Travel Review

Visit to Seattle Public Library

As long-time readers of this blog know I love books and what can be better for me than a visit to one of the largest libraries in the world. Over the last 16 years though I have travelled for business to Seattle countless times, unfortunately, I never got around to visit their famous Central Library. Today after my business meetings were done in downtown Seattle, I went to Seattle Public Library (Wiki).

We used Nokia Here Maps to drive down there from our meeting location, which worked pretty well for me throughout this trip to Los Angeles and King County (WA). When I searched for Seattle Public Library, I should have selected the correct one in a long list of libraries listed. Instead, I clicked on the first one and it guided to a branch library in a Court building at 8th Ave instead of the central library. Having wasted $3 for a parking slot near 8th Ave, we then drove to the correct one at 4th Avenue, luckily we got parking right in front of the library entrance (another $3 of course).

The first thing that strikes you as you approach the library is its massive glass structure. Then as you enter the library in Level 1 you will find scripts from World Languages appear right in front of you. I am not saying figuratively as you will notice in the picture below.

Seattle Public library is a massive building, spread across ten levels, housing over 1 Million books and constructed at a cost of $290 Million approved by a vote. Once you are inside the library you will not want to come out, but unhappily I had only a few hours with me on this day.

What impressed me was the historic collections of science magazines in Level 7. I could find journals that were 150 years old in enviable condition, I doubt whether we could buy a more fresh looking magazine from a bookstore in the present. In the picture below look at the superb illustrations done in 1914, remember all these were done without digital technology or retouching.

Looking at these journals make you wonder how fascinating the late 19th and early 20th century should have been as scientific discoveries were pouring from all sides.

The libraries overall facilities were impressive too, look at the picture below of a writers’ room in the library.

You can read here on my earlier visit to Anna Centenary Library in my hometown Chennai