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
After 13 years of use, the branch needed to be closed for improvements that support the changing ways that patrons are using libraries and to make the branch a more enjoyable space to read, study and collaborate.
We closed the Lake City Branch in mid-2018. It closed May 7 and reopened Jan. 2, 2019.
- Added about 1,600 square feet of public space by opening up the entrance and corridor
- Reconfigured the interior layout to create flexible spaces for children, teens and adults
- Lowered shelving height to improve visibility and make the space feel more welcoming
- More electrical outlets
- Relocated the public computers closer to the service desk
- Increased flexibility of meeting space with movable walls
- Comfortable seating
- Laptop bars in the teen area and main entrance
- Consolidated service desks to make it easier for patrons to know where to get help and to free up space for other Library purposes
- Added eight laptops and two iPads for in-branch use
- Relocated artwork
- New carpet
- New acoustical ceilings
- Improved finishes for easier maintenance
We promised to protect the public's investment in its 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 for you.
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.