On June 11, 2005, the new $735,000 International District/Chinatown Branch, The Seattle Public Library, opens at 713 8th Avenue S. The branch is situated in the International District Village Square II development, which includes 57 units of affordable housing, a community center, retail space, and a parking garage. It is the 16th project completed under the city’s “Libraries for All” construction program.
Although the library was welcomed as a community asset, not all were happy with its name. Many in the Chinese community thought putting “International District” first diminished the historic importance of Seattle’s Chinatown neighborhood. Residents with roots in other Asian communities often disagreed.
The new 3,930-square-foot branch has seating space for 40 people, 12 computers for public use, a capacity for up to 12,000 books and other materials, spaces for children and teens, a tutoring room, and a study and meeting room that seats six. The branch collection specializes in materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and English. Bilingual staff members are fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Lao.
The branch displays sculptural artworks constructed of used teacups by San Francisco artist Rene Yung.
It was the 16th project completed under the "Libraries for All" building program. The $735,000 branch is located in space leased from the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. The complex also includes 57 units of affordable family housing, a community center, retail space, and underground parking, which branch patrons can pay to use.
The space was designed by Miller Hayashi Architects and built, beginning in November 2004, by Cope Construction Co.