Lake City Branch History
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.
Lake City Branch 2018 Improvements
The Lake City Branch closed May 7, 2018, for improvements to make the branch a more enjoyable space to read, study and collaborate. The book drop also is closed.
We expect the renovated branch will reopen by the end of the year; a reopening date will be set once construction work is underway.
Nearby branches include:
- Northgate Branch, 10548 Fifth Ave. N.E., 206-386-1980
- Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E., 206-684-7539
- Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-684-7519
We were unable to secure a workable location for a local temporary book drop so please return materials to any other branch during the closure; the Northgate and Northeast branches are the closest to Lake City.
We’re holding story times, book groups, Homework Help and fun summer programs at the farmers market, in the community and at the Northgate Branch. Please check the Event Calendar for the schedule. See alternative locations for Library services.
Originally built in 1965, the Lake City Branch was expanded as part of the 1998 voter-approved "Libraries for All" bond measure that renewed and revitalized libraries across the city.
The expanded building, which opened in October 2005, served the community well and there is now a strong demand for collaborative space, basic computer instruction and staff help with technology in general. The branch also has the busiest Homework Help program in the system.
Improvements include adding about 1,600 square feet of public space by opening up the entrance and corridor, reconfiguring the interior layout to create flexible spaces for children, teens and adults, adding soft seating and more outlets to charge devices, and relocating the public computers.
The changes are part of Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner's vision for the Library to "re-imagine" its spaces in keeping with the changing needs of patrons.
The improvements are designed to make it easier for patrons to interact with one another, create flexible, open, welcoming spaces and improve access to technology.
The Library is where the community comes together to share experiences, learn new skills, become entrepreneurs and successful students, take part in civic life and interact with one another.
We promised to protect the public's investment in our buildings as part of the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. The Lake City Branch improvements are part of our commitment to keeping Library buildings well-maintained, clean and comfortable.
Improvements will include:
- Add about 1,600 square feet of public space by opening up the entrance and corridor
- Reconfigure the interior layout to create flexible spaces for children, teens and adults
- Lower shelving height to improve visibility and make the space feel more welcoming
- Add more outlets to charge devices
- Relocate the public computers closer to the service desk
- Add movable walls to increase flexibility of meeting space
- Add soft seating
- Add a laptop bar in the teen area
- Add a laptop bar at the main entrance
- Consolidate service desks to make it easier for patrons to know where to get help and to free up space for other Library purposes
- Add eight laptops and two iPads that patrons can borrow to use inside the branch
- Relocate the artwork
- Install new acoustical ceilings
- Improve finishes for easier maintenance
- Approximately $3.2 million
- Sources of funds
- 2012 Library levy
- Real Estate Excise Tax
- Library gift fund
- Targeted fundraising campaign by The Seattle Public Library Foundation
- Oct. 23, 2017: Open house to describe improvements
- April 27, 2018: Holds pickup location changes to the Northgate Branch unless you have selected an alternate branch
- May 6, 2018: Last day to check out or return materials at the Lake City Branch
- May 7, 2018: Lake City Branch closes for renovations
- Late 2018: Renovated Lake City Branch expected to reopen
Lake City Branch 2005 expansion
The expanded branch is part of a municipal center that also includes a neighborhood service center, the Albert Davis Park and a parking garage.
The expanded branch now has:
- updated collection capacity of 66,700 books and materials
- more seats
- a meeting room
- upgraded technology
- Project type: Expand existing branch
- Completion date: 2005
- Budget for capital costs: $3.9 million
- Total library program area: 15,300 square feet (formerly 9,013 square feet)
- Computers: 33 (formerly 15)
- Artists: Linda Haworth, Jane Grafton
- Art budget: $33,957
- Library Board steward: Eric Liu
- Architect: ARC Architects
- Contractor: Bayley Construction
- October 2005: The expanded Lake City Branch of The Seattle Public Library reopened on Oct. 22.
- March 2004: Construction began on the branch expansion.
- Feb. 15, 2004: The branch closed so construction could begin on its expansion project.
- August 2003: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board awarded the final Certificate of Approval for the branch expansion.
- February 2003: Residents attended an open house to view the design of the branch expansion.
- July 2002: Residents attended an open house to view early designs of the branch expansion.
- August 2001: Tin and collage artist Jane Grafton, a Lake City-area resident for 14 years, was chosen to help create artwork for the expansion. Grafton was the first 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.
- June 2001: The Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the Lake City Branch as a landmark building. The Library worked with the landmarks board to preserve the architectural character of the library.
- March 2001: Residents attended a "hopes and dreams" meeting to share ideas on services, collections, programs and artwork for the expanded branch.
- January 2001: The city of Seattle developed a master plan for the library, neighborhood service center, Albert Davis Park, community center and parking garage.
- September 2000: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees selected Portland artist Linda Haworth to design artwork for the expansion. An advisory panel interviewed three artists and recommended Haworth for the job.
- May 2000: The Library Board selected ARC Architects to design the branch expansion. An advisory panel that included Lake City residents evaluated proposals and interviewed architect finalists. Earlier in the month, residents met architect finalists at a reception.