On November 5, 2008, the Greenbridge Library in White Center officially opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It is one of the smaller libraries in the King County Library System (KCLS) and is unique in that it is located in a King County Housing Authority redevelopment project and shares a building with a YWCA learning center.
A Library for Greenbridge
The Greenbridge redevelopment project in the southwest King County neighborhood of White Center, located between West Seattle and Burien, replaced the existing Lake Park Homes, the Housing Authority's biggest and oldest project, which was built during World War II to house defense workers. In 2002, planning began to replace the run-down buildings. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in 2005. The Housing Authority wanted the new 95-acre project to have an array of community services, among them a library.
KCLS and the YWCA worked together to construct a shared building at 97820 8th Avenue SW in White Center. The library filled 2,300 square feet of space leased from the YWCA. Constructing the library cost $425,000, with the funding coming from a $172 million capital bond approved by voters in 2004. It was designed by SMR Architects and built by Walsh Construction.
The Greenbridge Library's opening was celebrated on November 5, 2008, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The opening-day festivities included appearances by King County Executive Ron Sims (b. 1948) and local community leaders. The event also featured music from Radio Disney and a live performance by Los Flacos, an acoustic Latin American group. Games and a story-time reading concluded the celebration. The new library quickly proved popular among residents of the Greenbridge redevelopment and the surrounding area. Within the first six months following the opening, 299 people had applied for library cards.
Since its opening, the Greenbridge Library has specialized in services to children. It has wireless internet access throughout and also provides public computers, including some specifically for youngsters in an area called the Kids' Cyber Bar. The library is furnished with study tables and lounge seating. It is classified by KCLS as a connection library, without the professional library staff and reference materials found at full-service libraries. It has what librarians call a browsing collection, meaning its books, CDs, and DVDs are available when on the shelves but cannot be reserved. Users can, however, reserve materials from other KCLS libraries and pick up those items at Greenbridge.
The library opened with a collection of about 11,000 items, a number that had more than tripled by late 2016. The collection includes many materials in Vietnamese, Spanish, and other languages in addition to English.