Friday, December 5, 2014

Library Profile: Seattle Central Library

Today I am continuing the series of posts that profile different libraries. Since I live in Seattle, I figured I should do a profile of the famous downtown library. I was lucky enough to get a tour from one of their assistant managing librarians and I learned a lot about the space.

I'm not going to go into detail about the construction or history of the building, mostly because I think they say it best on the SPL website here. Instead, I'm going to share the pictures from my tour and give my own impressions of the spaces in the library. Here we go!

We started with the world languages section on the first floor, where I learned that they have all kinds of unique languages. They even had a few books in Esperanto, a constructed language. Perfeckta!

The floor of this section is embossed with phrases out of books in their collection in all kinds of languages.

While they have a huge variety, I learned that they only currently develop collections for about a handful of languages. This means that they are not getting new items in for the other languages due to lack of circulation and other criteria they have developed. So, they likely don't have Gone Girl in Esperanto. This is probably okay.

Next we visited the third floor that has the FriendShop, Teen Area, and popular collection items. The beautiful architecture changes on each floor, giving you a different view through the angular glass windows.

The fifth floor is the main floor for public computers, ready reference, and job searching tools. This is the floor that also hosts programs like Tax Help or information sessions on the Affordable Care Act. Behind the scenes, this is the floor for the library staff that answer the library's main phone line. Any general library information or ready reference is answered by staff at cubicles. More specialized questions are sent out to other departments.

Next we traversed the spiral. This is where the nonfiction and reference materials are housed. Friendly, super knowledgeable staff at these desks will talk to you about anything from LBJ biographies to upcoming library programs.

On our journey up the spiral, we stopped outside a music practice room and listened to a library patron play an accordion.

Up on the tenth floor you can walk out onto this balcony and see the amazing view all the way down to the third floor. It really makes me want to throw a paper airplane to see it navigate all the way down, but I am told this is not advised :).

Back on the first floor, I explored the children's section. Fun, bright colors and a huge selection of books makes this the most magical part of the library as far as I'm concerned. Although, I just realized that I took a picture of the bathroom... >< I was just trying to get the fabricated bull and the tree in the same picture, I swear!

I will leave you with one last picture of the view out the amazing glass windows.

So, there you have it! If you are in town, you should pay this glorious building a visit. You can find public tour information here on their website.


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