The South Park Branch of The Seattle Public Library has:
The new South Park Branch at 8604 Eighth Ave. S. opened Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006. The $3 million new branch was the 20th project completed under the "Libraries for All" building program. (See the South Park Branch Building Facts for more information.)
The building was designed by Johnston Architects and built by Cope Construction Co.
The architects designed the contemporary stucco and cedar-clad building to create a civic presence. A plaza at the corner of Eighth Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street provides an outdoor gathering place.
A pattern in the concrete path that winds through the plaza is reminiscent of the original meandering path of the Duwamish River. The vertical exterior sign for the branch doubles as a fountain, with water cascading down the concrete monument.
Inside the branch, the 90,000 holes in the wood ceiling are both decorative and help absorb noise.
Spaces named for donors include: Guiseppe and Assunta Desimone Reading Area and The Satterberg Foundation Children's Area. (See Donors to the South Park Branch: Named Spaces for more information.)
Seattle artist Franklin Joyce created projection art called "South Park Lights" for the new building. Using theater lights, illustrations inspired by community groups and the history and future direction of South Park are projected onto an exterior wall of the building, next to the entry.
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs manages the Library's public art program.
The people of South Park began advocating for a branch library in 1908. The South Park Improvement Club asked The Seattle Public Library board of trustees for a branch and the South Park Ladies Civic Improvement Club submitted a petition with 177 signatures and identified available land.
At the time, the Library often responded by establishing "deposit stations" in locations such as pharmacies to see if they generated enough community support to warrant a full branch. The Library would deposit a collection of several hundred books and pay the storekeepers a penny for each book they circulated.
In July 1911 the Library opened a deposit station at the South Park Pharmacy; by year's end it had circulated 5,346 books.
In May 1913 the Library moved all the children's books from the pharmacy to a newly opened field house at the South Park Playfield. On Jan. 1, 1915, the Library closed the playfield station but reopened it after the community vigorously protested.
In September 1920 the pharmacy collection was moved to a general/grocery store that operated under several names. Budget cuts during the Depression led to the closure of all the Library's deposit stations on April 1, 1933.
In 1944 the Library opened several small stations, including in South Park, as an effort during World War II to serve people who couldn't get to their regular branch or the downtown library. In September 1947 the South Park station closed and service was taken over by a bookmobile. Over the years, the Library provided intermittent bookmobile service to seniors, child care centers, the community center, and people confined to their homes. But residents still wanted their own branch.
LIBRARIES FOR ALL CAPITAL PROJECTS AND THE SOUTH PARK BRANCH
In 1998, voters approved the $196.4 million "Libraries for All" (LFA) bond measure and The Seattle Public Library Foundation pledged to contribute privately raised money to improve the Library system. The measure included a $6 million Opportunity Fund for new or unanticipated neighborhood library capital needs for underserved areas.
In 2000, a community group called the South Park Library Steering Committee proposed using part of the Opportunity Fund to build a full-service branch in South Park.
The Library's Citizen Implementation Review Panel (CIRP) evaluated 10 proposals for funding and selected South Park as its top choice. CIRP recommended that the Library Board reserve money from the Opportunity Fund to build a library in South Park, and the Library Board and City Council agreed.
The Library bought property at the corner of Eighth Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street and began construction in July 2005. The branch opened Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006.