Seattle Public Library
Bookworms, listen up! The Seattle Public Library has around 590 staff members, 453 of which work full-time, but none of them is required to assist you in case you want to check out any material.
The Seattle Public Library wasn't this big yet when it was established in 1890. It officially opened in 1891. Its first checked-out book was that of Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad) by a lumber company biggie. Now, it is home to 26 branches which include the 2004 Seattle Central Library, as well as the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Other 3 new branches are being planned on, with the Ballard branch having been completed in the middle of 2005.
A 69 percent approval from Seattle voters in 2004 gave way to the biggest library bond in the history of the United States. The 'Libraries for All' bond measure funded the $196.4 million proposal for the Library system improvement, which includes creating branches, as well as a Central Library.
Since the Central Library opened in 2004, the Seattle Public Library has lent a total of 7,045,737 items which included 2,812,451 adult's books, 1,411,903 children's books, 469,871 WTBBL items, and 2,351,512 other materials like CD's, DVD's, and videotapes. Some 767 public computers are also provided by the system, 400 of which are found in the Central Library. Those with a library card have the opportunity to use the computers for an hour for free. The Seattle Public Library also makes use of Radio Frequency Identification which allows checking out of materials without the aid of a library staff. This makes them focus on other tasks besides circulation.
There were twenty-nine firms, who are all known locally and internationally, vying for the chance to design Seattle Public Library's new structure. The opportunity however, was given to Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture based in Rotterdam. He did the project in collaboration with the LMN Architects, a firm based in Seattle. The Library Board's decision of choosing him over two others who made it to the final selection, was proven right when Koolhaas was presented with the Pritzker Prize -architecture's highest international award-giving body.
Koolhaas impressive design of the 11-floor, 362,987 square-foot Central Library included a 'books spiral' which contains the whole non fiction materials, a gigantic 'living room' that stands 50 feet, and a unique glass and steel exterior.
The Seattle Public Library has grown to attain endless possibilities with its Central Library. With its unconventional design and additional amenities like a 275- capacity auditorium and 143 vehicle parking spaces, the Seattle Public Library more than captures the people with its book collections. It is continuously living up to the demands of the current generation.