Federal Way library prepares for closure, temporary locations

This artist rendering shows how the 25,000 square-foot Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S., will look after a 10,000 square-foot bond-approved addition. Construction and the library
This artist rendering shows how the 25,000 square-foot Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S., will look after a 10,000 square-foot bond-approved addition. Construction and the library's closure are expected to begin in March.
— image credit: Artist rendering courtesy of King County Library System

Federal Lay Regional Library patrons have a few more weeks to soak up the library's services before it is shut down for bond-approved construction.

King County Library Services is taking bids on the work. Construction is expected to begin in early March, KCLS communications specialist Brooke Fisher said. Library users will be channeled to other permanent and temporary locations while the project is under way.

Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S., opened in December 1991. The 25,000-square-foot library is home to more than 180,000 items and 40 computers. Programs, classes and meeting space are also available.

An $8.1 million expansion plan — approved in 2004 — calls for a 10,000-square-foot addition. Materials, computers, wireless access and space for children and teens are also included. The plan is part of a $172 million capital bond measure that calls for construction, renovation or expansion of 44 county libraries. Construction was originally scheduled for a 2010 start.

Temporary services will be established and nearby locations frequented as Federal Way's regional location undergoes improvements. Panther Lake Elementary School, 34424 1st Ave. S., will be open for holds pick-up only. Staff will be there to help customers; a librarian will not.

A library will be set up at The Commons mall. Staff and a librarian will be stationed there. Computers will be available and some programming is expected, Fisher said. The location is a bit unconventional, but could introduce services to a new audience.

"We are pretty excited about having the opportunity to meet people who don't have library cards," said Donna McMillen, cluster manager for both Federal Way libraries.

The mall location will open near Torero's restaurant a few days after the regional closure, and will offer items similar to those found at a book store, she said. Room for about 12 visitors and a few tables will be offered.

Federal Way 320th Library, 848 S. 320th St., is expected to serve as the primary service provider during the construction period. Additional computers will be offered. Most homework and project materials will be found here. Students should plan ahead and expect a few extra days to request materials, McMillen said. Books and references may have to be sent from other libraries.

The location will feel the impact of thousands of additional patrons. In December 2008, the regional library had 27,009 visitors, Fisher said. November brought a little more than 33,700 people, and October's attendance neared 36,000, she said. High frequency months top 38,000 visitors to the regional library, Fisher said. The 320th Street location has a 259-person occupancy limit, Fisher said.

Use of KCLS's Web site,, will help patrons. Here, customers can search availability of items, find out which location specific materials are held, place holds and browse collections.

"I think we will see a lot of use of people placing holds from home," McMillen said.

Staff at the regional location have geared up for the closure for the past year, she said. Staff has ensured that all materials of which only one copy is available at the regional library are made available at other locations, she said. An illustration of the future improvements and a list of available meeting spaces are offered now at the regional location, McMillen said.

When completed, visitors can expect a more functional library with age appropriate spaces and meeting rooms.

"I was really struck by all the places people can go to have a quiet library experience," McMillen said of the new design.

Service providers

• Panther Lake Elementary, 34424 1st Ave. S.: Open 5 to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday for holds pick-up

• Commons mall, 1928 S. Commons: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

• Federal Way 320th Library, 848 S. 320th St.: Open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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