Our beloved library
It took 98 years for our community to finally get a permanent library in South Park–but we got one! Drive by at night and take a look at the illuminated artwork on the side of the building that captures our local spirit. The South Park Library has books, movies and music to borrow in English and Spanish. Find information about everything from how to build a fence to knitting a sweater. There are free public computers available for access to the internet, as well as wifi.
The design for the 5,000 sq ft library building highlights ties to the regional neighborhood, such as the river in the piazza, which alludes to the nearby Duwamish River. The rotating illuminated artwork responds to and engages a dynamic community, while the library’s subtle and clean design serves as a beacon for a neighborhood with a simple, no nonsense outlook on life.
South Park Branch
The people of South Park began advocating for a branch library in 1908. The South Park Improvement Club asked The Seattle Public Library board of trustees for a branch and the South Park Ladies Civic Improvement Club submitted a petition with 177 signatures and identified available land.
At the time, the Library often responded by establishing “deposit stations” in locations such as pharmacies to see if they generated enough community support to warrant a full branch. The Library would deposit a collection of several hundred books and pay the storekeepers a penny for each book they circulated.
In July 1911 the Library opened a deposit station at the South Park Pharmacy; by year’s end it had circulated 5,346 books.
In May 1913 the Library moved all the children’s books from the pharmacy to a newly opened field house at the South Park Playfield. On Jan. 1, 1915, the Library closed the playfield station but reopened it after the community vigorously protested.
In September 1920 the pharmacy collection was moved to a general/grocery store that operated under several names. Budget cuts during the Depression led to the closure of all the Library’s deposit stations on April 1, 1933.
In 1944 the Library opened several small stations, including in South Park, as an effort during World War II to serve people who couldn’t get to their regular branch or the downtown library. In September 1947 the South Park station closed and service was taken over by a bookmobile. Over the years, the Library provided intermittent bookmobile service to seniors, child care centers, the community center, and people confined to their homes. But residents still wanted their own branch.
In 1998, voters approved the $196.4 million “Libraries for All” (LFA) bond measure and The Seattle Public Library Foundation pledged to contribute privately raised money to improve the Library system. The measure included a $6 million Opportunity Fund for new or unanticipated neighborhood library capital needs for underserved areas.
In 2000, a community group called the South Park Library Steering Committee proposed using part of the Opportunity Fund to build a full-service branch in South Park.
The Library’s Citizen Implementation Review Panel (CIRP) evaluated 10 proposals for funding and selected South Park as its top choice. CIRP recommended that the Library Board reserve money from the Opportunity Fund to build a library in South Park, and the Library Board and City Council agreed.
The Library bought property at the corner of Eighth Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street and began construction in July 2005. The branch opened Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006.