On January 9, 2010, a new public library opens in the city of Sammamish in eastern King County. The new Sammamish Library, located in the Sammamish Commons on 228th Avenue SE, replaces an older library building in Sammamish that opened in 1998.
Sammamish's First Library
As Seattle’s suburbs spread east onto the Sammamish Plateau in the 1980s and 1990s, the need for a local library became apparent. In 1988 voters approved a bond measure to build or improve about 20 libraries in unincorporated King County, which included construction of a new library on the Sammamish Plateau. It was originally scheduled to be completed by 1995, but various delays pushed the project back for so long that the King County Library System (KCLS) opened a temporary library station in 1994 in the Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center, where you could at least order and pick up books. Finally in April 1998 construction of a 10,000-square-foot library began, and Sammamish’s first library opened at 825 228th Avenue NE on December 15, 1998.
But in only a few years the library was already outdated. A burgeoning population in Sammamish as well as rapid technological advances created demands on the library that were difficult for it to meet given the constraints of the building. Further, vehicular access to the library was difficult, with access possible from only one direction, the southbound lanes of 228th Avenue NE, even though the building sat on the northwest corner of one of Sammamish’s busiest intersections at Inglewood Hill Road and 228th Avenue NE.
Sammamish's New Library
By 2006 calls for a new library were growing louder, and in October 2007 the Sammamish City Council agreed to sell a parcel of land to the King County Library System for the construction of a new library building. Located just south of the Sammamish City Hall, the new library would become part of the 30-acre Sammamish Commons, a civic and park complex just south and west of the intersection of SE 8th Street and 228th Avenue SE in Sammamish. Funding for the project was available from a $172 million capital improvement bond measure passed by area voters in 2004.
In December 2008 ground was broken for the new $16 million library building, and construction proceeded through much of 2009. Meanwhile, the question arose of what to do with the old building once the library moved. This was answered in September 2009 when the Sammamish City Council voted to purchase the old building from the King County Library System for use as a recreation center geared primarily toward teenagers.
Sammamish’s first library closed on December 13, 2009, and library staffers spent the next few weeks preparing for the move to the new building, which, coincidentally, is located at 825 228th Avenue SE. On Saturday, January 9, 2010, the new library ceremonially opened, and hundreds of happy Sammamians spent the day exploring it. At 19,500 square feet, the new library was nearly double the size of the old one, and held more than 106,600 books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. It also had 28 public-access computers (up from 17 in the old building) and featured a fireplace. The building had high windows to allow plenty of natural light, with west-facing floor-to-ceiling windows at the back providing outstanding views (when clear) of Seattle's skyscrapers and the Olympic Mountains beyond.
And yes, vehicular access to the new library was much easier. Said Bobbie Daniel, King County Library cluster manager, in an interview shortly before opening day, "It will be a library that people treasure for years to come" ("Welcome To The New Sammamish Library").