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  • Main Library

    Main Library SMB Entrance 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Hours of Service*
    Sunday: 1pm to 5pm
    Monday: 10am to 9 pm
    Tuesday: 10am to 9 pm
    Wednesday: 10am to 9 pm
    Thursday: 10am to 9 pm
    Friday: 10am to 5:30pm
    Saturday: 10am to 5:30 pm
    Virtual tours of Main Library  
    *Hours of service listed above may be affected by holiday closures

    Tours. Docent led tours are offered the third Friday of each month at 12:30 pm. Meet in the lobby area near Customer Services.

  • Getting There

    The Main Library is located at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 6th Street.

    View Main Library in a larger map

    By Freeway. Take the I-10 freeway to the Lincoln Blvd exit.  Turn right onto Lincoln Blvd. and proceed .4 miles to Santa Monica Blvd where you will turn left.  The Library will be one block ahead on the right.

    By Bus. The Main Library is directly served by the Big Blue Bus lines 1, 7, R7, R10, and 18. Big Blue Bus lines 2, 3, R3, 8, and 9 also stop within a short walking distance.

    By Rail. The Metro Expo line stops within a ten minute walk to the Main Library.


    Subterranean Garage. An underground parking structure can be accessed from 7th Street between Santa Monica Blvd. and Arizona Ave.  The structure has 525 parking spaces on three levels and is open from 8am to 11pm daily. Real-time parking space availability for the structure can be viewed on the City's Transportation Division website. Click on "Santa Monica Public Library." The first thirty minutes are free. Rates are $1 per hour for the first two hours and thirty minutes. After that, the rate is $1 per thirty minutes. Weekdays the daily maximum is $10. Weekends the daily maximum is $5. Parking on level P1 is restricted to stays of three hours or less. Parking spaces for those displaying disabled placards or plates are on P1. Visitors parking for three hours or longer should park on levels P2 or P3.  The Library does not provide validation for parking. 

    Street-level parking lot. A limited number of metered one-hour parking spaces are available.  Entry to the lot is from 7th Street.

    Bike Racks.  Cyclists can secure their bikes at one of several bike racks installed along the north side of the building.

    Returning Materials

    Main Library - Exterior Materials Return - Exterior return slots are located at the side of the building on 6th street. This return is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and accepts books, magazines and audiovisual materials. A drive-up return bin is also available on the P1 level of the underground parking structure from 8:00am-11:00pm, 7 days a week - please note that garage parking is free for the first 30 minutes; after that, parking fees will be assessed. 

    Overview of Services and Collections

    Programs.  The Main Library offers an extensive range of free public programs for all ages and interests. Highlights include Summer Reading Clubs, Santa Monica Reads, film screenings, live music concerts, author talks and book signings.

    Computer Classes.  Free instructional classes on using the Internet and the Library's electronic resources are held in the Computer Training Room.

    Collections.  In addition to a wide array of books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, music CDs, and audio books, the Main Library features a rich World Languages collection and the Santa Monica History Collection.

    Meeting Room Rentals.  The Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium, Multipurpose Room and Community Room are available for rent for community sponsored meetings and programs.

    Internet Computers.  The Main Library is equipped with 70 public access Internet stations in the second floor Computer Commons.

    Public Art.  The Main Library is proud to display the following works: "Underwater Canopy: (2006) by Carl Cheng (American, 1942-); a cultural monument: "Martin Luther King, Jr." by Rojo with concept development and fabrication by Jeff Sanders and "Mural for the Santa Monica Public Library" (1934-35) by Stanton Macdonald-Wright (American, 1890-1973) -- on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

    Wi-Fi. The facility is equipped with free City Wi-Fi.

    Photocopiers and printers. Color and black-and-white printing and photocopying are available.

    Donations.  The library gratefully accepts donations. Materials not added to the Library's collection are given to the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library for sale in the Friends Book Store.  Please review the Library's Gifts and Donations policy for further information.

    Dining.  The Bookmark Cafe is located in the central courtyard and features salads, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast items, soft drinks, smoothies, teas and coffees.


  • Main Library History

    The first City of Santa Monica Library dates back to 1890, when town trustees accepted a gift of 800 volumes from the reading room maintained by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  Two rooms in a bank on Oregon Ave. (later Santa Monica Blvd.) were set aside for the Santa Monica Public Library. Library trustees and the City Librarian were also appointed that year.; In 1893 the library became free to the public.

    The library’s first permanent home was built in 1904 at Oregon Ave. and Fifth Street (later 503 Santa Monica Blvd.), using funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. As the collection and public use outgrew the small building, a bond issue was passed and the original Grecian-style building was expanded and remodeled in 1927  by E.J. Baume into a Spanish Revival design. Notable features of this facility were the murals in the children’s room by Eulalie Banks Wilson.

    Beginning in the 1950’s citizen efforts to replace the aging structure led voters to approve a bond to buy land and construct a new library at 1343 Sixth Street. The 74,000 square foot, two-story Modernist structure  opened in 1965 and served the community for nearly 40 years. Community support to improve library service continued, and two bonds were passed (in 1988 and 1998) to purchase additional property on the site and to fund Main Library expansion and Branch Library improvements. The old Main Library was demolished in 2003, and library service was provided in temporary quarters at 1324 Fifth St. during the new library’s construction.

    The Main Library , which opened at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. in January 2006, was designed by the internationally-acclaimed architectural firm, Moore Ruble Yudell of Santa Monica. Designed as a library for the 21st century, the two-level, 105,000 square foot facility serves as popular destination in the community with nearly a million visitors every year. The Library incorporates state-of-the-art technology, sustainable building and landscape features (earning the project a LEED Gold rating) and other amenities such as a café and the Friends of the Library Bookstore.  Through a loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Stanton Macdonald-Wright Library Mural, which was transferred from the City of Santa Monica to the Smithsonian in 1966, is again on view in the new Main Library.

    Additional details on the history of the Library - including historic images - can be accessed here.

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