Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Columbia Branch Library: Small is Beautiful

The Columbia Branch is one of the smallest libraries in the Seattle Public Library. Located in Columbia City, the 6,825 square foot library was built in 1915 in the Georgian Revival style of architecture. The library was constructed with funds donated by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Columbia Branch: Seattle Public Library

In 2004, the Columbia Branch was expanded to twice its original size. The new portion of the building extends from the back of the original structure, maintaining the building’s original street presence.

Columbia Branch Library entrance

The renovated Columbia Branch serves the neighborhood’s multicultural community with materials in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Somali, Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, and Tagalog, as well as many materials designed to help people learning English as a second language.

Columbia City Library clock

Large fan windows flood the high-ceilinged rooms with plenty of light.

Columbia City Library windows

Getting to Columbia City
Columbia City Columbia City is easy to get via Sound Transit Light Rail. Interestingly, in 1937 the original streetcar line in Columbia City was taken out of service. The community celebrated the removal of the rails with a three-day festival.

The Historic Walking Tour Map is a great resource for exploring the 37 different historic sites and buildings that make up Columbia City.

Columbia City Light Rail Station

Other Blog Postings on Libraries
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on libraries:

The Black Diamond: A Library Connecting with the Past
The Suzzallo Library: A Case Study of Collegiate Gothic Architecture

Redmond Library Board


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I wasn't aware that there was a Carnegie Library in Seattle. I always thought that was more of an East Coast thing.

Redmond Library Board of Trustees said...

Thanks, Brian. In 1911, the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie gave $70,000 to Seattle to build two free libraries. Half went to build the branch on Queen Anne Hill and half went to Columbia City. For more info see:

Columbia Branch, The Seattle Public Library