The Southwest Branch of The Seattle Public Library has:
The expanded Southwest Branch at 9010 35th Ave. S.W. reopened March 10, 2007. It was the 22nd project completed under the "Libraries for All" building program. (See the Southwest Branch Building Fact Sheet.)
The expansion was designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects and built by Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc.
The architects designed the expansion to create a civic presence for the branch, which patrons said was easy to miss along busy 35th Avenue Southwest.
Other design goals included retaining the welcoming entry and preserving the integrity of the original building so visitors could admire the exposed welded steel posts and beams.
Earth tones and light-colored wood create a sense of warm coziness inside the branch, and an exterior entry canopy protects patrons and the book drop from the weather.
Artist Katherine Kerr of Paradise Valley, B.C., took casts of the hands of branch patrons to help her create "Anthology," five sets of bronze hands at the entry that hold objects inspired by the thoughts of community members. Words inspired by patron comments about the branch are engraved in granite panels set into the pathway.
Thanks to funding from the Friends of the Southwest Branch, Seattle artist Morgan Brig created five copper and enamel panels that are mounted outside the meeting room. Called "The Constant Explorer," the artwork is a montage of images that reflect the concept of "a whole universe inside the library."
A bronze sculpture called "Mother Reading With Child" by Charles W. Smith, which was located in the original building, was reinstalled in the expanded branch.
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs manages the Library's public art program.
Local library service began March 8, 1945, when the Fauntleroy Station opened near the ferry landing. "Stations" had smaller collections of books and were open fewer hours than branches, but were needed to serve the boost in population the city saw during World War II.
Within five years the station was so well-used that Library officials said they needed another full-sized branch to serve the southern section of West Seattle.
In 1956, Seattle voters passed a $5 million bond issue to replace the circa 1906 Central Library and to use any leftover money to build new branches. The Southwest Branch was the first new branch to be built with the money.
Designed by the Seattle architectural firm of Durham, Anderson and Freed, the branch opened July 14, 1961. The Fauntleroy Station closed and its collection was moved to the new branch. Within two years the Southwest Branch was the third-busiest branch in the system.
The branch was renovated in 1986 but eventually the growth of the area outstripped its capacity to adequately serve the community.
LIBRARIES FOR ALL CAPITAL PROJECTS AND THE SOUTHWEST 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 plan included expanding the Southwest Branch.
Construction began in September 2005. The expanded branch reopened March 10, 2007.