In the mood to learn? Visit the Seattle Public Library System's Central Library. The Seattle Public Library System was founded in 1890. Unfortunately, less than two decades later, a fire burned the original library to the ground. After moving to another building, a second incarnation was built in 1960. Finally, the current structure was completed in 2004. Although there are over 20 libraries in the system, the Central Library is the most visually impressive.
The current building has the capacity to hold almost 1.5 million books and other materials. The library has 400 computers which are available for public use. It is 11 floors tall and contains a lot of open space for reading. It's absolutely beautiful.
In addition to reading areas, the library also has private rooms for videoconferencing, music practice rooms, meeting rooms, and various areas for groups to work together.
The library offers all sorts of educational events that are open to the public. Examples include English classes, book clubs, and workshops for computer skills. It even offers free tax advice!
The Central Library has various art installations that are integrated into the architecture. For example, Tony Oursler created an installation of a three-part video sculpture called "Braincast," which is meant to symbolize the transmission of information. George Legrady created "Making Visible the Invisible: What the Community is Reading," which is (as you might have guessed from the title), a visual representation that maps what the community is reading based on book checkout data. Lynne Yamamoto created "Of Memory," which is a sculpture made out of old-style card catalogs made from fiberglass.
The modern elegance of the Central Library is absolutely beautiful. Visit this building and the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington to get a taste for the old and the new.
Cover photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash