NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ787982
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug-15
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0363-0277
After Seattle
Kenney, Brian
Library Journal, v130 n13 p34-37 Aug 2005
Few public buildings, and no libraries, have ever received the sort of acclaim that Seattle's central library garnered even before it opened in May 2004. "The Seattle building is thrilling from top to bottom," wrote Paul Goldberger in "The New Yorker." Herbert Muschamp, in the "New York Times," agreed: "In more than 30 years of writing about architecture, this is the most exciting building it has been my honor to review." The accolades hardly stopped there, and by year's end the library had won an armful of awards, including the American Institute of Architect's Honor Award for Outstanding Architecture. Seattle's new building succeeds as well as a library as it does a work of art. Despite all the coverage, the most important questions, at least for librarians, were barely asked, never mind answered: How does this building work as a library? Does it serve the information needs of Seattle's citizens? As a library, is there anything new here? The quick answer to all three questions is yes. Seattle's new building succeeds as well as a library as it does a work of art. What Seattle's team of architects and librarians did was no less than to deconstruct the public library--laying out its various services and collections--then put it back together, seemingly unburdened by history. As Ginnie Cooper, executive director of the Brooklyn Public Library, put it, "From now on, anyone who builds a public library will have to first come to Seattle and study this central library." A year after its opening, the library's foundation and Seattle's Office of Economic Development sponsored a study to assess the new building's effect on the local economy. In its first year of operation, the study reports, the library was visited by over 2.3 million individuals, 30 percent from out of town. Seattle's library is becoming a destination point for a global community. The study also says that, in its first year, the building was responsible for $16 million in new economic activity. Over the next 20 years, the life of the bond issue, the central library is expected to generate $320 million. The study also finds that the library could help reposition the downtown as a cultural center as well as improve and promote the city's identity.
Reed Business Information. 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010. Tel: 646-746-6819; Fax: 646-746-6734; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington