History

Serving Lake City since 1935

Library service in Lake City dates back to 1935 when a community group collected donated books and set up a small lending library in a school classroom. In 1944, the Lake City library became the second branch in the newly established King County Library System.

In 1954, the city of Seattle annexed the Lake City area. The Seattle Public Library took over the former King County branch and moved to a bank building in 1955.

In 1965, the branch moved into its own building, funded by part of a Library bond measure passed in 1956. The branch featured arched windows and front gates designed by artist George Tsutakawa.

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Architecture

Community services all in one place

Exterior view of bronze gate by George Tsutakawa at the Lake City Branch
Exterior view of bronze gate by George Tsutakawa at the Lake City Branch

The expanded Lake City Branch is the 17th branch to open under the "Libraries for All" building program.

The building was designed by ARC Architects and built by Bayley Construction.

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Art

Art inspired by Lake City residents

Artwork by Linda Haworth at the Lake City Branch
Artwork by Linda Haworth at the Lake City Branch

The building includes artwork by Portland artist Linda Haworth, who created 71 cast glass panels using hand-carved molds of objects that represent the theme "Collections." Haworth and local artist Jane Grafton held a community workshop and asked patrons to bring in the objects they collected, which inspired the finished work.

The Rotary Club of Lake City commissioned Grafton to create a series of recycled tin pennants for the branch. The flags feature a no-longer-used alphabet called the Ogham Alphabet. Each symbol represents not only a letter but also a particular type of tree, and a corresponding visual representation of that given tree. Grafton invited school-age kids to a series of workshops to create the banners, which helped them gain a greater understanding of recycled materials.