HIGH POINT LIBRARY
High Point's neighborhood branch library first opened its doors in June of 2004, with a new building that was nearly four times the size of its former location. In 2016, the interior underwent a remodel that facilitated even more services and programs, and a more comfortable and productive library experience.
"It's a lovely building," says Jane Appling, regional manager for all five Southwest branches of the Seattle Public Library. "But what makes it tick is what happens inside."
Appling notes that High Point is "a really active library and we a run a wide variety of programs to support people of all ages: children, teens and adults." There are morning and evening story times for young children and their caregivers; computer classes and a monthly book discussion group for adults; and a variety of cultural and educational programs for all ages throughout the year.
Drop-in chess, gaming and game design programs, and hands-on TinkerLab activities—where kids get to "have fun building cool stuff"—are especially popular with kids and teens.
High Point Library is also an active community hub, working with other agencies to improve access to information and services for all. In recent years, for example, the Library has offered consultation on health care enrollment and housing issues; worked with the local the food bank to develop programs and introduce people to library services; and hosted pop-up clothes bank events and Kids Café free meals and snacks for youth. Many resources are also available for small business through the Library.
Education is a focal point for the library. The Library's extensive collection of free online learning resources is a huge asset for Seattle’s culture of lifelong learning.
The lively location is "a great place to hang out in late afternoon," says Appling. For those who like quiet, mornings are mellower at the library. "We get a great cross-section of people….youth and adults, from High Point and the west side of 35th, seniors—it's very mixed. It's fun to watch people crossing paths here."
The library's interior was remodeled at the end of 2016 through the beginning of 2017. "It was a pretty major overhaul," notes Appling. Collection shelving was lowered for better accessibility and a more open feel, and the children's space was expanded to make plenty of room for kids' activities. More soft seating was added along with table seating.
Additionally, the library was wired so that power is available everywhere in the building. "For people who don't have WiFi at home, this is a really important feature," Appling points out.
In addition to its 13 wired computer stations, laptops and iPads can also be checked out to use in the building—an extremely popular benefit.
The 7,200-square-foot library houses 27,700 books and media, including a "popular books" browsing collection and an extensive collection of popular DVDs,CDs, and audiobooks. ESL and citizenship resources, large print materials, and a no-card-required paperback collection are all well-used.
Reference staff help users navigate the library's systems, find information for school, work, and personal interests, apply for citizenship or jobs online, enroll in classes, and find great books for all ages to enjoy. Seattle Public Library also offers extensive collections of downloadable electronic books and media, and staff are happy to help people learn to use them.
The library has a public meeting room open for community use, although Appling notes that it books up quickly because the library is so heavily programmed. Information about using the Library's free public meeting rooms can be found at https://www.spl.org/using-the-library/visit-the-library/meeting-and-study-rooms.
(No commercial activity is permitted—free public events only.)
A small study/conference room is also available at High Point. Call the branch to reserve the room up to three days in advance
Outside, eco-friendly landscaping uses plants to filter runoff from the parking lot before it gets into the stormwater system. And at the east entrance, patrons are greeted by the "Scholar’s Tree" (sophora japonica), a tree traditionally planted at places of learning throughout Asia. Beautiful artwork adorns the property.
See spl.org for more information and check out the calendar here.