Algona-Pacific Library opens on July 19, 1994.

  • By Linda Holden Givens
  • Posted 9/17/2016
  • Essay 20128

On July 19, 1994, the new Algona-Pacific Library, part of the King County Library System (KCLS), opens at 255 Ellingson Road in Pacific. The two small South King County cities of Pacific and Algona previously had separate libraries, located in their respective city hall buildings, but these are no longer sufficient. The new 5,250-square-foot library is a KCLS project, with financial contributions from the cities of Algona and Pacific and huge community involvement. Three weeks after the July 19 ribbon-cutting, an open house and dedication ceremony is held on August 6, 1994, to celebrate the new library with music, a magic show, a local harpist, and a dance group.

In the early 1900s, Algona's first library occupied the second floor of the Milligan Hall. Pacific had no library prior to 1947. Both libraries moved several times over the years and each eventually leased space in the city hall in its community. As the populations and library-services needs grew over the years, Algona and Pacific voters approved a proposal to annex the libraries to KCLS in 1990. The next step was to combine the libraries into a single, larger facility that would serve both communities.

Planning and Building

Planning for a new joint library began soon after the annexation. In the summer of 1991, a building site was nearly confirmed, but at the last minute it was discovered that a wetland on the site would create development problems. The search for another site got under way. A 1.2-acre site was selected in 1992 in Pacific at the corner of Ellingson Road and Tacoma Boulevard. The property was owned by Fred and Florence Phillips, who accepted an offer to sell the property to KCLS.

The library was funded by the library system's 1988 bond issue. The City of Pacific contributed $15,000 and the City of Algona contributed $10,000 toward the development of the building. Camile Wilson, Operations Supervisor at Algona-Pacific Library, recalled that "The Friends of the Library were quite active and involved in the location, and design of the library. They also helped in preparing the library for opening and hosted refreshments for the occasion" (Wilson email, June 1, 2016). A host of community volunteers boxed, packed, and moved items up to the last minute in preparation for the new library.

Construction of the $1.5 million library began with groundbreaking on September 29, 1993. Firms involved in the project included architect Buffalo Design Inc. of Seattle, contractor C. E. Skinner of Puyallup, and landscape architect the Berger Partnership of Seattle.

Opening the Doors

On a warm 78-degree summer Tuesday at 11 a.m., the new Algona-Pacific Library opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Between 75 and 100 guests were waiting for the opening. Bill Ptacek, KCLS Director, surrounded by officials, cut the ribbon with giant yellow scissors. Algona Mayor Glenn Ray Wilson, Pacific Mayor Lynol Amero, and Police Chief Al Lee attended the July 19, 1994, ceremony. The 5,250-square-foot library replaced the two smaller libraries located in the Algona and Pacific city hall buildings. Enthusiastic children and adults made their way inside the library, where they were surrounded by decorative flower arrangements and door prizes donated by local businesses.

Fran Wendtland, the new manager for the Algona-Pacific Library, said, "We're delighted with the new meeting room for library programs and public use. We can schedule storytimes, puppet shows, and other programs for the community" ("Al-Pac Opens July 19"). The collection contained material for all ages, including music on CDs and cassettes, audio and video books, children's titles, general reference and materials for homework assistance, adult fiction, and biographies.

Dedication Ceremony

An open house and dedication ceremony was held on August 6, 1994. The Farr Brothers Bluegrass Band, local harpist Kate (Kongkwang) Kosaka, and the Filipino American Barangay Dance Group headed by Luisa Soriano all performed. Everyone had the pleasure of meeting Miss Pacific and Miss Algona.

The ceremony program described the new building:

"[It] features recurring color and botanical motifs in the finishes and flooring to recall the natural surroundings of the community. Perhaps the most striking feature of the new library is its tile floor at the main entry. Made up of over 18,000 individual tiles, the circle-shaped mosaic of blue, red, green and yellow complements both the interior and exterior colors, and on further study, reveals itself to be the image of a large flower.
"Users of the library will be pleased by the amount of natural light in the space, provided by clerestory windows in the south- and north-facing dormers. At 5,250 square feet, the building has a sense of openness through the use of lighting as well as the vaulted ceiling and exposed decorative wood trusses" ("Algona-Pacific Library Open House and Dedication Ceremony").

For more than 20 years since its opening, the Algona-Pacific Library has been a point of pride and a center for the community. Throughout its history there has been a great deal of interaction with community members. The feedback received is reflected in the changes implemented over the years.


Algona-Pacific Library History folder, Algona-Pacific Library, Pacific, Washington; "Algona-Pacific Library Open House and Dedication Ceremony" (program), August 6, 1994, Algona-Pacific Library History folder, Algona-Pacific Library; "Al-Pac Opens July 19," King County Library System News, July 1994, p. 1, copy in Algona-Pacific Library History folder, Algona-Pacific Library; Camile Wilson, email to Linda Holden Givens (May 7-June 2, 2016), copies in possession of Linda Holden Givens, Auburn, Washington; "Pacific, Algona Residents Vote to Join Library District," The Seattle Times, May 23, 1990, p. F-2, "About KCLS," San Jose State University iSchool LIBR204 Group Project website accessed May 5, 2016 (; "King County Library System -- Algona-Pacific Branch," website accessed May 20, 2016 (; "Algona Pacific Library 2011 Community Study," King County Library System website accessed April 15, 2016 (; "Delivering on a Promise to Voters: KCLS Capital Improvement Plan 11-Year Report, September 2015," KCLS website accessed May 15, 2016 (; Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Algona-Pacific Library, King County Library System" (by Linda Holden Givens), (accessed September 17, 2016).

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