Seattle Public Library Communications Office Digital Photograph Collection, 2007

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Seattle Public Library
Seattle Public Library Communications Office Digital Photograph Collection
2007 (inclusive)
64 digital image files
Collection Number
Re-openings and dedications of three Seattle Public Library branches.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Although Seattle's first library association was organized in August 1868, the library was not a regular branch of city government until 1891. In 1896, with the establishment of a new charter, the management of the library, previously under the control of a library commission, was transferred to the position of librarian, who reported to the mayor and city council. In 1899, after several moves, the library moved from the Rialto Building to the Yesler Mansion. After a 1901 fire destroyed the library and its entire collection, Andrew Carnegie donated $200,000 for a new central library building. He later contributed another $20,000 for furnishings. The new central library was dedicated in 1906 and stood between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Madison and Spring Streets. In 1909, the state legislature removed all libraries in the state from the jurisdiction of the municipal civil service commissions so that the library could select its own employees. Several other Carnegie-financed branches opened in Seattle neighborhoods following the dedication of the central library. These included the Greenlake, University, West Seattle, Queen Anne, Columbia, and Fremont branches, all built between 1910 and 1921. The Yesler branch (now Douglass-Truth), which opened its doors in 1914, was the first city-financed branch library. By 1949, the library had 11 branches. The 1949 earthquake damaged the main library, however, and it found temporary housing until 1960, when the new library (built on the same site as the old Carnegie library) was dedicated. The library was outgrowing its space by the 1990s, and, in 1998, taxpayers approved $196.4 million in bonds for a new Central library, as well as additions and modifications to Seattle's branch libraries. The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, were selected in 1999 to design the new 355,000-square-foot central library. The new Central branch of the Seattle Public Library opened in May 2004.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Re-openings and dedications of three Seattle Public Library branches: Queen Anne, Broadview, and University. Photographs include interior and exterior views of the new/refurbished buildings as well as community members using the facilities. Community celebrations include musical performances for children and attendance by library staff and elected officials. Sixty-four images are available to view on our digital platform. View 7800-01 online.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item number.] Seattle Public Library Communicatios Office Digital Photographs, Record Series 7800-01. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Photographs acquired through the Seattle Municipal Archives Digital Photograph Management Program.

Future Additions

This series may grow due to continued accessioning through the Digital Image Management Program. This finding aid will be updated to reflect additional accessions.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Communities--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Events--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Libraries--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Mayors--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Seattle Public Library

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)