Northeast Branch 2013 Improvements

After 11 years of use, the Northeast Branch’s interior was improved to support the changing ways that you are using libraries.

In late 2013, we temporarily reduced open hours for approximately four weeks. Construction went from Nov. 4 to late December. The branch did not close for construction.

Improvements include:

  • Expand children's area by 50% to support early learning activities
  • Add furniture that allows families to read together
  • Add self-service checkout stations in children's and holds pickup areas
  • New computers for kids
  • New computers for adults
  • Relocate holds area
  • Single staff service desk

We promised to protect the public's investment in its buildings as part of the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. The Northeast Branch improvements are part of our commitment to keeping Library buildings well-maintained, clean and comfortable for you.

Approximately $200,000

  • Sources of funds
    • Gift from Paul G. Allen Foundation
    • Library Capital Improvement Program budget
    • Library levy funds

Key Facts:

  • Highest circulating branch outside the Central Library (975,000 circulation in 2012)
  • Third most visited location (355,000 visits in 2012)
  • Higher than average population under age 11 (13.29% versus 10.8% citywide)
  • Census data show that local youth population grew 15% between 2000 and 2010
  • Youth programs draw 1,000 attendees a month
  • In July 2013, nearly 43% of the circulation was for youth materials

Key Dates:

  • Oct. 5, 2013: Open house to describe improvements
  • Nov. 4, 2013: Construction starts. Open hours temporarily reduced for approximately four weeks.
  • December 2013: Construction complete. Regular open hours resume.
  • Feb. 8, 2014: Celebrate improvements

Northeast Branch 2004 expansion

The original 7,042-square-foot branch was built in 1954. It circulated a higher percentage of its collection than any other branch in the system.

The expanded branch now has:

  • updated collection capacity of 66,700 books and materials
  • more seating
  • new computers
  • new instructional areas
  • a meeting room
  • better lighting
  • upgraded technology services and equipment
  • new carpeting
  • better seismic safety
  • energy-efficient windows

Quick facts

  • Project type: Expand existing branch
  • Completion date: 2004
  • Budget for capital costs: $4.9 million
  • Total library program area: 15,000 square feet (formerly 7,042 square feet)
  • Computers: 34 (formerly 15)
  • Artist: Heather Dew Oaksen
  • Art budget: $55,124
  • Library Board steward: Eric Liu
  • Architect: The Miller|Hull Partnership
  • Contractor: Graham Contracting Ltd.


  • October 2009: The Northeast Branch reopened after a seven-week closure for refurbishing. Improvements included more space for holds, two more self-checkout computers and a reconfigured work room and interior book drop to increase efficiency of the space.
  • June 2004: The Northeast Branch of The Seattle Public Library opened at noon Saturday, June 26.
  • June 2003: Construction began on the branch expansion.
  • April 2003: The branch closed at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 19 to prepare for expansion.
  • February 2003: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board issued the Certificate of Approval for the expansion plans.
  • July 2002: Residents attended an open house to view the expansion design.
  • January 2002: Residents attended a meeting to see the first images of the expansion project. A consultant hired to study traffic and parking patterns around the branch delivered its report to the Library.
  • May 2001: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees selected Capitol Hill artist Heather Dew Oaksen to design artwork for the project.
  • April 2001: Residents attended a "hopes and dreams" meeting to share ideas on services, collections, programs and artwork.
  • March 2001: The Library Board selected The Miller|Hull Partnership to design the expansion.
  • February 2001: Residents met architect finalists at a public reception.
  • January 2001: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the Northeast Branch as a landmark building.
  • December 2000: Fifteen architects answered the Library's call to apply to design the branch expansion and renovation.