Q. What has 1.45 million books and other materials housed in 362,987 square feet on 11 floors?
A. The Central branch of the Seattle Public Library!
More fun facts: The Central Library also has over 400 computers open to the public, 142 underground public parking spaces, and had over 2 million visitors in its first year alone! The Central Library is located in downtown Seattle and opened to the public in May 2004. Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN were the principal architects.
Its architecture is one-of-a-kind, modern, and fully functional. I’ve only been inside a handful of times, so each time I return I notice something new.
I’m impressed with how much space there is for working and reading built into each floor. The walls of windows insure a lot of natural light. We all learned to use the Dewey Decimal system of numbers for cataloging materials in grade school. At the Seattle Public Library you can walk the “Books Spiral” which displays the library’s nonfiction books. The collection spirals up through four stories on a continuous series of shelves. Large numbers on the floor tiles show you what section you’re currently walking past. (Alternately, take the day-glow neon yellow escalators up to the section you want.)
The “high point observation deck” is truly impressive, as you can look down nine floors and see little ants moving about browsing for books on the ground level.
I first performed for the Seattle Public Libraries in 2003, and have returned to various branches numerous times. (Thanks, Amy T.!) It’s nice seeing old friends that I’ve worked with in the past, as well as meeting new librarians. (Deborah, Youth Services Librarian at the Central Library, and I first worked together when she was with the Woodmont Library in the King County Library System.)
A gentleman in the audience offered to snap photos of my show, so the show images above are thanks to my un-named benefactor. This was my final “Dig Into Magic Show” for the 2013 Summer Reading Program, and it was a truly a grand finale for a busy season! For more photos visit my Pinterest page or Facebook fan site.
Next year the Summer Reading theme is science, and I’ll have some new twists on my Science Magic show ready!