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Library News Release

Release Date: 06/29/2004

New Beacon Hill Branch opens July 10

The much anticipated new Beacon Hill Branch --- considered by many to be the prototype for The Seattle Public Library's comprehensive "Libraries for All" building program --- will open with a festive celebration at noon Saturday, July 10.

For more than 41 years, the library operated out of a 3,200-square-foot storefront at 2519 15th Ave. S., in a converted retail store originally built in 1927.

The new 10,800-square-foot building at 2821 Beacon Ave. S. is the 11th project completed under the 1998 voter-approved building program. Early on, Library officials thought it would be one of the first projects to be finished, but securing the best location for the community's new branch delayed its opening.

"I'm incredibly proud to welcome the residents of Beacon Hill to their new library," said Deborah L. Jacobs, city librarian. "It gives me such a sense of satisfaction to open this building."

Gordon McHenry Jr., a member of The Seattle Public Library board of trustees and board steward for the Beacon Hill Branch, oversaw the project from start to finish.

"I appreciate the community's patience," McHenry said. "We've worked hard and long to deliver the best library possible. Opening this branch, in this community, is a marvelous milestone."

The architect was Carlson Architects and Steele Corp. was the contractor. Miles Pepper designed artwork for the building. The former branch closed June 27 to allow workers to move operations to the new branch.

Program schedule
The dedication ceremony for the new branch will begin at noon with Jacobs, McHenry, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, City Councilman David Della, representatives from the Friends of The Seattle Public Library, the Library book fairy "Lulu" and the José Martí Child Development Center children's choir.

At 12:30 p.m., Trio Los Latinos, a local mariachi band, will begin performing. At 1:30 p.m., Pullman artist Pepper will talk about his art --- a kinetic boat sculpture above the main entry --- in the parking lot.

The rest of the schedule is:

  • 1:30 p.m. - Sultan Mohamed, an artist, author and illustrator of "The Story of Coffee" who teaches art at Asa Mercer Middle School;
  • 2 p.m. - Kaze Daiko, which will conduct a taiko drumming performance on the outside entry patio;
  • 2:30 p.m. - Ken Mochizuki, author of the youth adult novel "Beacon Hill Boys" and the picture books "Baseball Saved Us," "Heroes," and "Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara story";
  • 3 p.m. - Michael Powers, a guitarist and composer;
  • 3:30 p.m. - Willie Weir, a writer, photographer, speaker and bicycle advocate;
  • 4 p.m. - Chinese Youth Orchestra, conducted by Warren Chang, which will perform on the outside entry patio;
  • 4:30 p.m. - Peter Bacho, a teacher at the University of Washington in Tacoma and author of the books "Cebu," "Boxing in Black and White," "Dark Blue Suit and Other Stories" and "Nelson's Run."


The celebration is made possible by premier sponsor Starbucks Coffee, signature sponsor Safeco Insurance and The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

The architecture and craft of the Beacon Hill Branch
A one-hour panel discussion that begins at 12:30 p.m. will highlight the concepts behind the design and craftsmanship of the construction. David Kunselman, Library capital projects manager, will moderate. The schedule is:

  • 12:30 p.m. - Introductions by Kunselman
  • 12:35 p.m. - Design concepts by Don Carlson and Mark Withrow of Carlson Architects
  • 12:50 p.m. - Landscape by Barbara Swift of Swift and Co.
  • 1 p.m. - Stonework by Jan Nielson of Marenakos Rock Center
  • 1:10 p.m. - Plaster and finishes by Mark Ricketts of Medici Architectural Finishes LLC.
  • 1:20 p.m. - Questions and answers


Community joins in
In conjunction with the opening, the North Beacon Hill Community Council is sponsoring a "Picnic in the Park" on July 10. The picnic will be in Stevens Place Park, at Beacon Avenue South and 17th Avenue South, from noon to 5 p.m.

Organizers are looking for Beacon Hill-based family entertainment groups to perform at the picnic between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Amplified music isn't allowed. For more information about community events, call Dina McDermott at 206-328-2167.

League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters will be on hand at the Beacon Hill Branch from noon to 6 p.m. to allow anyone who is interested to register to vote.

About the building
The new $5,358,990 branch has an expanded collection capacity of 40,200 books and materials, including collections in Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and Tagalog. The branch has more seating, special areas for young adults, 24 public computers, a meeting room, adult reference and reading areas, and parking for 24 vehicles.

A 400-square-foot neighborhood service center makes the entire building 10,800 square feet. Two study rooms provide space for tutoring and other uses, and a quiet room provides an alternative to the activity of the main reading room.

More than 2,000 new children's books have been added to the collection, thanks to donations in memory of Betty Jane Narver, former Library Board member and community leader. The books have a commemorative bookplate to honor Narver, who died in December 2001.

Libraries for All
In 1998, Seattle voters approved a $196.4 million bond measure to fund improvements to all 22 existing branches, build new branches in underserved areas and construct a new Central Library. There are currently 13 active building projects under way. For more information about the building program, visit www.spl.org.

For more information about the opening event, call 206-386-4636.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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