Written by Hanna Marie Roseen
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I live in Seattle and this library is a well-frequented place of mine. It is located downtown and is easy to get to via light rail from my home and work. There are often events going on – I have been to author talks, book releases, lectures, and community art organization-led art displays.
If visiting, check before coming to see if you can make it to an event! They are free and open to anyone, allowing visitors to get a real feel for Seattle. During lunch on days I work downtown, the library is a great and easy destination to get me out of the office (although there is always the risk of lingering too long in the stacks and getting back to my desk a little late).
Some people complain about the amount of people experiencing homelessness in and near the library, but they are patrons the library serves and smile and nod go a long way to befriending people.
There are several entrances to the library, my favorite being the fourth avenue entrance. For one, you don’t have to walk another block uphill to the 5th avenue entrance. The fourth avenue entrance also has a fountain by George Tsutakawa outside by the doors, the “peak picks” display where you can snag a copy of a highly-demanded book, and some bathrooms. If you do use the bathrooms on this floor, be sure to note the wood flooring – embossed is the word “welcome” in numerous languages.
Taking the elevator, escalator, or stairs to the floor above brings you to a living-room like space with a beautiful green carpet and the small cafe. On this floor there are some rows of computers and the Friends of the Library shop where you can buy some used books and Seattle Public Library or book related items.
From this floor I like to take the elevator up to the viewpoint, where you can get a more birds-eye view of the library and some nice glances of the city. Also located on this floor is the Seattle Room, a collection of books and records about Seattle and Washington State. The stacks here are not as open as the rest of the library, but there is usually someone there to help you access the collection. There is also likely a display highlighting some specific aspect of Seattle’s history.