The Rainier Beach Branch of The Seattle Public Library has:
The expanded Rainier Beach Branch opened Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004. It was the fifth project completed under the 1998 voter-approved "Libraries for All" building program. (See the Rainier Beach Branch Building Fact Sheet for more information.)
The expansion was designed by Streeter & Associates Architects and built by Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc. Brick additions that house a new meeting room and a new children's area anchor the building entrance. A fan-shaped canopy over the entry is illuminated at night to increase the building's visibility. Tall ceilings in the main room take full advantage of natural light, and wood beams in the circulation area make the room warm and inviting. The steep slope behind the branch was graded and landscaped, turning it into a green space for the community.
Seattle glass artist Anna Skibska created three large sculptures of fused glass called "Gravity Law" that are in the circulation area.
Mixed-media artist Ariela Boronat, a former Rainier Beach resident, collected photographs from neighbors, transferred the images onto cloth and mounted the collage between two pieces of Plexiglas hanging near the new meeting room.
Ray Jensen's sculpture, "Pursuit of Knowledge," was moved from the former Central Library to the branch, and Richard Beyer's sculpture, "The Children," of children reading on a bench, remains at the branch.
See Art at the Rainier Beach Branch for more information.
Library service in Rainier Beach dates back to 1912, when The Seattle Public Library opened a deposit station at the Montera Pharmacy. The pharmacy was destroyed by fire in November 1917 and the Library lost 453 volumes valued at $428. In 1921 the Library re-established a deposit station at the Rainier Beach Dry Goods store at 9262½ 57th Ave. S., but that closed in 1924.
The community rallied behind library service. In 1928 the Rainier Beach Community Club, the Emerson School PTA and the Rainier Beach Women's Club persuaded the Library to open a part-time station at 9267 57th Ave. S. in a storefront rented for $20 a month.
The Rainier Beach Station opened on March 5, 1928, with books loaned from other branches, but the Great Depression took its toll and it closed in January 1932.
The Library began bookmobile service around the same time, but eliminated it due to budget restraints. Bookmobile service started again in October 1947, in part to serve areas of the city where library stations had been closed.
On Sept. 10, 1966, the Library opened a branch in a leased storefront at 9250 57th Ave. S., but circulation began to decline. In 1973 the branch moved to another leased spot, a former bank building at 9021 Rainier Ave. S.
In February 1981 the branch moved into a permanent facility, a 9,006-square-foot building at 9125 Rainier Ave. S. near the shores of Lake Washington. The building was upgraded in 1986, but the branch began to show the wear and tear of its growing use.
LIBRARIES FOR ALL CAPITAL PROJECTS AND THE RAINIER BEACH BRANCH
In 1998 voters approved the $196.4 million "Libraries for All" bond measure and The Seattle Public Library Foundation pledged to contribute privately raised money to improve the Library system, including expanding the Rainier Beach Branch.
Construction began in March 2003. The expanded branch reopened on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004.