Showing all posts tagged spl-visit-project:

Queen Anne branch

Hi! Been a while, but I’m back to going on these library adventures. More or less. Most recent one was after we got all that snow, when everyone was getting all stir-crazy and outside looked really gross.

Anyway, the Queen Anne SPL branch opened on January 1 1914, originally. It was renovated in 2007 and then again in 2018. They put in some great stained glass in the 2007 renovation. Apparently it’s listed on the register of historic places. It’s another Carnegie library building, nice architecture (besides the relatively large number of stairs) and windows allowing what little sunlight there is to help out, and all that.

There’s three whole named spaces; I’m in the Linda Larson and Gerry Johnson Family Reading Area, as I write this. The children’ area also has a name, as does the meeting room that i accidentally walked through on my way in where tax help is happening.

I don’t know how many of the Seven Classic Whatevers mixed media pieces I’ve seen, but I’m guessing about four? There was one here.

I ended up sitting adjacent to the YA/teen sections, which wasn’t a dedicated zone or anything but just where the books are. I really liked that they explained simple things like this in ways that meant you didn’t have to talk to anyone.

Also, the bathrooms are locked, but at least one of them is nongendered and the key just hangs out right by the door. If you gotta lock a bathroom, might as well have this be the way.

University Branch

This branch has a gorgeous building! Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the outside—it was rainy and chilly and I was achey so I wanted to get in and sit down.

The university branch has a long history; the building was built in 1910, and is a historic landmark. I’m glad I’m doing this project now—reading between the lines, accessibility was not great prior to the 2016 renovation, which involved redoing the entryways and adding better handrails.
As I write this, I’m in the David R. Davis Reading Area. I love libraries, and it would make me happy to someday have a nice cozy accessible reading room named after me. Doesn’t seem too likely, since my income’s unlikely to support that size of a gift and I intend to keep giving chunks of it to individuals, but it’d be nice.

The electrical outlet situation isn’t bad, since apparently in the 2007 renovation they added a bunch, but it does feel a little thrown together—there’s powerstrips plugged into the floor and wrapped around table legs.

The library branches I’ve been to either have two single-user all-gender bathrooms, or two one-gender multi-user bathrooms. As a nonbinary person, I much prefer the single-user all-gender bathrooms, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Beacon Hill branch

There’s a really cool kinetic boat sculpture outside! Inside, it’s airy and open-feeling. There’s a Madeline L’Engle quote behind the front desk: "A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness."

Before I visited, I took a look at the SPL’s webpage about the branch. Here’s some things I learned:
  • They have weekly storytime in Mandarin and Spanish as well as english
  • The current building opened in 2004, and was refurbished in 2017
  • Most interesting history note: "In 1968, fire destroyed a neighboring store, but heavy rain kept the library from burning." It’s magical!
  • size: 10,400 sq ft
  • I’m guessing the meeting rooms are high demand. They ask patrons to call at least a week in advance to reserve a study room, where on most branch pages it just says first come first serve.
While at the library, I looked through a few books. One of them is about Asian pickle recipes and have Ideas now. I don’t know if there are quite enough tables for people to sit at—pretty much all of them were in use, and I went on a weekday. But they do have power outlets embedded in them.
All in all, a solid frequently used library branch. I wish the signing from the main road was a little better. I walked there from the transit station and I wasn’t entirely sure the building I was walking towards was the library until I got there.

Northeast Branch

It was another rainy day on Friday, so I did a trek out to the Northeast Branch. The parking situation wasn’t great—a few angled spots behind the building, and signage wasn’t very obvious on the building. Book drops by the parking area were cute though.

I don’t have many pictures of the library’s interior either, but it’s for a good reason. I try to photograph parts of the library without people in them, because I don’t wanna be That Creep, and there were a ton of people there! Some were reading, many were using computers, small children were filling out this branch’s coloring book page in the kids section; there were just a lot of people around. It was really nice.

I sat in the magazine section and read Jewish in Seattle, which shouted out the queer Talmud class I’m a student in. The vertical pieces in between magazine shelves are heating vents.

The teen section contained resources on free showers and also graphic novels, which seems like a correct selection of things for teens.

