Seattle Public Library

This iconic site, filled with over a million books and intriguing art displays, offers a never ending series of classes and events to take part in.  

The moment that the striking glass, steel and concrete structure of the Central Library comes into view, you will never look at a library the same way again. As the centerpiece of the Seattle Public Library System, it has also become a recognized icon of the city.

Although the library opened its doors in 2004, it was actually the third Seattle Central Library building to be located on that site. Bill Gates, founder of Seattle-based Microsoft, donated $20 million toward its construction.

The unique design, which resembles floating platforms contained by a steel net-and-glass membrane, was a collaboration between Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and former Seattle resident Joshua Ramus. Despite its modern exterior, the architects let the necessary functions of the library dictate its design.

The Books Spiral is a perfect example of this commitment to functionality. In order to showcase Central Library’s nonfiction collection without splitting the Dewey Decimal System onto multiple floors, this spiral twists up four stories in a continuous series of shelves.

Central Library features state-of-the-art technology and amenities, including free wireless Internet and over 400 computers for public use. It is home to over 1 million books, movies and music to borrow.

Head up to the Living Room on the third floor for a cozy nook to read or work in privately. On the other hand, the Microsoft Auditorium can accommodate hundreds of people. Take a break and have a coffee at the shop on the third floor.

Sometimes known as Central Library,; its location in the heart of downtown makes it easy to get to from anywhere in the city. Underground parking is available for library patrons. All bus routes providing service to downtown Seattle have stops within walking distance of the library, many within a block or two.

Visit the library any day of the week, although it has reduced hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is closed for most major holidays.

Whether you come to Seattle Public Library for a peaceful place to read or to marvel at its stunning architecture, it is sure to delight and inspire you.