Los Angeles County's public library system now includes thousands of e-books, computers with broadband Internet, and a virtual library. What began as a single branch with 50 books has grown to a system of 85 libraries serving 3.5 million people, and technology had a lot to do with the expansion.

"We still have the same mission we had in 1912 -- delivering information, culture, literacy and lifelong learning," County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said, reported the Daily News. "We're just delivering it differently than 100 years ago.

"Probably the biggest change you can see in the 21st century is the virtual library. People can now get on our website 24/7, download e-books, place holds on books, take classes on ed2go.com."

Last year, the library circulated about 17 million items, said Ken Kramer, the public affairs manager. Despite the growing popularity of e-books and online information, people still visit libraries in great numbers.

Ultimately there may be room for both digital and physical books and magazines, but the library plans to continue expanding their e-book offerings to meet the growing demand of e-book and tablet users, while maintaining their huge collection of physical books with a computer management system.

In 1912, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors established a free public library shortly after passage of the the state's County Free Library Act in 1911.

Photo: Compton Library and a ceramic tile mural by Dora De Larios, a local Los Angeles ceramics artist. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

To celebrate the occasion, the L.A. County library system unveiled a new library card marking its centennial, and gave free books away to children at its numerous branch locations.