Seattle Public Library

Seattle Public Library information

Seattle , USA
1000 4th Ave
+1 206 386 4636
Getting there
Train: Pioneer Sq
More information
Opening hours
10am-8pm Mon-Thu, 10am-6pm Fri & Sat, noon-6pm Sun
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There’s not much chance you’ll miss glimpsing the Seattle Public Library, but it’s worth going inside for a closer look. Conceived by Rem Koolhaas and LMN Architects, the $165.5 million sculpture of glass and steel was designed to serve as a community gathering space, a tech center, a reading room and, of course, a massive book-storage facility. The main room, on Level 3, has especially high ceilings, a teen center, a small gift shop and a coffee stand.

There’s an underground level for parking. Near the top is the Seattle Room , a 12,000-sq-ft reading room with 40ft glass ceilings. It has amazing light, nice views of downtown and seating for up to 400 people.

But the importance of the building’s function certainly hasn’t cost it anything in the form department. In short, it looks brilliant, as striking as any other building in the city including the Space Needle. The overall style of the place is as far from stodgy as you can possibly get – sort of like when that sexy librarian finally takes off her spectacles. Lemon-yellow escalators, hot-pink chairs and zippy wi-fi connections make for a modern, tech-friendly experience. There are also 132 research computers available in the Mixing Chamber, where librarians in teams help with in-depth research. And the Book Spiral , spanning several floors, holds most of the library’s nonfiction books, organized by the Dewey Decimal Classification system with numbers marked on small mats on the floor. Guests can take free one-hour group tours (for a schedule, see the website) or a self-guided podcast tour.