Special collections are unique library materials that are available to the public throughout LA County Library. To find out more about these collections, contact the Libraries listed below.
LA County Library’s Digital Collections contain images, documents, and audiovisual materials that document the history and culture of Los Angeles County. The library digitizes rare and unique materials from its own collections, partners with other county departments to provide access to county materials of historical interest, and collaborates with the communities it serves to create local history materials that reflect the historical experiences of Los Angeles County residents.
Collected by Ruth and Arkel Erb over a twenty-year period, the collection consists of nonfiction and some fiction books, videos, magazines and maps and is one of the most complete mountaineering collections in the U.S. It includes materials on mountaineering in countries throughout the world, as well as on related subjects such as caving, canoeing, backpacking, cooking, wilderness travel and survival techniques.
This collection consists of over 24,000 books and over 200 magazine and newspaper titles in paper and on microfilm as well as a collection of state documents including state and county budgets. The goal of this collection is to present a complete picture of the history, culture, environment and artistic expression of the people of California and to some extent, the western United States.
Established in 1994, this collection includes materials on public policy in local government and the private sector. The collection is named in honor of Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman in recognition of his more than 20 years of service to Los Angeles County.
Japanese Relocation Camp Collection
The Japanese Relocation Collection includes books, magazines, newspapers, as well as research dissertations related to World War II internment camps.
The Nautical Collection which began in 1976 includes materials on boating, boat repair, navigation, and materials donated by the Department of Beaches and Harbors and the Department of Regional Planning. It has been cited in LA Weekly as the “best nautical library.”
The Ron Shipton HIV Information Center was established in 1989 as a joint venture between LA County Library and the City of West Hollywood. It provides current books and videos on AIDS education, transmission, prevention, treatment , and legal issues.
The Surfing, Oceans, and Sustainability Collection (S.O.S.) contains more than 200 nonfiction books relating to surfing, oceans, and the environment. They speak to Malibu’s unique history as a surfing destination as well as its commitment to environmental stewardship and a healthy lifestyle.
The Bruce’s Beach Commemorative Collection, located at Manhattan Beach Library, consists of materials on African and African-American History. The collection was established in 2022 thanks to a donation of materials by Dr. Anthony Lee, a Manhattan Beach resident and retired professor of History at UCLA and West Los Angeles College.