Last month I visited a friend in Seattle, and the very first place she took me was not the famous Space Needle, not the legendary Pike Place Market, not the acclaimed aquarium, and not the unique Chittenden Locks and Fish Ladder.
Nope; believe it our not, our #1 stop was the main branch of the Seattle Public Library! I guess birds of a feather really do flock together. (Or in this case, super book-lovers.) So I decided to give Carly M. a break and take over "Stacks in the City" for this month. Ready for my take on Seattle's Central Library?
The Central Library is pretty new — it went through a major redesign and re-opened to the public in 2004. It grew in size from 206,00 square feet with no public parking to 362,987 square feet plus underground parking.
But the improvements weren't just about making the library bigger — the library is also now a whole lot greener! Not only was the building designed for maximum energy efficiency, but it's also made out of recycled materials where possible. AND there are places where people can plug in their hybrid cars!
Of course, the building is meaningless without the books. So let's get to the stacks! Or actually, the Central Library calls theirs a Books Spiral. Instead of taking the stairs to go between floors, you can walk around and around to look at all the books. Floor mats with Dewey Decimal numbers tell you which section you're in.
After getting a little dizzy in the Spiral, I made my way to the Faye G. Allen Children's Center. It really is a center and not just one room. There's an area for little kids and an area for older kids (color-coded so that you don’t accidentally end up in the wrong section), plus a story hour room. Sadly, no performances while we were there — unless you count when my friend put puppets on her hands and said hi to me in funny voices, but I don't count that at all and neither should you.
Luckily, my friend kept her hands occupied the rest of the time by taking photos, and so did I. Check out our pictures to see the rest of the Central Library — including the teen center, the automated book sorter, and the kind of spooky "heart of the library."
By the time we had finished exploring every nook and cranny of the library, I was ready to sit down and take a break. So we settled in for a little rest at the computer area in the Children's Center. Unfortunately, as you can see from this picture, I somehow scared all the kids away.
It might have been that I was a little sweaty after running around the library all morning, but let's just say it's because they were overcome by my staggering beauty . . . At any rate, at least I enjoyed my time at the Seattle Central Library that day!
— Karen, STACKS Staffer