Islanders check out Vashon’s new library

Top, patrons use the new computer and peruse shelves. Below, Jan Riley, library manager, checks out a book for a young patron.  - Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo
Top, patrons use the new computer and peruse shelves. Below, Jan Riley, library manager, checks out a book for a young patron.
— image credit: Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo

The shelves are up, books in order, fresh carpet laid and a row of new computers plugged in. Last weekend the doors opened to what felt like a brand-new library at Vashon Plaza as islanders got their first look at the temporary space that will serve Vashon for the coming year, until the newly remodeled Vashon Library opens in late 2013 or early 2014.

“It turned out much better than I was expecting,” said Jan Riley, operations supervisor at the library who has been working long hours to make the transition smooth.

On Saturday morning the library was bustling with people browsing shelves, returning books, using computers and picking up holds they’d waited for during the library’s closure. Many commented that the area felt fresh, open, bright and airy.

Library staff and professional movers worked for weeks to prepare the space, and the library shut down for five days last week so thousands of books could be moved across town.

“Everyone did a marvelous job,” said Wanda Thompson, who browsed the fiction section.

Indeed, the former bowling alley was dusty and barren just weeks ago but now looks as if it’s housed a library for years. Blue and green carpet brought over from a Federal Way library sets off a 4,800 square-foot-space packed with bright white shelves of books. There are spots to sit and read, a children’s area and a computer table lined with 20 new machines.

The temporary library is about 1,500 square feet smaller than the one at Ober Park, but it holds the same number of books and computers. There isn’t a meeting room, so most meetings and classes once held at the library will be moved to other locations for the next year.

Riley said that while there was an air of excitement at the new location, it wasn’t anything compared to the celebration that will occur when the new library opens in a year. “We’re all looking forward to getting a new library,” she said.

Elizabeth Nye, who came to check out the new digs that morning, noted that with a car wash happening out front, dance rehearsals and batting practice taking place down the way and the IGA grocery store celebrating its reopening, the Vashon Plaza was a bustling place that weekend.

“It’s more like a city library,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. It feels like there should be a latte machine.”


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