Library spaces we love: Seattle Public Library’s Central Library

Today’s post comes from ILN Program Coordinator, Amy Barker

Seattle Public Library’s Central Library

Photo: "Seattle Public Library" CC by Adrian Bailon

Photo: “Seattle Public Library” CC by Adrian Bailon

I visited this library on a trip to the US back in 2006 and was struck by the approach to space, the openness and the bold use of colour. Some areas are very intimate and cosy while others are vertigo inducing in their vastness.

Visiting this library profoundly changed the way I thought about library design and the impact is can have in how our users interact with space. Goneare the mahogany lined walls evoking that feeling of quiet reverence for the printed book, this library is a vibrant, dynamic, public driven space. It’s flexible and modern and even visually challenging at times. My biggest take way from this space is that Seattle Central library is not so much a warehouse for a library collection as much as it is space that endeavours to meet the needs of the library users now and going forward.

Photo: "Library Escalator" CC by GadgetGirl

Photo: “Library Escalator” CC by GadgetGirl

And what would I ask the library designers? Luckily one of the designers Joshua Prince-Ramus gave a TED talk about this project. He answered a question had about a strange little Juliet balcony that juts out near the ceiling of the library. (It’s a very sweet answer)

Users have posted hundreds of photos of this library on Yelp if you want to see more.

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