Lake City Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after a $3,883,201 expansion project on October 22, 2005.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 1/19/2008
  • Essay 8442
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On October 22, 2005, the Lake City Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after a $3,883,201 expansion project. Located at 12501 28th Avenue NE, it is the 17th project completed as part of "Libraries For All," a $196.4 million bond issue passed by Seattle voters in 1998.

The Lake City Branch, The Seattle Public Library, was built in 1965, and was designed by John Morse and associates. The award-winning building featured arched windows and gates designed by artist George Tsutakawa (1910-1997). On June 6, 2001, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board approved the Lake City Branch for status as a landmark, because of its design.

The Lake City Branch was slated to be expanded in 2004, but remodeling was delayed due to the extensive time required to coordinate the complex project, which included the library remodel, neighborhood service center, park plaza, and structured parking. The delay in opening was fortuitous in that north-end neighborhoods, which were already impacted by the Green Lake, North East, and Greenwood Branch closures, continued to be served by the Lake City Branch.

The branch gained more than 6,000 square feet for a total of 15,300 square feet. This allowed for an additional 15,000 books, CDs, and DVDs, bringing the total collection capacity up to 66,700. Many of the new books, videos, and music were in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian, to better serve the rich diversity of the neighborhood. The Lake City branch houses the largest English-as-a-second-language collection of the North End branches

ARC Architects designed the 2007 expansion, preserving the grand entrance courtyard and gates. The remodeled interior exposed the red brick walls of the original structure, which previously had been covered by shelves. Hewitt Architects designed the parking garage, plaza and the park improvements.

Portland artist Linda Haworth created 71 cast glass panels using hand-carved molds of objects collected from library patrons.

The renovation project took 19 months, beginning in March 2004.

Sources: Athima Chansanchai “Redone Lake City Library Has It Covered,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 19, 2005; Online Encyclopedia of Washington History, “Lake City Branch, The Seattle Public Library,” (by David Wilma), http://www, (accessed December 28, 2007); “About The Lake City Branch,” The Seattle Public Library website accessed December 28, 2007 (

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