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Library News Release

Release Date: 01/06/2004

Expanded Rainier Beach Branch opens Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004

A larger Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. S., the fifth project completed under The Seattle Public Library's 1998 voter-approved building program, will reopen its doors at noon Saturday, Jan. 17.

Public officials, authors and community performers will help celebrate the branch reopening event. All programs are free and everyone is welcome. The activities are made possible by premier sponsor Starbucks, and The Seattle Public Library Foundation. Community members interested in volunteering to assist at the grand reopening should call 206-386-4614. Volunteers are needed.

Program schedule
The dedication ceremony will begin at noon with City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs, Library Board Trustee Gordon McHenry Jr., Mayor Greg Nickels, City Councilwoman Jan Drago, Andrew McMasters from Jet City Improv and Les Femmes d'Enfer.

Entertainment will follow the ceremony. The schedule is as follows:

  • 12:30 p.m. - Sun Hak Choir
  • 1:30 p.m. - Nabi Camara & Lagni Sussu
  • 2:30 p.m. - Rainier Beach High School students
  • 3:30 p.m. - Emerald City Jazz Ensemble.


A variety of authors will read in the community meeting room. The schedule is as follows:

  • 1 p.m. - Lensey Namioka, author of "Ties that Bind, Ties That Break"
  • 2 p.m. - Nancy Rawles, author of "Crawfish Dreams"
  • 3 p.m. - Mary Daheim, author of the "Alpine" and "Bed and Breakfast" mystery series
  • 4 p.m. - Kubota Gardens Foundation historian.


About the building
The expansion project added 5,994 square feet and many new amenities to the branch. The 15,000-square-foot facility features an updated collection of 66,700 books and materials, more seating, new furniture and book stacks, and upgraded technology services and equipment. There also is more electrical, communications and computer connections, more efficient circulation desk and additional work areas, better acoustics and noise control, improved lighting inside and outside the building, and a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

Streeter & Associates Architects designed the expansion. Brick additions that house a new meeting room and a new children's area will anchor the existing building entrance and provide a civic quality to the branch. A translucent, fan-shaped canopy over the entry court will be illuminated at night and will increase the building's visibility. Images of the design may be viewed at http://www.spl.org/lfa/neighborhoodlibs/rainierbeach/rbedesigns.html. The contractor was Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc. Local artists Anna Skibska and Ariela Boronat created artwork for the building.

Branch history
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 1917 and the station lost 453 volumes valued at $428.

In 1921, the Library reestablished a deposit station at the Rainier Beach Dry Goods store at 9262 ½ 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.

In 1947, bookmobile service was instituted in the Rainier Beach area.

On Sept. 10, 1966, the Library opened a branch in a leased storefront at 9250 57th Ave. S. Seven years later, the branch moved to another leased spot, a former bank building at 9021 Rainier Ave. S.

In February 1981, a 9,006-square-foot building designed to be a branch opened in its current location in the Rainier Beach commercial area near the shores of Lake Washington. Building improvements were made in 1986.

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. Construction on the Rainier Beach Branch began in March 2003. There are currently 18 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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