University Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after renovations on October 13, 2007.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 12/18/2007
  • Essay 8423

On October 13, 2007, the University Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after a $996,210 renovation. It is the 24th project completed as part of Libraries For All, a $196.4 million bond issue passed by Seattle voters in 1998.

The University Branch is one of Seattle’s oldest branch libraries. It began as a small lending library in 1906, and opened at its current location in 1910 with building construction money from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The branch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been named a landmark building by Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board.  

Hoshide Williams Architects designed the 2007 renovation, which included improved ventilation, upgraded technology services and equipment, more electrical, communication, and computer connections, new seating, and more efficient circulation desk and work areas. The exterior was repainted, and access to the branch was improved by opening the north and south wings and expanding the back door entry area.  

Seattle artist Dennis Evans created two mixed-media painted works for the University Branch.  The art pieces, part of a series for five of The Seattle Public Library’s Carnegie-funded branches (Fremont, Greenlake, University, Queen Anne, and West Seattle), were planned to reflect classic liberal arts themes.

The renovation project took 11 months, beginning in January 2007.

Sources: Online Encyclopedia of Washington History, “University Branch, The Seattle Public Library,” (by Alyssa Burrows), http://www, (accessed December 16, 2007);  “About The University Branch,” The Seattle Public Library website accessed December 16, 2007 (

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