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February 24, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 08/05/2004

Newly expanded Columbia Branch reopens Aug. 22

The newly expanded Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S., will reopen with a festive music celebration beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22.

The 12,420-square-foot building is the 12th project completed under the 1998 "Libraries for All" voter-approved building program.

The architect was Cardwell Architects and Graham Contracting Ltd. was the contractor. Gu Xiong designed artwork for the building. Xiong, a mixed-media artist from Vancouver, B.C., photographed residents of the multicultural Columbia City and combined their photos with messages - written in English and in the residents' native languages - that evoke a sense of joy and belonging.

Program schedule
The dedication ceremony for the new branch will begin at 1 p.m. with City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs, Mayor Greg Nickels, Library Board Trustee Linda Larson, City Council President Jan Drago, representatives from the Friends of The Seattle Public Library, the Library book fairy "Lulu" and "Captain Leroy & The Zydeco Locals."

The band will play inside until 2 p.m. The high-energy "Zydeco Locals" perform traditional and modern tunes - sung in both French and English.

The rest of the schedule is as follows:

  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Arts and crafts with hat making in the children's area; refreshments will be served in the meeting room;
  • 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. - The "Kalass" band will play on the lawn behind the branch, outside the new meeting room. "Kalass" unites African pop with other contemporary African world music styles like Zouk, Soca, jazz, rhythm and blues and funk. The music is danceable, upbeat and warm;
  • 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - The "Emerald City Jazz Ensemble" will play modern American jazz on the lawn behind the branch, outside the new meeting room. The unique aspect of the group is its intergenerational appeal and ability to communicate musically to a diverse audience.

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

League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters will be on hand at the Columbia Branch from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to help patrons register to vote or to update their voter registration information.

About the building
The $3,517,985 expansion project increased the 6,825-square-foot branch to 12,420 square feet. The expanded branch has more seating; 24 public computers and instructional areas; modern electrical, mechanical and ventilation systems; a more efficient interior layout; better access for people with disabilities and parking for 17 vehicles.

The library is in the Columbia City Landmark District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The updated collection includes materials in Chinese, Spanish,Vietnamese, Somali, Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, and Tagalog. Also available are materials for people who are learning English as a second language.

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 10 projects in the active design or construction phase. For more information about the building program or opening, visit, or call 206-386-4636.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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