The new and improved Federal Way 320th Library will re-open Saturday with more parking, more materials, more lighting, more seating, more study rooms and more 21st-century amenities.
The best part? It's all free.
Library patrons will notice the skylights, windows and high ceiling, along with works of art on the inside and outside. (SEE PHOTOS)
The new building features "flexible" shelves to give items a bookstore-style display.
Children's books are organized by categories with easier access for young readers. For example, books about trucks are grouped in a category called "Things that go," rather than in alphabetical order by author.
The 320th Library is viewed as a pilot branch in the King County Library System, according to Donna McMillen, library cluster manager. Patrons can check out and download electronic media the same way they borrowed traditional books: after three weeks, it's another patron's turn. The library buys a limited number of electronic copies that are available to loan.
The library also installed touch-screen media stations that let patrons sample ebooks, for example, then download the items to a smartphone or mobile device.
Patrons can still check out the latest bestsellers, audio books, music, movies, magazines and more. In another sign of updating for the times, the library no longer carries VHS videotapes or books on cassettes.
Crews demolished the original building last summer and overhauled the landscape. At 15,000 square feet, the new building measures 4,000 square feet larger and sits closer to the road. Wood from the original building, which opened in 1970, was incorporated into overhead beams and wall panels in the new building.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the same site as the previous library, 848 S. 320th St. The celebration will include refreshments, traditional Latin American music by Los Flacos, and a magic show in the afternoon by Jeff Evans.
At a cost of about $5 million, the new construction was funded through a bond measure approved by voters in 2004. The $172 million capital bond included an $8.1 million expansion and renovation of the Federal Way Regional Library, which reopened in June 2010 at 34500 1st Ave. S.
(Pictured: Touch-screen media stations are found alongside shelves of books — which are reflected in the screen — at the new Federal Way 320th Library.)
(Pictured: Donna McMillen, library cluster manager, stands alongside new computers and new study rooms at the Federal Way 320th Library.)
(Pictured: The Federal Way 320th Library has popular music and DVDs, including this copy of the fourth season of "Breaking Bad.")