At this location since 1906

The Seattle Public Library became a part of the city of Seattle in 1890. It operated from various downtown locations, always needing more space. After a fire burned down the Library’s Yesler Mansion location, in 1906 a Carnegie library opened at 1000 Fourth Avenue. When Seattle had outgrown that building, the second Central Library opened in 1960. It was later upgraded in 1979. The third and current Central Library, a result of the 1998 “Libraries for All” bond measure, opened May 23, 2004.


A Seattle gem

The new Central Library is the eighth project completed under the 1998 voter-approved Libraries for All building program. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed the new building in a joint venture with Seattle-based LMN Architects.


Site-integrated artwork

Acclaimed artists Ann Hamilton and Tony Oursler were selected in a national search for site-integrated art at the new library. Former artists-in-residence George Legrady, Mandy Greer and Lynne Yamamoto also have art on display. Art from the second Central Library includes George Tsutakawa’s first fountain and the “Northwest Screen” by artists James H. FitzGerald and Margaret Tomkins.

Named Spaces

Spaces named for donors include:

Spaces named for donors include: Anne Marie Gault Story Hour Room, Faye G. Allen Children's Center, Microsoft Auditorium, SirsiDynix Gallery, Evelyn W. Foster Learning Center, The Norcliffe Foundation Living Room, Maria Lee Koh and Family Fiction Collection, Starbucks Teen Center, Washington Mutual Foundation Meeting Room, Howard S. Wright Family & Janet W. Ketcham Meeting Room, PACCAR Inc. Meeting Rooms, Boeing Technology Training Center, Charles Simonyi Mixing Chamber, Maffei Family Aviation Room, Barry A. Ackerley Business Collection, Peter F. Donnelly Arts and Literature Collection, Maritz Map Room, A. Scott Bullitt History and Biography Collection, Eulalie and Carlo Scandiuzzi Writers' Room, Albert Balch Autograph Collection, Betty Jane Narver Reading Room, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room, Virginia Burnside Board Room, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Plaza and Joshua Green Foundation Arcade.