Collins Memorial Library, Tacoma, Washington – rocking chairs, makerspace and an artgallery

Written by Jane A. Carlin – Library Director

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The Collins Memorial Library is located on the beautiful campus of the University of Puget Sound, located in Tacoma, Washington.

The Library is designed after Magdalen College in Oxford, England. One of the early presidents of the university attended Oxford University and wanted to recreate the beauty of the campus in this corner of the Pacific Northwest.  The Library prides itself on showcasing local art and artists and is known locally for the many art exhibits that focus on book arts and printing.

Each summer the Library hosts the annual members’ exhibition of the Puget Sound Book Artists and throughout the year has a number of exhibits that showcase unique and special collections.  The main Reading Room features a glass sculpture by noted artist Dale Chihuly as well as offers students a peaceful and inspiring space to study.

The Pacific Northwest Room is filled with hand crafted rocking chairs created by The Joinery in Portland, Oregon.  A gift from the granddaughter of Everell Collins, the namesake of the Library, the space is perfect for Saturday story times for the university’s youngest readers.  The Library features a modern lower level with a Makerspace that offers students the opportunity to experiment with new and traditional technologies and in the summer of  2019 will expand study and teaching spaces.

The Library is the repository of the archives of noted Pacific Northwest artist Abby Williams Hill.  Several of her paintings are displayed in the library and many are online.  Hill was a painter, writer and a social activist who created many landscape paintings for the Great Northern and Pacific Railroad companies.

The Library also has a strong collection of unique artists’ books many produced by local artists as well as zines, manuscripts and rare books.   Events and activities are listed on the library web page and appointments to see special collections can be made by emailing

In addition to the Collins Library, the campus is a beautiful destination with an arboretum and many local residents enjoy walking the grounds as well as taking part in the many musical and theatre performances as well as visiting the Slater Museum of Natural History and the Kittredge Art Gallery.  The campus is just ten minutes away from the Tacoma waterfront and there are a number of museums in the City to offer opportunities for a wonderful biblioholiday.

Collins Memorial Library:

Abby Williams Hill Collection:

Puget Sound Book Artists:


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