Remodeled Southwest Branch of The Seattle Public Library reopens on March 10, 2007.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 3/18/2007
  • Essay 8112

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.

Sources: Linda Shaw, "Passionate Patrons Hail 'Lovely' Library," The Seattle Times, March 11, 2007, p. B-2; "Newly Expanded Southwest Branch to Reopen March 10," Press Release, February 23, 2007, The Seattle Public Library website ( accessed March 13, 2007; "Southwest Branch, The Seattle Public Library" (by David Wilma) (Accessed March 13, 2007).

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both 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 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