Story and Photos by Nancy Covert
It’s official! With much fanfare, music, and speeches, Pierce County Library System’s newest facility opened for business, shortly after noon on Feb. 12.
Hundreds of readers—not just UP residents—were there that afternoon to explore the Town Center’s anchor business.
Quoting Pres. Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “my best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read,” J. J. McCamment, Chair of the Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees, wished library’s visitors “happy browsing.” Other local dignitaries expressed similar sentiments.
Branch manager Cindy Bonaro, relieved to be moving into the spacious location, said that the teen area was “her favorite spot” in the new library.
Hundreds of library patrons thronged into the UP Town Center foyer that afternoon. As the clock hands moved toward High Noon, attendees listened for the official word to enter. The large pair of black scissors, cutting through a shiny red ribbon made it official.
Once the ribbon was snipped, guests pressed through the doors into the 15,000-sq. ft. facility on the main floor of the impressive multi-storied structure at 3609 Market Street, just off Bridgeport Way. The first 3,000 patrons each received a complimentary green/black book bag, filled with useful information about the system’s newest facility, to guide them on their way.
A typical library patron that afternoon walked leisurely through the various sections, pausing at specially gold-balloon- marked stations, to have a special “passport” stamped. Blue footprints, bearing the message to “read” were issued at five checkpoint sites, including the Children’s area; the Tacoma Narrows Rotary teens’ area, the Job and Business Center, the Meeting Rooms, and the LEED certificate sign.
The building’s LEED designation is especially noteworthy, signifying incorporation of numerous energy-efficiency practices such as using local and sustainable building materials and installation of an efficient cooling and heating system.
Library characters Lily Ladybug and Curious George took part in photo opportunities for younger patrons, while former UP School District orchestra students entertained.
Library accommodations include the Adriana and George Hess Conference Room, as well as a large general meeting room. The Terry D. Reim Spirit of Giving Donor Wall, outside the main meeting room, honors major library patron donations.
Despite the crush of people, the library’s interior was surprisingly quiet—thanks to strategically placed, and colorful, overhead baffles that muted sounds.
A casual questioning of several patrons indicated overall pleasure with the new facility. One patron in the magazine section said she “planned to return when it wasn’t so crowded” so she could slowly peruse the shelves. Another patron had already selected a stack of books to help with her new business venture.
Outside a large banner, announcing the library was “now open” flapped in the breeze. Two librarians methodically unloaded a pair of already filled-to-the brim, book drop containers.
The contents, they promised, would quickly be back in circulation.
Just the Facts
According to information provided by the Pierce County Library System about its newest facility:
- There are more than 80,000 books, movies, audiobooks and more in its inventory
- It contains a 1,300-sq. ft. meeting room for public use
- A 215-sq. ft. high tech conference room that accommodates eight people.
- A 1,500-sq. ft. interactive children’s area
- A 1,040-sq. ft. Tacoma Narrows Rotary Teens’ area
- A Jobs and Business Center