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Research Guides

A Student's Guide to the Public Library: Getting Started

Using the public library for research and beyond.

Subject Guide

Public Libraries vs. Academic Libraries

Academic Libraries and Public Libraries


An Academic Library is a library that is run by and for an academic institution such as a college or university; Long Beach City College is an Academic Library.  An Academic Library:

  • Supports the information needs of college students and faculty

  • Focuses on school curricula
  • Has a collection of books and media oriented towards academic research

Public Libraries are run by local government (usually at city or county level) for the entire community; the Long Beach Public Library and County of Los Angeles Public Library have locations serving this area.  A Public Library:

  • Supports the larger community, collecting works of general interest

  • Does not collect textbooks or support specific colleges

  • Will have some relevant educational works, but will specialize in popular books, CD's and DVD's



Nearby Public Libraries

Nearby Public Libraries

There are dozens of public libraries in LA and Orange Counties. 


  • Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) consists of the Main Library and 11 branches located throughout the City of Long Beach.  LBPL may be accessed online at 

    Ruth Bach Neighborhood Library
    is the branch closest to the Liberal Arts Campus, located in Heartwell Park at 4055 North Bellflower Bl., Long Beach, CA 90808.  Call (562) 570-1038 for hours. 

    The closest branch to the Pacific Coast Campus is Mark Twain, 1401 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach 90813.  (562) 570-1046. 

    Main Library is located at 101 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, CA 90822.  (562)570-7500.

  • County of Los Angeles Public Library (COLAPL) has 85 facilities throughout the county.  Their website is 

    The County branch library closest to either LBCC campus is Angelo M. Iacoboni Library at 4990 Clark Ave., Lakewood, CA 90712.  (562) 866-1777.


Other major libraries in the region include:

  • Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), with 71 branches in the city of Los Angeles. 

    The closest branches to Long Beach are in Wilmington and San Pedro.  The Central Library is at 530 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071, (212)228-7272.  LAPL holds the best research collection of any public library west of the Mississippi River.

  • Orange County Public Library (OCPL) has 33 branches throughout the county. 

    The Mary Wilson Library is just on the other side of the Orange Curtain at 707 Electric Ave., Seal Beach, CA 90740.  (562) 431-3584.

Remote Access

Most public library catalogs are accessible by the public on their website.  Public library websites typically offer their cardholders access to subscription databases as well.  In California, all public libraries that take state funding are required to make library cards available to any resident that wants one, but you will have to go to a library in person to obtain a library card.  Once you have a card in hand, you can access the library's complete online offerings.

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