It was a cute little nook in general, and just outside this picture’s section there were a few computers reserved for teen use during certain hours.

There didn’t seem to be much art hanging if any in this branch, which is backed up by the lack of an art section on the library branch’s highlights page. It’s still a wonderful library facility that gets a lot of use, but would have been nice to see some of that funding channeled into art too.

Broadview Branch

Thursday’s adventure was to the Broadview SPL branch.
  • 39 public computers
  • quiet area
  • areas for kids and teens
  • after school meal program
  • Most recent renovation: 2007
  • Size: 15,000 square ft

There’s some juicy history of the broadview library branch. The current site was purchased in 1967, but the money they were going to use to build the library went towards stadium renovations. So the residents protested. The new library opened in 1975.

The architecture is really neat. I like the exposed wood longhouse look, and also how they specifically chose to showcase indigenous art in that context.

I went to this one by myself so there’s no pictures of me taking pictures. My reading material was mostly magazines, and it was raining pretty badly so I sat myself down by the window (and the power plugs) to watch it for a while.

I also decided to browse the fantasy/sci-fi offerings and found an anthology that includes one of my twitter mutuals, Jaylee James! All in all, it was a pretty good outing.

Northgate Branch

I went to another library branch! The Northgate SPL branch is on a plot of land jointly used by the library and Seattle Parks and Rec, so there’s a community center next door with a cute little playground. A lot of the art is outdoors. I took pictures this time, as did my partner Pat.

Quick hits:
  • Branch page
  • Branch highlights, including art and architecture
  • Cool art, some of which is pictured below
  • Built in 2006 (temporary library site started in 2003, though)
  • Area: 10k sq ft

Nearby neighborhood stuff:
  • Northgate Mall and transit hub
  • Multiplex movie theater
  • Multiple conveyor belt sushi places (I like Tengu Sushi best)
  • My former place of employment (it was a temp gig, no hard feelings)
  • Target

Cool parking lot art:

Inside the library, there’s a good number of computers for public use and a nice selection of chairs as well. These rocking chairs are lined up along the wall-height windows of the space to look out on the lawn, but half of them are turned inwards. Those were empty; the outward-facing ones were full.

The website says there’s a dedicated teen area, but it looks like that actually means one of the study rooms is reserved as a teen section during certain hours. It’s interesting to see how different branches interpret teen space.

They did have the occasional Dewey Decimal System explanation poster at this branch, by the way.

Here, enjoy a final behind the scenes pic of me, photographing some neat-looking fused glass art:

Southwest Branch

Quick hits:
  • Branch page
  • Branch highlights, including art and architecture
  • Built in 1961
  • Most recently renovated in 2007
  • Area: 15,000 sq ft
  • Gender neutral single user bathrooms
  • Teen section

Nearby neighborhood stuff:
  • Fauntleroy ferry terminal (to Vashon Island)
  • Westwood Village mall
  • Roxbury Lanes bowling alley

Transit from my place: take the D line to the C line. It’s an hour but pretty direct.

Notes from there:
The library as a whole seems pretty accessible. Plenty of seating. Possibly not enough electrical outlets. Another branch I’ve been to has small posters about the Dewey decimal system. It would be nice to have those here as a guide.

I wandered through the comics section and pulled a Marjane Satrapi book I haven’t read before. Also, crafts, where they had a small but interesting selection of books on spinning.

Some shelving choices were a little confusing, but in the there’s-no-one-right-answer way. Is it a settled thing to put nonfiction graphic novel biographies in subjects about their subject? I found one (of Van Gogh) in Art, and one (of Andre the Giant) in with the wrestling books. Autobiographical ones were mixed in with the fiction comics.

Today I learned:
  • There is a Japanese tradition of eating soba on New Year’s Eve (Thanks, Takashi’s Noodles)
  • Taking an hour-long bus ride home while I’m not feeling well is tiring. This is not new but it’s been a while.

A new project! A library project!

I’ve decided to start a new project: visiting every branch of the Seattle Public Library. There are 27, which seems like a nice manageable number.

I’ve visited several of them before (marked with *), but will be revisiting them as part of this project. Each visit will have a write-up that will eventually be linked here, so watch this space for updates.

The list: