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Pico Library

 Pico Exterior - copyright William Short 2201 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Branch Manager: Cecilia Tovar
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: Noon to 9 pm
Tuesday: Noon to 9 pm
Wednesday: Noon to 9 pm
Thursday: Noon to 9 pm
Friday: Noon to 5:30 pm
Saturday: 10am to 5:30 pm
Click the photo above for a gallery of Pico Branch photos  

Getting There

The Pico Branch Library is located at the Virginia Avenue Park Campus on Pico Blvd. between 21st Street and Cloverfield Blvd.

View Pico Branch Library in a larger map

By Freeway. Take the I-10 freeway to the Cloverfield Blvd. exit. Take Cloverfield Blvd. south for 0.3 miles and then turn right on Pico Blvd.

By Bus. The Pico Branch Library is served by the Big Blue Bus line 7. The Sunset Ride and Crosstown Ride Bus lines stop on the North East and South West side of 20th Street and Pico Blvd.


Two surface parking lots are available for 2 hour parking on the VAP Campus. The first parking lot is located on Pico Blvd, south of the Pico Branch. The second parking lot is located on Virginia Ave., north of the Pico Branch. Limited metered parking is also available on Pico Blvd. Residential parking permits are in effect on the side streets north of Pico Blvd. Monday through Friday.

Bike Racks. Cyclists can secure their bikes at the bike lockers adjacent to the Pico Branch Building. Bike valet is available on Saturdays during the Farmer's Market.

Returning Materials

Pico Branch – Exterior Materials Returns – Materials return is connected to the building, located to the right of the main entrance of the Pico Branch Library. This return is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and accepts books, magazines and audiovisual materials. Please do not drop donations into this return. All donations should be brought to the Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Overview of Services and Collections

Children. The Pico Branch offers story times and craft programs, book club gatherings, class visits, three group study rooms and much more.

Teens. Take advantage of our computers, study rooms, movie screenings, volunteer opportunities (8th grade and up), special programs, and more.

Adults. Enjoy our Book Group which meets the third Thursday of the month.

En Español. Ofrecemos cuentos para los niños, libros y audiolibros en español, fotonovelas y clases de computación (en el futuro).

The Annex Community Meeting Facility. A 56-person capacity meeting room is available for rent for meetings or programs that are free and open to the public.

Collections. Explore a wide array of popular books, magazines, DVDs, Music CDs, and books on CD for children, teens and adults.

Computers. The Pico Branch Library is equipped with 12 public access Internet stations, 8 children's computers, plus 3 Early Literacy (AWE) stations.

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

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

Branch History

Branch library service has been available at various locations in the Pico / Sunset Park area since the 1930s. A small branch was located at 1903 20th Street in a storefront building from 1931 until 1942, when it moved to a rented facility at 2030 Pico Boulevard in order to be closer to two schools. In 1956, the library moved into a newly-constructed facility at 2101 Ocean Park Boulevard and opened as the Fairview Branch Library.

The Pico Neighborhood Community Plan of 1983 addressed the need for a branch library to return to the neighborhood and suggested combining existing private sector commercial activities with public uses to include a library and a post office. As Virginia Avenue Park was being planned, the inclusion of a library was again raised. During the period 2001 to 2006, the City was focusing, however, on improvements to its three branch libraries and the construction of the new Main Library.

In 2008 the idea of a library returning to the Pico neighborhood gained momentum as the community considered the rebuilding of Edison Language Academy and the opportunity for a joint-use (Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and City) branch library was explored. The discussions led to the investigation of other locations for a branch, including along Pico Boulevard at a site to be acquired and in Virginia Avenue Park. Extensive community input into the siting, design and programming of the library occurred fall 2008 through spring 2011. In 2009, the City Council approved construction of a new branch library in Virginia Avenue Park and selected Koning Eizenberg Architects (KEA) as part of a competitive process. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 15, 2012. In 2014, the branch had its “soft” opening on April 24, and the ribbon-cutting, Grand Opening ceremony takes place on Saturday, June 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Information about the Pico Branch Library planning and construction project is available on the Pico Branch Project webpage.

The Pico Branch Library is sited to preserve park open space, integrate with the Farmers Market zone and other park buildings, and is oriented toward Pico Boulevard. The total cost of the project is $10.8 million from the City’s general and capital improvement funds. The 8,690 square-foot, single-story library designed by KEA has a two-building design. The main, 7,872 square-foot facility consists of children’s, teen, and adult collections; popular materials; a children’s area; three group study rooms; reading areas; public computers; and customer support services. To the west, across a fire lane, is the Annex, a separate 818 square-foot community room that is used for story times, educational, and cultural programs and can be rented by the public. The structures are connected at the roofline with a trellis, creating a pedestrian breezeway. A small, exterior amphitheater with terraced steps on the Annex’s south face enhances the building’s relationship to the Park Center and the Teen Center.

The Pico Branch project incorporates many sustainable features. The primary library building has clear glazing on three sides to provide natural daylighting and a strong visual connection to the park. A dynamic, folded roof design incorporates skylights for indirect lighting. The roof is treated to reflect sunlight to mitigate the heat island effect that contributes to smog. Large projecting roof overhangs and an expansive fabric canopy along the entrance façade provide shade for visitors. Landscaping includes new trees that provide additional shading, raised planters, and seat walls for comfortable outdoor seating. The first park in the U.S. to be awarded the LEED® Silver rating in 2005, the Pico Branch Library seeks a platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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