On March 10, 2007, the Southwest Branch of The Seattle Public Library reopens after a $6.25 million remodel and expansion. The original 1961 building now features 15,000 square feet of space, 32 computers, and two stories. It is the 22nd of 27 projects to renovate old libraries and build new ones as part of the $196.4 million Libraries for All bond issue passed in 1998.
In 1961, Seattle built a branch library at 35th Avenue SW and SW Henderson Street to serve the southwest corner of the city, which had seen growth since World War II. The 7,833-square-foot building served a high school, a junior high school, and seven elementary schools. By the end of its first year in service, it was seeing 1,000 visitors a day. Under the 1998 Libraries for All bond issue, Seattle remodeled all 22 of its existing branches and built five new branch libraries.
Architects Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen designed a building almost twice the size of the original with provisions for computers and a meeting room, something lacking in the original design. Vancouver, B.C., artist Katherine Kerr created five bronze sculptures of hands holding objects of importance to the library's patrons. The hands lead up to the branch's front doors. Some of the most active library users modeled for the hands. Seattle artist Morgan Brig cast and engraved metal panels for the building.