As a Redmond resident, and a downtown Bellevue guest during some work days, I’ve visited Crossroads and Bellevue libraries a fair number of times. However, Lake Hills and Newport Way are a little bit farther outside of my usual library visiting radius, so I was looking forward to my first visit with trip number 18.
Lorin and Bruce joined me on this jaunt and we chose Saturday to visit all of the Bellevue libraries because the new Lake Hills branch was opening after over a year of construction. Chris met us for the opening as well, since Lake Hills was the first branch she worked in at KCLS. From listening to the speeches at the ribbon cutting, it was clear that this was an anxiously awaited day. The building is sited just a few blocks from the old library and the preview held a couple of weeks before the grand opening was the best attended preview KCLS has ever had. After (very slowly) managing to get inside the new library, I looked outside and the line of people waiting to get in was still around the building! Of course, the new building is beautiful. Ample natural light, soaring ceilings, and an amazing set of huge pencil sketches adorn the space. If you visit, see if you can figure out the theme of the sketches, it’s quite fun! After enjoying a look around the new library, and including finally getting a picture with Sketch and Wheelie, we headed out to visit Newport Way’s temporary location in Factoria.
I didn’t realize that Newport Way was closing earlier this year, so I missed a visit to the pre-renovated branch! The Factoria location is primarily a place to pick up holds, though a small collection of Choice Reads is available for limited browsing. In this location, we met Deborah assisting the steady flow of patrons picking up their items. Deborah is one of the newest-to-KCLS library staff that we’ve met, but her many years in the airline industry has prepared her well! She also introduced us to Joe, who gave us the heads up on the construction news posted on the Newport Way Library’s Community Blog.
While we were in Factoria, we decided to lunch at Goldbergs’ Famous Delicatessen. They serve breakfast all day and pickles when you arrive at your table. It doesn’t get much better than that.
After our breakfast-for-lunch outing, we headed downtown to the Bellevue branch. Chris was kind enough to arrange for us a visit with Rob, the Managing Librarian and a tour of The Answer Line. Open 7 days a week, The Answer Line is a telephone and email quick reference service. Generally, questions are answered in less than 5 minutes. Fittingly, they helped a taxi driver on Saturday with the actual address of Husky stadium! If it will take longer to help a patron with their question, they are referred to a reference librarian. Although not as used as much any more with so much information made available online, The Answer Line has a tall lazy susan with reference books that are easily accessible to everyone on duty. Ranging from business to bride etiquette and Latin and slang, we had fun browsing the titles at the end of our visit.
For our last branch of the day, we made the drive back across Bellevue to visit the Library Connection @ Crossroads. Crossroads is definitely a location that I think of when I hear the term “third place”. It’s always bustling when I visit and the library is definitely no exception. Computers were, of course, all taken, and there were plenty of people enjoying the comfy chairs and reading newspapers. The books at Crossroads can’t be placed on hold, so you might get lucky and find that book you are waiting for where you are 1,324 in line with 50 copies circulating :-) The Library Connection @ Crossroads is designed to provide a sampling to people to the services that libraries can offer, including the information and technology available. As we headed out, I definitely thought there were many, many people enjoying that “taste of KCLS!”