearl Haskins. Moves to larger quarters in the Chamber of Commerce building in 1933, then relocates again in 1952. Current building opens in November 1969 as the system’s first Regional Branch. Today, the Garden Grove Main Library is a Federal and State Government Publications Depository, housing the library system’s government documents collection.
Laguna Beach Branch opens. First Librarian: Lucie V. Boyle. The community holds a large party and charges one book per person for admission. New building is constructed in 1954. Current building opens in 1972 with expansion space added in 1981.
NOVEMBER 8, 1921
La Habra Branch opens. First Librarian: Mrs. Frederick B. Drake. Relocates in 1929 and again in 1937. A new facility is built in 1966. New library opens in 1983 with twice the space.
After one year of operation: The Orange County Free Library provides library services from 38 community distribution points established throughout Orange County: 19 schools and 19 community service “branches” (which include full library branches plus institutional service points and smaller “stations” in stores, rooms, or other locations).
Collection: 10,463 volumes.
Registered Borrowers: 4,609.
DECEMBER 18, 1922
Hewes Park Branch opens. Closes February 1, 1935.
Costa Mesa Branch opens. First Librarian: Sarah Conant (hired the following year). The library relocates to larger building in November 1951. A new building is constructed in 1960. To accommodate a population explosion, another new building (named for Judge Donald Dungan) is completed in July 1987. Costa Mesa Library’s current building opens May 24, 2019.
Library Admin HQ relocates to the basement of the Hall of Records, Room 112.
Card catalogs are installed in Orange County Free Library branches.
First numbered library cards are issued to the public.
Atwood and Diamond Branches are established. Atwood closes April 28, 1929 after the building is destroyed in a fire. Diamond closes in late 1930-early 1931.
MAY 22, 1928
San Clemente Branch opens in the butler’s pantry of a community club house. First Librarian: Loral H. Caskey. Moves to larger quarters in 1940, then to a new building in May 1951. Relocates again in October 1956. Present location opens June 7, 1982.