What makes our library so special, other than that it’s ours? Well, for starters, it’s one of six Carnegie libraries in Seattle. From the brickwork to the windows to the multi-colored roof, I think everyone can admit it’s pretty unique and a special spot on Queen Anne.
Andrew Carnegie gave Seattle $200,000 to build a new fireproof library after the original Yesler Mansion burned in 1901. In 1910, he went on to donate $105,000 for the West Seattle, Green Lake, and University District branches. Another gift of $70,000 resulted in our Queen Anne branch in 1914 and the Columbia branch in 1915.
The Queen Anne branch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a landmark building by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board. In addition to its architectural significance, the Queen Anne branch is also a key part of our neighborhood’s history, and it’s celebrating a big birthday – 100 years – in January.
SPL Collection: Queen Anne Library branch
ca. late 1950s-early 1960s
Submitted by Mrs. Floyd W. Mason, Jr. Queen Anne Manor
It looks pretty good for a centenarian (thanks in part to a 2007 renovation), and is well loved by patrons both young and old.
Although, it did cause quite a stir for one Queen Anne resident 100 years ago – one parent sent the following letter to Miss Helen Watson, the branch’s first children’s librarian:
“Dear Madam: Will you please stop John and Mary from getting any more books as we can’t get anything out of them at all – they won’t go to bed at night and won’t get up in the morning and won’t do anything but read when they do get up.”
To celebrate the special anniversary, the Seattle Public Library is planning a free celebration at the Queen Anne branch on Sunday, January 12th from 2pm to 4pm. Activities include:
- Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection exhibit of vintage clothing and an interactive hat show – step back in time and try on one or more of 50 vintage hats!
- Historical information provided by Queen Anne Historical Society
- Music and refreshments
- A commemorative bookmark
- Children’s craft activity making whirligigs
And, you can be a part of the preparations via an anniversary scrapbook that the library is putting together. Just stop by the library and share written stories now about your favorite Queen Anne branch experiences on specially designed scrapbook paper.
The paper is available now at the branch, so be sure to take part in the storytelling today. Your story may be featured in another 100 years, just as the “stop John and Mary from getting any more books” story was shared today!
The anniversary scrapbook will be on display during the celebration, so make plans now to share your stories to mark the happy occasion. If you can’t make it to the library, you can also email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll be included in the scrapbook. Submissions will be taken up to January 12th.
And, mark your calendars to join in the celebration on January 12th, and Happy (early) Birthday, Queen Anne library!