Rainier Beach Branch History
The Library first opened a Rainier Beach deposit station at the Montera Pharmacy in 1912. The pharmacy was destroyed by fire in November 1917 and the Library lost 453 volumes valued at $428. In 1921 the Library re-established a deposit station at the Rainier Beach Dry Goods store, but that closed in 1924.
In 1928 the Rainier Beach Community Club, the Emerson School PTA and the Rainier Beach Women's Club persuaded the Library to open a part-time station in a storefront rented for $20 a month. The Rainier Beach Station opened on March 5, 1928, but during the Great Depression it closed in January 1932.
On Sept. 10, 1966, the Library opened a branch in a leased storefront. In 1973 the branch moved to another leased spot, a former bank building.
In February 1981 the branch moved into a permanent facility at its current location. The building was upgraded in 1986.
Rainier Beach Branch 2004 Expansion
The original 9,006-square-foot branch was built in 1981 and upgraded in 1986.
The expanded branch now has:
- room for 66,700 books and materials
- more seats, new furniture and book stacks
- upgraded technology services and equipment
- more electrical, communications and computer connections
- more efficient circulation desk and additional work areas
- better acoustics and noise control
- improved lighting inside and outside the building
- new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system
- Project type: Expand existing branch
- Completion date: 2004
- Budget for capital costs: $3.1 million
- Total library program area: 15,000 square feet (formerly 9,006 square feet). The original branch was built in 1981 and upgraded in 1986.
- Computers: 33 (formerly 18)
- Artists: Anna Skibska, Ariela Boronat
- Art budget: $36,491
- Library Board steward: Gordon McHenry Jr.
- Architect: Streeter & Associates Architects
- Contractor: Construction Enterprises & Contractors Inc.
- Jan. 17, 2004: Residents enjoyed activities, music and snacks at the grand reopening celebration of the expanded Rainier Beach Branch
- April 2003: The Library Board selected Seattle artist Anna Skibska to develop artwork for the branch expansion.
- March 2003: Construction began on the branch expansion.
- Nov. 3, 2002: The Rainier Beach Branch closed to prepare for expansion.
- May 2002: Residents attended an open house to view the design of the branch expansion.
- April 2002: The Seattle Design Commission approved design development plans for the expansion.
- December 2001: Residents attended a presentation on the design of the expansion project.
- October 2001: Mixed-media artist Ariela Boronat, a Rainier Beach resident at the time, was chosen to help create artwork for the expansion project. Boronat was the second 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 2001: Residents attended a "hopes and dreams" meeting to share ideas on services, collections, programs and artwork for the expanded branch.
- February 2001: The Library Board selected Streeter & Associates Architects to design the expansion.
- December 2000: Fifteen architects answered The Seattle Public Library's call to apply to design the branch expansion and renovation.
- November 1998: Seattle voters approved the $196.4 million "Libraries for All" bond measure. The bond money, which could be used only for construction of libraries, funded a new Central Library and new and improved branches.
Rainier Branch 2015 Improvements
In the second half of 2015, we did maintenance work and made interior improvements to the Rainier Beach Branch. The branch was originally built in 1981 and expanded in 2004.
We closed the Rainier Beach branch and book drop on Aug. 24. While the branch was closed, it was partially reroofed, recarpeted and repainted. We also changed the interior layout to create flexible spaces for all ages. The branch reopened Dec. 30.
- Reroof older part of building
- Recarpet, repaint
- Replace shelving, furniture, selected windows
- Add single staff service desk to make it easier for patrons to get help
- Install laptop bar with power strips in lobby
- Improve layout of areas for children and teens
- Add a space for families
- Add quiet zone in adult area
- Create collaborative work space area for youth and adults
- Replace some desktop computers with laptops and iPads for in-library use
- Create digital media room with large monitors
- Add multipurpose meeting room
- Provide a business center for the copier and fax machine
- Increase lighting, electrical outlets and data boxes
- Rebalance collection of books and other items based on what patrons are using
- Approximately $1.5 million
- Sources of funds
- The Seattle Public Library Foundation
- Real Estate Excise Tax
- 2012 Library levy
- People wanted comfortable spaces with active and quiet areas and flexible meeting rooms
- DVDs for adults are popular
- Highest computer usage of all Library branches
- Aug. 23, 2015: Last day to check out or return materials
- Aug. 24, 2015: Branch and book drop closed
- Mid-September to mid-December: Library provided Homework Help, Toddler Story Time, Preschool Story Time, Somali Story Time and classes in English as a Second Language at the Rainier Beach Community Center. Monthly book group meeting relocated to the NewHolly Branch.
- Dec. 30, 2015: Branch reopened