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Seattle’s local library attractions – at your own pace!

Want to explore a few of Seattle’s finest libraries?  The famous Seattle Central Library is only a few blocks from the Washington State Convention Center. Seattle University's Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons is a 20 minute walk.  Or –take the Light Rail to UW Station and then walk to Red Square on the University of Washington (UW) campus to explore Suzzallo Library--the soul of the university!  Updated for MLA’17, this list includes these and other libraries, with a brief description and hours (including for Memorial Day).  The information was originally researched and written up for MLA 2012 in Seattle.  (Credit to Susan Klawansky and Ann Glusker, members of the MLA 2012 Local Assistance Committee).

Seattle Central Library DVD R W at the English language Wikipedia

Seattle Central Library
DVD R W at the English language Wikipedia

The Seattle Public Library, Central Library

SPL Central Library Website 

1000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Monday*-Thursday: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-6 :00 p.m.
Sunday: noon-6:00 p.m.
*Memorial Day: closed

Visiting: Seattle Public Central Library is a short walk from the Washington State Convention Center. The current Central Library opened to the public on May 23, 2004, and gave Seattle both a civic icon and a functional, user­ friendly building offering many different services and spaces. Currently, there are over 1 million items in the collection and 9,906 shelves devoted to books, all of which move around the building in a high-tech book-handling system that operates for the most part out of public view. With an innovative design featuring vibrant colors, glass walls, and spaces including the Living Room, Mixing Chamber, and Books Spiral, the Central Library has become a must-see destination for locals and tourists alike.

Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, Seattle University

Seattle U Library Website

901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Monday*-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00a.m.-11:00 p.m.
*Memorial day: 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; call to confirm

Visiting: Highlighted in Library Journal's December 2011 issue for its stunning architecture, Seattle University's Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons opened in September 2010, "[combining] new construction and renovation to offer a state-of-the-art facility. The facility blends student academic support services, scholarly research, collaborative learning, and social interaction in a technology-rich, light-filled environment." The Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons is located in the First Hill neighborhood, often called "Pill Hill" for the many health care organizations centered there (Swedish Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and more). While on the Seattle University campus, be sure to see the exquisite and architecturally renowned Chapel of St. Ignatius.

University of Washington Suzzallo & Allen Libraries

Suzzallo Library Website

Located on Red Square at the University of Washington Seattle Campus

Monday*-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a .m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 1 :00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
*Memorial Day: 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Visiting: On your own, at any time during the library's open hours.

Built in 1926 in Tudor Collegiate Gothic style, Suzzallo Library is the central library of the university libraries and has been called "the soul of the university." The Allen Library wing is a 1990 addition, with a modern sensibility. Together, they house much of the university's collection, including substantial government publications, maps and microform/ newspapers, the university's special collections, and reference and research commons areas. A highlight is the Graduate Reading Room, with 65-foot high ceilings, tall leaded windows, and stained glass evoking the feeling of a medieval cathedral.

Before or after your visit, explore the lovely University of Washington campus (, designed by the Olmsted brothers and a legacy of Seattle’s “forgotten World’s Fair” of 1909. Walk through Red Square and the main quad, enjoy Drumheller Fountain, and stroll through the Medicinal Herb Garden. If you are lucky, you will see why the long view southeast is called Rainier Vista .

University of Washington Botanic Gardens, Center for Urban Horticulture, Elisabeth C. Miller Library

Center for Urban Horticulture Library Website

3501 NE 41 st Street
Seattle, WA 98195

Monday* 9am-8:00 p.m.;
Tuesday­ Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.;
Saturday 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Sunday: closed
*Memorial Day: closed

Visiting: Visit the library on your own at any time during open hours.

The Elisabeth C. Miller Library is the largest horticultural library in the Pacific Northwest. It provides a wide range of services and resources to a diverse public, including academic faculty and students, professional horticulturists and designers, and home gardeners. The collection of more than 15,000 books and 500 journal titles also includes a rare book room, collections of current and historical nursery and seed catalogs, and a children's and parent-teacher resource section.

The Center for Urban Horticulture is located on the far eastern edge of the University of Washington campus, a few miles north of downtown. From the UW Light Rail Station, on weekdays Metro bus #78 takes you directly there, or, on the weekend, take bus #65 and then walk a few blocks. In addition to the library, there are acres of landscaped grounds and the Union Bay Natural Area, providing trails, birdwatching, and access to Lake Washington.

University of Washington Health Sciences Library

UW Health Sciences Library Website

1959 NE Pacific Street, T334 Health Sciences Building
Seattle, WA 98195
206 .543.3390

Monday*-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Saturday: noon-5:00 p.m.
Sunday: noon-7:00 p.m.
*Memorial Day: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Visiting: On your own, at any time during open hours.

Located within minutes’ walk from the UW Light Rail Station, the Health Sciences Library (HSL) at the University of Washington supports 6 schools and 25,000 students and faculty throughout the 5-state Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) region. To serve this large geographic area, the library focuses its efforts on providing web-based knowledge resources regardless of physical location of the user. The HSL also serves as the Regional Medical Library of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region, connecting health professionals across the region to information services. This video provides directions from the UW Light Rail station:


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