Newcastle Library opens Dec. 8
December 6, 2012
By Christina Corrales-Toy
It’s been several years in the making, but the time has finally arrived. The Newcastle Library will open its doors to the community the morning of Dec. 8.
Patrons won’t be able to avoid the new book smell as the shelves in the 11,000-square-foot building will be filled to the brim with more than 40,000 new items on opening day.
“You’re going to see the shelves completely packed and if you come in on Monday morning after opening day, we’re going to be bare,” said Amy Eggler, a King County Library System cluster manager.
Mithun architects designed the facility around the concept of “a community celebration of knowledge.”
The theme literally runs through the vast wall of windows that define the building, with a subtle, yet significant design pattern that runs across the panes. The light-filtering pattern on the glass was designed to resemble a human brainwave when gaining knowledge.
When visitors first step into the library, they will enter the reading room, a multifunctional space that will include a teen area, computers and an endless collection of books, music, movies and magazines.
In addition, the library includes a community meeting room, private study rooms and a children’s area decorated with an early literacy mural.
The reading room is an incredibly open and versatile space with sliding glass doors that can be adjusted to offer more seating when meeting rooms aren’t being used.
“We try to make our spaces as flexible as possible, because different kinds of days, people have different ways they want to use the library,” Eggler said. “So, we try to design it to let us get as much use for as many people as possible.”
The library will also have plenty of seating, Eggler said, including a cyber bar that will run along the windows, providing countertops with power outlets so people can bring laptops and use the library’s Wi-Fi.
Sustainability was an important feature in the library’s design, which can be seen in many of the building’s details.
A geothermal heating and cooling system will conserve energy, while radiant heated floors will distribute heat from the ground up, maintaining a consistent temperature. The library also includes a green roof that will reduce stormwater runoff and keep the building cool during summer.
In addition, the library’s design hearkens back to an aspect of Newcastle history with its brick detailing, reflecting the city’s past in brick production.
More than a building
As excited as Newcastle citizens are for the grand opening, the library’s staff might be even more excited.
The Newcastle Library will be one of three libraries that Eggler will manage, and she can’t wait to settle in and become part of the Newcastle community.
“What’s going to be exciting is that we’re going to have a lot going on that’s in the building, but the library, we don’t just exist as a building. We really exist as a presence in the community and this is sort of a launching pad,” she said.
Some library staff members are already a bit familiar with Newcastle patrons that visit surrounding libraries, said Vicki Heck, the adult services librarian at the Newcastle location.
“I think those patrons are going to be excited to have a closer, more convenient library where they can access all of King County Library’s awesome materials that are available to them,” she said.
The library staff expects to be active members of the community, offering programs, events and workshops to benefit the local residents.
“It’s just going to be the start of a beautiful relationship with the Newcastle community, and I’m excited about that,” Heck said. “I just feel that the Newcastle community is ready for us, and they have been for years, so it’s just amazing.”
The Newcastle Library’s hours of operation are:
- Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Closed Sundays
- Learn more at www.kcls.org/newcastle.
If you go
Newcastle Library grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony
- 9:30 a.m. Dec. 8.
- 12901 Newcastle Way
- Guest speakers include Mayor Rich Crispo and Julia Hunter, president of the Friends of the Newcastle Library.
- Parnassus Project performs chamber music at 10 a.m.