The Central Library

I visited the new Seattle Public Library yesterday and took some photos…

There are banks of computer stations everywhere. As in the other library branches, the majority of the computers are marked with yellow “Internet, Word, Excel” signs. The others have pink tags, apologetically labeled “Library Catalog Only”.

I think that architect Rem Koolhaus was going for an organic look. But seriously folks…

The first Seattle Public Library opened in 1891. It moved four times in its first ten years, before the fourth location, Yesler Mansion, burned to the ground.

The Library’s first permanent home was built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1906. An expansion was added in 1946, and the building was finally torn down in 1956 to make room for a new Central Library. The second Central Library opened in 1960 and an addition was made to the building in 1979. It was demolished in 2001 so that the new library could be built on the same site as the others.

I noticed this old volume, Travels in Tartary, China, and Thibet During the Years 1844-1856, shelved near one of the books that I went in to get. It was printed in 1900. So it has survived the two previous Central Libraries — or anyway, the buildings that held the library.

Categorized as Before


  1. I heard a description on NPR the other day. This brings it to life. I share your fondness for libraries. Hmmm…Wonder where that connection came from.

  2. I wonder what you’d think if my underhanded remark about the Dewey Decimal System had made it out of this entry’s first draft.

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