Fall City gets new library

A bigger, brighter, roomier Fall City Library will open to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, with a ribbon cutting, live music, children's events and an open house.

"It's finally happening," said Senior Managing Librarian Michele Drovdahl.

Built on the site of the old library at 33415 S.E. 42nd Place in downtown Fall City, the new library boasts more than 2,000 additional square feet with more space for studying and reading and a community meeting room. The library also will be open six days a week, rather than five, allowing residents to visit Monday through Saturday.

The new $2.7 million library was built as part of the $172 million library capital bond, approved by voters four years ago to fund major improvement projects at King County libraries during the next decade. Since it's built as one of five new libraries, includingthe new library at Snoqualmie Ridge, in a cost-saving design-build effort, visitors may see echoes of the familiar, said Dri Ralph, facilities design coordinator for King County Library System.

But there are also "elements of distinction" to the Fall City Library, Ralph said.

With river rock details, water drops and ripples in the carpet and furniture, Fall City Library reflects the waves and water of its community setting.

The biggest difference between the new library and the old one, a former bank building, is its bolder presence in the community.

Set back from the street behind parking and trees, "before, you couldn't see this building," Drovdahl said.

"But now, this is a real presence," Drovdahl said. "You know where the library is at."

"We feel like the library is really something now," she said. "I think we're probably the tallest building in town."

Employee bragging over their new home will go on for another year or so, Drovdahl added.

New and improved

The airy, tall interior includes plenty of glass, so that patrons can look outside. Drovdahl is excited about finally being able to see the Snoqualmie River from inside. But the real benefit is the fact that passing drivers can now see inside.

"It's the best advertisement," Ralph said. The building, she added, will positively glow at night.

Windows look out on the sweep of downtown, including trees, nearby Fall City Elementary and the community totem pole.

"This is a great view," Ralph said. "If I was studying in Fall City, this is where I would be."

The old bank building "was real useless space," Drovdahl said. "It had rabbit warrens, lots of goofy things that didn't measure up." The teen section was located in what used to be the bank vault - minus the doors.

Now, teens sit in their own, green-painted nook. Adults can use faster computers and sit in slimmer, comfortable chairs, and children get their own computers and their own unique chairs, including a couple of round, black "river pebble" seats. A meeting area can be divided off from the library area through sliding glass doors.

Finally happening

It's been nearly a year since the Fall City Library closed. Construction of the new library began in the fall of 2007.

During construction, library staff set up a book desk at The River's Edge store in Fall City. Staff were dispersed and doubled up at other libraries in the Valley.

Now, library employees are anxious to get back and get their schedules settled.

The River's Edge location will stay open through Wednesday, April 30 for patrons to pick up their holds.

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