Chinatown Branch Library, built in 1921 by architect G. Albert Lansburgh is a Carnegie library originally named the North Beach Branch. It is the third branch in the system. Located in Chinatown, on Powell Street between Washington and Jackson, the name was changed in 1958 to more accurately reflect the community served. In 1972, the Chinese language, and the Chinese American Interest collections were started in response to the needs and interests of the Chinatown community. In 1991, public and private funds were obtained for a major renovation and expansion of the Chinatown Branch Library. The branch was seismically retrofitted and expanded to twice its original size with a community meeting room and story-room available to use for programs and special events. After renovation the branch reopened on June 15, 1996. Chinatown Branch Library was renamed Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch Library on November 4, 2010.
Chinatown Branch Library before the renovation