About Us: Building History
Library in 2003
Library in 2003
The original library building, erected in 1950, was the chapel for the Villa Cabrini Academay, a school for girls founded by Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini.  Mother Cabrini was the first American canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.   She lived and performed some of her work in the Verdugo Mountains above Burbank at a "preventorium" she started for poor girls.  She died in 1917, was beatified in 1938, and in 1946 was canonized as the Patron Saint of Immigrants.

Library in 1950
Library in 1950
Woodbury University purchased the property in 1986 and renovated the chapel to house the library.  The annex, formerly used as a dormitory for elder nuns and candidates entering the convent, was converted into offices and stacks to house the library collection.  Alumni Carlos and Darryl de Falla of de Falla and Dawson Design Group donated their time to design the new interior, including the glass enclosed corridor connecting the chapel and the annex.

As you enter the library from the circulation area, the closets to the left and right were confessionals.

Mother Cabrini
Mother Cabrini
The upstairs loft area of the library, now used as a study area, was a choir area. The rooms on either side of the chapel housed the pipes for the organ.  These rooms are now used to store microfilm and archive materials.

Left in place during the renovation were the original chandaliers, terazzo tile flooring and stained glass windows.

Donations granted through the Library Associates group have helped fund the remodeling of the front entrance lobby, provided new carpet, and the remodel of the annex building which included the creation of the electronic classroom/study hall.