West Seattle Branch History
In 1908, Andrew Carnegie donated $105,000 for three branch libraries in Seattle; one of them was in West Seattle. That same year, the Niesz family and other West Seattle residents donated land for the branch at its current location, 42nd Avenue Southwest and Southwest College Street. The branch opened July 23, 1910. It was the first permanent library branch to open in Seattle.
In 1984, Seattle voters approved a bond issue, in part to improve the Library's seven historic Carnegie-era branches. The West Seattle Branch was closed for renovations between February and October 1987.
West Seattle Branch 2004 renovation
The library, which opened in 1910, is a Carnegie-funded branch designed by W. Marbury Somervell and Joseph S. Coté. It is listed on The National Register of Historic Places and was named a landmark building by Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board. It was first renovated in 1987, and again in 2004.
The renovated branch now has:
- an updated collection
- more computers
- more power outlets
- upgraded technology
- more efficient circulation desk and work areas
- new furniture
- better lighting.
- Reconfigured basement for a meeting room and other program space
- Project type: Renovate existing branch
- Completion date: 2004
- Budget for capital costs: $2.1 million
- Total library program area: 9,460 square feet (formerly 7,295 square feet)
- Computers: 16 (formerly 8)
- Artist: Dennis Evans
- Art budget: $16,719
- Library Board steward: Linda Larson
- Architect: Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects
- Contractor: W.G. Clark Construction Co.
- June 2005: Artwork by Seattle artist Dennis Evans was installed at the West Seattle Branch.
- April 2004: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees selected artist Dennis Evans of Seattle to create artwork for the Fremont, Green Lake, Queen Anne, University, and West Seattle branches.
- April 3, 2004: Residents enjoyed activities, music and snacks at the reopening celebration of the renovated West Seattle Branch of The Seattle Public Library.
- May 2003: Construction began on the branch renovation.
- Jan. 19, 2003: The branch closed for renovation.
- December 2002: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board issued the Certificate of Approval for renovation work planned for the branch.
- September 2001: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the branch as a landmark building.
- June 2001: Architects and Library staff discussed the branch renovation at a public meeting of the Southwest District Council.
- February 2001: Library staff directed Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects to proceed with the next phases of design.
- January 2001: Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects completed feasibility study of renovation plans.
- May 2000: The Library Board selected Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects to design the renovation of the historically significant branch
West Seattle Branch 2015 Improvements
In the second half of 2015, we made exterior changes to improve access to the historic West Seattle Branch. The building originally opened in 1910 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Branch parking was limited beginning June 15. The branch and book drop closed Aug. 17-30 while we replaced the front steps. During construction, we installed a temporary ramp from the parking lot to the main entrance.
While we replaced the ramp to the lower-level meeting room, it was unavailable July 7-17.
- Replace the ramp from the rear parking lot to the main front entrance
- Replace the ramp from the rear parking lot to the lower-level meeting room
- Resurface parking stalls on the north end of the lot
- Rebuild the front steps
- Add lighted handrails to the ramps and steps
We promised to protect the public's investment in its buildings as part of the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. The West Seattle Branch improvements are part of our commitment to keeping Library buildings well-maintained, clean and comfortable for you.
- Approximately $430,000
- Sources of funds
- Real Estate Excise Tax for improving access to city facilities
- June 15 through late September 2015: We closed parking stalls on north end of the lot. On the south end, people with disabilities had one parking stall.
- July 7-17: Ramp to lower-level meeting room closed
- Aug. 17-30: Branch and book drop closed
- Aug. 31: Branch and book drop reopen at 10 a.m.
- Early December 2015: Construction was complete after we installed lighted handrails on the ramps and steps.