Project: Replace existing branch

The new branch now has:

  • expanded collection capacity of 40,200 books and materials and including collections in Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish.
  • more seats
  • upgraded technology services and equipment
  • instructional spaces and a meeting room
  • special areas for young adults, adult reference reading areas, and parking.
  • A 400-square-foot neighborhood service center. This space is currently used by community groups as the Community Services Center. 

Quick facts

  • Project type: Replace existing branch
  • Completion date: 2004
  • Budget for capital costs: $5.2 million (includes Opportunity Fund allocations)
  • Total library program area: 10,400 square feet (formerly 3,200 square feet). The original branch was built in 1927.
  • Computers: 29 (formerly 11)
  • Artists: Miles Pepper, Beacon Hill residents
  • Art budget: $43,342
  • Library Board steward: Gordon McHenry Jr.
  • Architect: Carlson Architects
  • Contractor: Steele Corp.


  • July 2004: The new Beacon Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library opened on Saturday, July 10.
  • June 2004: The Beacon Hill Branch at 2519 15th Ave. S. closed on June 27.
  • December 2003: The Seattle Design Commission commended the Library for design excellence and innovation for the new branch and neighborhood service center.
  • July 2003: Eleven Beacon Hill-area writers and poets were selected to have their work installed at the branch.
  • March 2003: Demolition was completed of the former bank building on the site of the new branch.
  • February 2003: Construction began on the new branch.
  • January 2002: Residents attended a meeting to see the design. The Seattle Design Commission approved design development plans.
  • September 2001: The Seattle Public Library board of trustees selected Miles Pepper, a kinetic sculptor from Pullman, Washington, to develop artwork for the new branch.
  • August 2001: Residents attended a meeting to discuss early design concepts.
  • May 2001: The Library finalized an agreement to buy the Wells Fargo Bank site at 2821 Beacon Ave. S. for a new library.
  • December 2000: Wells Fargo Bank announced it would consolidate its Beacon Hill branch into the Rainier Avenue branch. The Library began work on a new agreement to buy the bank's property at South Forest Street and Beacon Avenue South.
  • September 2000: The Library Board reached a framework agreement with Wells Fargo Bank to buy the bank's Beacon Hill property. The agreement gave the bank time to relocate on Beacon Hill. The board also voted to set aside $99,400 for a 400-square-foot Language Center inside the new library.
  • August 2000: The Library's Citizen Implementation Review Panel (CIRP) recommended the Library Board reserve $98,000 of the $6 million Opportunity Fund for a 400-square-foot Language Center, which was proposed by the Friends of the Beacon Hill Branch.
  • June 2000: Residents attended a "hopes and dreams" meeting to share ideas on design, collections, programs and artwork.
  • May 2000: The Library Board reaffirmed its siting decision.
  • February 2000: The Library Board voted to build the new branch on a site currently occupied by Wells Fargo Bank at South Forest Street and Beacon Avenue South.
  • November 1999: The Library Board revised its list of siting options in response to public comment.
  • October 1999: The Library Board narrowed siting options to three.
  • September 1999: Residents attended an open house to discuss 12 potential sites for the new branch.
  • June 1999: The Library Board selected Carlson Architects to design the new branch.
  • November 1998: Seattle voters approved the $196.4 million "Libraries for All" bond measure. The measure included a $6 million Opportunity Fund to be used for new or unanticipated neighborhood library capital needs for underserved areas of Seattle. The bond money, which could be used only for construction of libraries, funded a new Central Library and new and improved branches.

2017 Improvements

In January 2017, we closed the Beacon Hill Branch for improvements. It reopened in February 2017. The branch had been in operation since July 2004.

The branch reopened before the full renovation was complete to limit the closure period for the public since most of the remaining work could be done outside of open hours. A public celebration was held April 30, 2017. 

After 12 years of use, the interior of the library was improved to support the changing ways that you use libraries.

The changes were designed to make it easier for you to interact with one another, create flexible, open, welcoming spaces and improve access to technology.

Improvements included:

  • Upgrade lighting to LED
  • Reconfigure children's area to remove plywood arches and add mobile shelving and seating to create a more flexible space
  • Reconfigure teen area to add seating and a laptop bar and stools
  • Add a laptop bar in the lobby
  • Add power in seating areas and at tables
  • Move public computers closer to print station
  • Consolidate service desks to make it easier for patrons to know where to get help and to free up space for other Library purposes
  • Relocate self-checkout units and group them near holds area
  • Install eight laptops and two iPads that patrons can borrow to use inside the branch
  • Refinish walls and add protective wainscot in meeting room
  • Upgrade equipment in meeting room
  • Recarpet


  • Approximately $696,000
  • Sources of funds
    • 2012 Library levy
    • Real Estate Excise Tax
    • Library gift fund

 Key facts - people asked for:

  • quiet study spaces
  • areas where they can use a multitude of devices and collaborate with others
  • spaces where they can sit with their children to read or use technology.

Key dates:

  • Dec. 5, 2016: Open house to describe improvements
  • Dec. 30, 2016: Holds pickup location changes to Columbia Branch unless patrons have selected a different branch
  • Jan. 8, 2017: Last day to check out or return materials at the Beacon Hill Branch 
  • Jan. 9, 2017: Beacon Hill Branch closes
  • January and February 2017: Library provides Homework Help at the Columbia, Douglass-Truth and NewHolly branches. Students also can visit the Jefferson Community Center for informal assistance with homework.
  • January through Feb. 1, 2017: Library provides Baby Story Time at the Columbia Branch
  • January through March 2017: Library provides ESL classes at the Columbia Branch
  • February 2017: The NewHolly Branch hosts tax help sessions at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in February. Registration required.
  • Feb. 13, 2017: Refurbished Beacon Hill Branch reopens
  • April 30, 2017: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Reopening celebration with refreshments and entertainment