Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 25, 2011 at 8:27 PM

More to check out than a scenic river view

Posted by Gabriel Campanario


Sketched Nov. 17, 2011

A recent Twitter tip pointed me to a library like no other around here. Renton's Liberty Park Library is perched on concrete pylons and suspended over the Cedar River. How cool is that?

Bette Anderson, a former library director, told me how the building came to be built over a river in 1966. City Council members couldn't make up their minds on the location, she said, until one of them joked at a meeting, "Why don't we just build it over the river?"

The library is a unique blend of public space and nature. You can stand by the entrance to watch the salmon swim upstream, or enjoy the view of nearby bridges from the windows on a stormy day. "Logs come rolling down the river," said Anderson, calling the scene hypnotic.

Though the city plans to move the library closer to downtown by 2013, some patrons seemed wary of that idea. "Most people want to keep the library here," said David Harrington, 69, who recalled swimming in the river as a kid and now comes to the library for the Wi-Fi.

A steering committee has been formed to envision the future of this building. What would you do with it? Whatever it becomes, I hope it'll still draw as many people as I saw there on a rainy day.


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Once a month, I explore Seattle-area communities following reader recommendations. I welcome your suggestions via Twitter or email.

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Although I agree with the ideas of keeping waterways clean and such, the implementation by King County has much to be desired, as evidenced by our...  Posted on November 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM by nwgeorge. Jump to comment
I like that library. If they were building a library there now, they'd make use of the water and the setting better, but I still like it.  Posted on November 28, 2011 at 7:00 PM by fabiogoblin. Jump to comment
Um, yeah. This library has been built already - back in 1960's. And yes, detsa, it is pretty and unique - there are people that come from all...  Posted on November 28, 2011 at 3:42 PM by Go Local. Jump to comment

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