Douglass-Truth Branch History
The Henry L. Yesler Memorial Library opened in 1914. It was the first Seattle branch library not financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It was named after Yesler to recognize his early efforts to start a library in Seattle.
In 1965 the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., a national sorority of black college women, donated books to launch what was then called the Negro Life and History Collection and is now called the African-American Collection of literature and history.
In 1975 the branch was renamed the Douglass-Truth Branch, after Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.
Douglass-Truth Branch 2006 Expansion
The 8,008-square-foot historic branch opened in 1914 and the branch was upgraded in 1986. The building needed more room to serve the Central District’s community.
The expanded branch now has:
- updated collection of books and materials
- more room and better access to the African-American Collection
- a new children's area
- more seating and computers
- larger and more efficient staff work areas
- upgraded electrical, mechanical and ventilation systems
- Project type: Expand existing branch
- Completion date: 2006
- Budget for capital costs: $6.8 million
- Total library program area: 16,493 square feet (formerly 8,008 square feet)
- Computers: 36 (formerly 15)
- Artists: Marita Dingus, Vivian Linder
- Art budget: $43,050
- Library Board steward: Michael Parham
- Architect: Schacht Aslani Architects
- Contractor: Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc.
- October 2006: The expanded Douglass-Truth Branch of The Seattle Public Library reopened at noon Saturday, Oct. 14.
- June 2005: Construction began on the branch expansion.
- May 2005: The branch closed May 22 for construction on its expansion project.
- April 2005: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees directed the Library to proceed with awarding the construction contract for the branch expansion to the apparent low bidder, Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc.
- May 2004: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board issued the Certificate of Approval for the branch expansion.
- June 2003: Residents attended an open house to see the design of the branch expansion.
- February 2003: Residents attended an open house to see the updated design of the branch expansion.
- June 2002: Mixed-media artist Vivian Linder, a Central District resident, was chosen to help create artwork for the expansion. Linder is the fourth community artist chosen under the innovative Art Partners program, which pairs an experienced artist with a community artist who has limited experience with public art.
- May 2002: Residents attended an open house to view early designs for the branch expansion.
- November 2001: The landmarks board voted to designate the branch as a landmark building. The Library worked with the landmarks board to preserve the architectural character of the building.
- October 2001: The Library Board selected Marita Dingus, an Auburn mixed-media artist, to design artwork for the branch. An advisory panel interviewed three artists and recommended Dingus for the job. Earlier in the month, residents attended a "hopes and dreams" meeting to share ideas on design, programs and services, collections, and artwork.
- May 2001: The Library Board selected Schacht Aslani Architects to design the branch expansion. An advisory panel that included Central District residents evaluated proposals and interviewed architect finalists. Earlier in the month, residents met architect finalists at a public reception.
- December 2000: Eleven architects answered the Library's call to apply to design the branch expansion.