With 26 branches and a history spanning well over a century, the Seattle Public Library has much to offer its members. Each branch has its own character and hosts its own special events. But from the standpoint of size and scale, the modern Central Library stands out as something else. If you’re not a member and have yet to set foot in one of the system’s libraries, here are seven good reasons you might want to check out the Central Library and your neighborhood branch of the library system.
1. Meet your favorite authors
The Seattle Public Library hosts and sponsors dozens of special events every month, including author readings, film screenings, and themed parties. Many events are held at the Central Library, but other branches and local businesses host events as well. Check the calendar on the library’s website or Facebook page to be sure you don’t miss an appearance by one of your favorite authors.
2. Exploit the expansive Seattle Public Library collection
The Seattle Public Library has a physical collection of more than one million cataloged items. This is in addition to several uncatalogued items and an enormous collection of digital resources. Whether you’re looking to borrow the latest bestseller or consult an obscure source for a research project, the library’s collection is a treasure trove.
3. Pursue your passion
The Seattle Public Library is committed to enriching lives and building community. In addition to lending books, DVDs, CDs, and other media, the library system offers space for the cultivation of hobbies. Musicians can check out sheet music and hone their skills in the Central Library’s practice room. Writers can apply for access to the inspiring writers’ room in six-month increments. ESL learners can improve their vocabulary and English grammar skills with lessons at the Evelyn W. Foster Learning Center. These are just a few of the services patrons can access at the Central Library.
4. Indulge in Chocolati
The Chocolati coffee cart, located on level 3 of the Central Library, sells coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sandwiches, and baked treats. It’s a great place to recharge your batteries while working from the library or catch up with a friend. The Chocolati cart is open seven days a week.
5. Appreciate public art
Art is beautifully interwoven into the design of the Central Library, and portable works of art can be found there and at various branches. Local Seattle talent and works by artists from elsewhere are represented. Visit to check out permanent displays by former artists in residence at the library.
6. Admire the architecture
Several of Seattle’s neighborhood branches are examples of distinct architectural style from a range of historic periods. Six are included on the National Register of Historic Places. The Central Library, however, is the location that attracts the most visitors interested in architecture. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, the magnificent structure received a 2005 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award for Architectue. In 2007, it made the association’s list of 150 favorite structures in the country. The Central Library is less than 10 minutes’ drive from AMLI 535 and AMLI South Lake Union apartments.
7. Enjoy magnificent views
Last but not least, the Central Library boasts spectacular views. And they’re free. Take the elevator up to the building’s 10th floor, and take in sweeping views of Elliott Bay.
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