Refurbished, renewed and remodeled, Edmonds Library opens Saturday morning

The new library features an open design that maximizes natural light and views.

After almost a year and half of extensive repairs and remodeling, the downtown Edmonds Library will throw open its doors at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, inviting the public to once again visit and enjoy the wide array of library services.

Completely renovated and restored, the new facility is bright, open and uncluttered. In addition to books, magazines, and various forms of digital media it offers patrons a business center with printing services, loaner laptops and hotspots, conference and meeting rooms, and quiet nooks to read while enjoying our signature sound and mountain views.

The top-to-bottom remodel was not in the library’s grand plan, but rather the result of a catastrophic flood that left the facility in shambles.

The library’s open design creates ample space and unique sight lines.

It began on June 23, 2022, when a midnight rupture of a rooftop garden irrigation pipe released an estimated 7,500-8,000 gallons of water per hour into the building. The flood quickly spread through the entire facility, extending to the entry lobby, elevator and restroom area, and eventually flowing out under the Main Street entrance doors.

When library staff arrived the next morning, they were greeted by two inches of standing water covering the entire main floor, soaked carpets, ruined wallboard and destroyed furniture — but in a stroke of good luck, the 54,000-volume book collection survived unscathed.

“One of our driving criteria in the remodel was to maximize the natural light and views,” said Susan Hempstead, Sno-Isle Assistant Director of Strategic Relations. “Our architect took advantage of this by creating an interior space that draws your eyes through the sightlines and enables you to enjoy the views throughout the facility.”

Hempstead went on to point out that creating clean lines of sight not only provides an open feel, but also enhances safety.

The new children’s library “pebble” provides a special place for kids to escape with their newest book find.

Among the many new features is the children’s library featuring kid-sized book bins, immersive reading nooks, a climb-in “pebble” of natural wood slats where youngsters can enjoy their latest book find, and an interactive light wall where children can engage in a host of creative activities.

“Remember the light bright toy?” said R.D. Burley, Sno-Isle assistant director of facilities, safety and security. “This is like that but on a grander scale. Kids can change what happens on the wall by manipulating the illuminated pegs to create art, write words, or whatever their imagination may dictate.”

Along the west wall, the young adult and adult sections offer booth-style semi-enclosed collaborative areas ideal for small study groups to work together outside the main sections of the library. These are designed with modular tables and furniture that also allow for wheelchair access.

R.D Burley shows off the light wall, an interactive feature of the new children’s library.

“Full accessibility is what we are striving for,” Burley said.

The new main conference room is designed for groups of up to 59, but a modular removable glass wall allows it to accommodate larger groups. Smaller rooms are also available for one-on-one meetings, and with a library loaner laptop — or your own — are ideal for private teleconferences with anyone from a co-worker to your personal physician. All rooms are available to the public and can be reserved online or in person.

The newly designed public-use office area provides computers, printers, workstations with variable-height desks that change from traditional to standing height with the push of a button, and choice of desk and task chairs to fit a range of ergonomic needs.

The main conference room features a removable glass wall to accommodate larger groups.

An additional plus: library card holders are entitled to $7 worth of printing services per week at no charge (the number of copies this covers will vary for black-and-white vs. color), and you can even do your work at home, send your print job to the library online, and stop in later to pick it up.

“It’s like our own little FedEx,” explained Burley.

But with all the new, some things remain. The much-loved Friends of the Library used-book section is now located directly adjacent to the service desk, offering book lovers the chance to search for literary treasures while supporting the library at the same time.

The newly remodeled Edmonds Library opens its doors to the public at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13. Learn more at the library website here.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. The water leak went undetected all night long, until morning staff arrived for work~ Why did the library not have a functioning water intrusion alarm? Had emergency staff been alerted in real time, much of the damage could have been avoided. Library services could have been restored without the long 19-month wait.

    1. Ya know fate works in mysterious ways. Out of a disaster comes a beautiful newly improved library.
      And I’d bet they have a detection system in place now!

    1. I am glad to read that the Fiends of the Library used book area is returned to a convenient area. That has been a wonderful place in the past.

  2. Congratulations SnoIsle Library & City of Edmonds! Great event. And looking fwd to using the library again!

  3. Whoops! I needed to proofread my comment. It is FRIENDS of the Edmonds Library, a wonderful supportive group.

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