Check Out: Seattle Central Library

I’ve been in Seattle visiting family since Tuesday, and one of the things I wanted to do while I was here was visit the Seattle Central Library. Seattle’s contemporary techie culture certainly seeped its way into the design of the library. I’ll start with the first floor. When you check out books, you scan your card, put the books on a plate that instantly detects their information in the catalog, print your receipt, and be on your way. When you return books, you put them on a conveyor belt that takes them straight up to the second floor to be processed. The second floor is for staff only, so we’ll skip that and move onto the third floor. The third floor boasts a huge reading room, all of the new materials, the fiction collections, and a cafe all under a slanted wall/ceiling of glass. After riding an escalator to the computer room and career help center, you take another escalator to the spiral of nonfiction and reference materials. These materials are so plentiful that they arranged them in a spiral that takes up a few floors and circles the escalators. You don’t even know you’re walking in a spiral; in fact, I almost tripped a few times because the floor was on a slight incline. That, and my boots are too big for my feet, but that’s another story. The top floor (or the highest floor I went to before I had to go down and meet my aunt on the third floor) was another reading room with a marvelous view of the city and waterfront out of the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I would have loved to camp out there for the day with my laptop (free wifi!), my insulated reusable Starbucks cup, and a few books. Next time.

The next edition of Check Out will be about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (the old one next to the University of Pittsburgh and CMU). I practically lived there for a few days in March when I flew out to visit Sunny and had a huge project due while I was there (poor guy). Keep your eyes peeled!

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