Woodinville opens its first modern library on February 1, 1993.

  • By Phil Dougherty
  • Posted 4/12/2017
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 20336

On February 1, 1993, the King County Library System (KCLS) opens a 15,000-square-foot library at 17105 Avondale Road NE in Woodinville in northeast King County. Although it isn't Woodinville's first library, it is the first library the community has had in 30 years, and its opening day is big. During that first day, some 1,200 patrons visit the new library and check out more than 7,000 items. A formal dedication ceremony will be held a few weeks later, on February 27, 1993.

To Build a Library

Woodinville's first library was a small, one-room collection of books located in the Woodinville Elementary School starting, perhaps, sometime in the 1930s (there is a reference to it dated 1940). Woodinville was a small rural community in those days, and the library didn't get a lot of attention. It gradually deteriorated and closed with little fanfare by 1964.

Not much changed for another 15 years or so, but by the 1980s Woodinville was changing, and fast. Locals recognized the need for a community library, and in 1987 the Woodinville Friends of the Library formed to help make it happen, working in cooperation with the King County Library System. After considerable discussion over where a new library would be built -- a site near Bassett Pond was high in the running but proved unsuitable for construction -- KCLS selected a location on Avondale Road NE. The groundbreaking was held in May 1992, and construction proceeded smoothly. Indeed, the new library was completed and ready for business ahead of schedule.

A Perfect Opening Day

The new Woodinville Library opened to a happy throng on Monday, February 1, 1993. It was a placid, mild day, perfect for opening a library. Students from nearby Bear Creek Elementary School cut the ceremonial ribbon and people streamed into the building, where they were greeted by a giant stuffed camel. The Woodinville Weekly reported that "Parents seemed every bit as excited as their children" ("Hundreds ..."). Some folks were dazzled by the library's 22 computers, some of which had online access to a public catalog and a reference library. Others were just as delighted with the 63,000 books offered.

The library also had subscriptions to an impressive 400 magazines, and it had access to more on microfilm. Everything in the library was new, a pleasant surprise for some patrons. Woodinville resident Carol Porter enthused, "Everything is brand new. It's nice. I just figured it would be a bunch of stuff left over from other libraries" ("Warm Community Welcome ...").

By 4 p.m. on that opening Monday, the library's parking lot was full and the line at each of the three checkout stations was 15 minutes long. The excitement continued into the evening, as later described by Assistant Managing Librarian Mary Campbell: "Monday night it was really wild. It was like Macy's at Christmastime" ("Warm Community Welcome ..."). The library reported 1,200 visitors its first day, and it issued more than 250 new library cards. A Woodinville Weekly article noted that precisely 7,431 books, videos, compact discs, and other materials were checked out that first day.

The first month the library was open patrons checked out more than 62,000 items, representing 63 percent of the total items available. The month ended with a grand finale -- the library's formal dedication program on February 27.

The Woodinville Library opened with 20 full- and part-time employees. Don Julien served as the first Managing Librarian. In an interview with the Bellevue Journal-American, Julien said that he planned to customize special features for the library once he and his staff identified what the community's particular needs were. "That's one of the challenges in opening a new branch," he explained ("Bibliophiles ..."). Given the Woodinville Library's success since it opened, it would seem this challenge has been met admirably.


HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Woodinville Library, King County Library System" (by Phil Dougherty), http://www.historylink.org (accessed April 12, 2017); Elizabethe Brown, "Bibliophiles Will Love New Library," [Bellevue] Journal-American, February 24, 1993, p. 7; Liz Wimmer, "Warm Community Welcome for Long-Awaited Woodinville Library," Woodinville Citizen, February 10, 1993, pp. A-1, A-12; Anna Dwyer, "Hundreds of Families Use New Woodinville Library," Woodinville Weekly, February 8, 1993, p. 2.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You