History of the Auburn Library
In 1904, the Womens Christian Temperance Union sponsored traveling collection
of 50 volumes from the State Library. These circulated out of the back room of
an Auburn drug store. Mayor A.H. Meade appointed a Library Board and a free room
was provided in City Hall for library use. Miss Isadora Ayers was appointed librarian
and kept the library open three afternoons and evenings a week.
By 1912, the population of Auburn had reached 938. The Library Board obtained a grant from the Carnegie Corporation in the amount of $9,000 to erect a Carnegie Library building. Arthur Ballard, son of one of the founders of Auburn and a member of the Library Board, donated a piece of property at 3rd and Auburn Avenue. The new building was completed in 1914.
By 1962, the need for a new and larger facility became apparent. The town voted to authorize $225,000 for a new building at 9th and H Street SE. The new 12,000 square foot building was dedicated on April 14, 1964.
Economic Downturns in the late 1970s and the early 1980s resulted in a series of library budget cuts despite Auburns population growth. In 1985, the City issued a report entitled, Library Services and Plans, which established a timeline for implementing improvements based on funding availability.
In October 1994, Mayor Charles Booth appointed a Library Task Force of 22 citizens to make recommendations to strengthen public library services, including assessing the benefits and costs of various options for service. In December 1995, the Task Force recommended that the residents be given an opportunity to vote to join the King County Library District. In February 1997, the question of annexation to the district was on the ballot, and 70% of the voters said yes. As part of the measure, the City agreed to finance $4 million of the cost of a new 15,000 square foot building in Les Gove Park, which would provide more services and collections than available in the current facility.
On January 1, 1998, the Auburn Library officially joined the King County Library System. The community celebrated the new librarys groundbreaking in March 1999. Throughout the years, the Auburn Friends of the Library, The Library Board, and the residents have been very supportive of their local institution. The opportunity to expand library services and to meet the Task Forces goal to promote the public library as a major center of the Auburn Community is within reach.
The new Auburn Library, which opened on April 19, 2000, was designed by Olson
The 15,000 square foot library has special features, including meeting rooms for programs and public use, study/tutor rooms, access to computer and Internet resources, and an intimate reading nook overlooking the park. The lobby offers a glass display case for use by the library or community groups and a community/library information center.
The library also houses the special collection and resources of the South King County Genealogical Society the largest genealogy collection in the King County Library System. There is also a computer lab which is used for free public instruction on beginning Internet, online library catalog and other computer-related subjects and applications.
About the Building
The library is designed to complement the surrounding rural and commercial communities. It forms a strong street presence in response to Auburn Way, capable of calling attention to itself amidst the busy business district. At the same time, the building softly modulates to meet the placidity of Les Gove Park that borders its opposite side.
With a roof shape reminiscent of an open book, the building is composed of two areas. The large, column-free collections area is separated by a central spine from the community resource room and support areas. The covered entry walkway mirrors historic railroad covered platforms a reminder of Auburns history as a prominent railway hub in the early 1900s.
Last Updated: October 3, 2008