Capitol Hill Branch History
The City Council funded the Susan J. Henry branch after library bond failures in 1950 and 1952. Property originally donated for the branch by the Henry family was unsuitable for the library. With permission from the Henry family, it was sold, and the proceeds used to purchase the library branch’s current site. Ground was broken in 1953 and the Susan J. Henry Branch opened in 1954.
Capitol Hill Branch 2015 improvements
After 11 years of use, the carpeting throughout the branch and the flooring on the stairs needed to be replaced.
The Capitol Hill Branch was refurbished in early 2015. It closed Monday, Jan. 12 and reopened Saturday, Feb. 7.
While the branch was closed, we also relocated some desks and shelves to increase efficiency and flexibility and make the entry more comfortable. The quiet study room on the second floor also was repainted and refurnished.
The changes made it easier for patrons to get help from staff. We created flexible spaces and made it easier to enter the branch.
- A single staff service desk to make it easier for patrons to know where to get help
- Relocated holds area and additional self-service checkout station
- Shorter shelves near entry
- Laptop bar in the northeast seating alcove
- More electrical and data boxes
- Repainted and refurnished quiet study room on the second floor
We promised to protect the public's investment in its buildings as part of the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. The Capitol Hill Branch improvements are part of our commitment to keeping Library buildings well-maintained, clean and comfortable for you.
- Approximately $220,000
Sources of funds
- The Seattle Public Library Foundation
- Library Capital Improvement Program budget
Capitol Hill Branch 2003 replacement
The original 4,904-square-foot Henry Branch, which opened in 1954, had aged and needed replacing.
The new branch now has:
- updated collection capacity of 40,200 books and materials,
- more seats
- program areas for children and teens
- more computers
- a meeting room
- underground parking
- Project type: Replace existing branch
- Completion date: 2003
- Budget for capital costs: $5.7 million
- Total library program area: 11,615 square feet (formerly 4,904 square feet)
- Computers: 21 (formerly 14)
- Artist: Iole Alessandrini
- Art budget: $42,953
- Library Board steward: Greg Maffei
- Architects: Johnston Architects and Cutler Architects
- Contractor: Summit Central Construction Inc.
- May 2003: Residents enjoyed activities, food and music at the grand opening celebration of the new Capitol Hill Branch on Saturday, May 31.
- December 2001: Construction began on the new branch.
- Nov. 3, 2001: The Henry Branch closed.
- March 2001: Residents attended a meeting and viewed images developed during the final design phase.
- November 2000: Residents saw the first images of the new branch at a public meeting.
- September 2000: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees selected Seattle artist Iole Alessandrini to design artwork for the new branch.
- May 2000: Residents attended a pre-design "hopes and dreams" meeting to share their ideas on design, services and programs, collections and artwork.
- December 1999: The Library Board selected Johnston Architects and Cutler Architects to design the new branch.
- October 1999: The Library Board voted to build the new branch on the current site, 425 Harvard Ave. E.
- May 1999: Residents attended a second meeting regarding siting the new branch.
- April 1999: Residents discussed potential sites at the first community meeting to talk about where to build the new branch.