Patrons, staff love the ‘Bright and Open’ brand new Tukwila Library


Photos courtesy King County Library System

By Ralph Nichols

The new Tukwila Library, which welcomed more than a thousand community residents at its grand opening April 29, has been an instant hit with patrons and staff alike.

“We love it!” Abbie Anderson, Tukwila’s librarian services manager, said this week. “It’s gorgeous. It’s light and bright and open.”

And, she noted, with 10,000 square feet of space, it’s almost twice as large as the now-closed Foster Library, which was 6,000 square feet.

Located at 14380 Tukwila International Blvd. in Tukwila Village – a mixed-use development currently under construction – the new library is the most recently completed project in the King County Library System’s ambitious Capital Improvement Plan that was approved by voters in 2004.

It was built at a cost of just over $6 million, financed by capital bonds, plus a $1 million grant from the King County Library System Foundation. Perkins + Will was the architectural firm and Edifice Construction was the general contractor.

Anderson recalled that at the old Foster Library, children’s story times were held in a separate room just off the lobby, which kids could get to without ever going inside the library area. Now, in the new building, “they go into the library and walk all the way through to get to the meeting room for story time. They feel much more part of the library.”

With a laugh, she added that the ambiance is so different that a lot of children on their way to their first story time there thought they were going to the wrong place. “The children’s librarian,” Echo Galbraith Allen, “said they were ‘gob smacked,’ overwhelmed, by their new surroundings.”

Despite this initial confusion, the children – fascinated by these changes – adjusted quickly. “The day after our grand opening, before the library opened its doors, a whole bunch of kids were standing outside, peering in to see what they could” while waiting to go inside.

When not in use for story times or other events, the Tukwila Library’s meeting room walls slide open to allow patrons to use the area with ease, expanding seating capacity.

And speaking of seating, “a real gift to anyone who just wants to sit and study is the variety of tables and chairs,” Anderson continued. “We have a nice variety of seatings. All but two tables have electrical outlets and USB ports for laptops and other devices.” Most of the round white end tables also have power.

A “big bonus” is the increased access to the Internet and other computer applications, along with WiFi, available to patrons of all ages. The 28 computers more than double the number in the old library, “and they all fill up,” she said. “The increase in the number has allowed us to increase the amount of computer time someone can have from 90 minutes to two hours.”

Beyond the many new functional features, other aspects of the Tukwila Library enhance its spacious interior, highlighted by a mural painted by Kelly Staton in the children’s area that depicts a farmers market of animals.

And, “one thing we’ve all noticed, things that didn’t have to be beautiful but are, the big round light fixtures with wooden lattices.”

Anderson noted a reflection on the positive changes, which was made by Faruk Vohra, operations supervisor in charge of both staff and the building, sums things up well: “The mood in the new library has really brightened,” compared to the old facility.

“We love seeing how happy people are in our new building,” she added.

And “it means a lot to us” that the Tukwila Library “is a key part of Tukwila Village,” Anderson concluded.

In addition to the Tukwila Library, 15 other new libraries have opened, 11 libraries have been expanded, and 14 libraries have been renovated during the first 13 years of the King County Library System’s capital improvement plan.

OVERVIEW

  • Designed by Perkins + Will
  • 10,000 square feet

HISTORY

  • 1945: KCLS and the Foster PTA open a library in what is now the Foster area of Tukwila, in a Foster Community Club room
  • 1952: Formation of the Foster Library Board
  • 1960: Library rents a house behind Foster High School
  • 1966: Foster Community Club is sold to make way for I-5; Club donates $16,000 for a new library building with a community meeting room
  • 1967: Opening of new 2,400-square-foot library
  • 1989: City of Tukwila annexes Foster
  • 1996: Opening of new 5,250-square-foot Foster Library at the corner of 42nd Avenue South and South 144th Street
  • 2017: Foster Library closes and reopens as the new 10,000-square-foot Tukwila Library

ADDRESS/MAP:

14380 Tukwila International Boulevard
Tukwila WA 98168

PHONE:

WEBSITE:

https://kcls.org/locations/154/

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/tukwilalibrary/

HOURS:

  • Monday: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Thursday: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
  • Saturday: 10:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Sunday: 11:00AM – 5:00PM


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