VIDEO: Groundbreaking celebration for new White Center Library

March 19th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

Local students will benefit mightily from the new White Center Library, so it was only fitting they participated in today’s groundbreaking ceremony:

Much ceremony and celebration accompanied the formal groundbreaking this afternoon, including high-school musicians from the Evergreen campus:

Proud day for the White Center Library Guild – here’s president June McKivor:

And of course for the King County Library System, whose board president Robin McClelland was there:

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott spoke:

The official address is 1409 SW 107th, identified by KCLS two years ago:

As the library’s groundbreaking announcement puts it, “The new library will be larger and brighter, 10,000 square feet, with more windows, with more study tables, study rooms, dedicated spaces for kids and teens, more materials, more computers, better wireless, and a large flexible community meeting room that can be opened up for general use when not reserved for use by the community.” The project is funded by a bond voters approved 11 years ago.

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Groundbreaking ceremony March 19th for new White Center Library

February 27th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Groundbreaking ceremony March 19th for new White Center Library

The announcement came with the newest event listings for the White Center Library – a groundbreaking ceremony is set for the new library, 3 pm March 19th. No details of the ceremony yet; the new library site is along 107th, east of 16th. Here are the plans/drawings shown at the November 2013 public meeting about the project.

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Tomorrow and Saturday: White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar & Book Sale!

November 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Holidays, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Tomorrow and Saturday: White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar & Book Sale!

No, it is NOT too soon to think “holidays.” White Center Library Guild is having its popular annual bazaar and book sale the next two days – Friday and Saturday – and hopes you will come celebrate – all the details are above.

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107th SW site being pursued as home of new White Center Library

February 27th, 2013 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news 3 Comments »

(Sketch of future library site, from KCLS Board briefing document)
A site on the south side of 107th between 14th and 16th is now the focus of the King County Library System‘s plan to build a new White Center branch. That’s after a vote of the KCLS board last night – 4-0 with one member (Burien City Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak) abstaining. Here’s how the briefing document for the board (see it here) described the site:

Site C consists of three parcels of land located at SW 107th Street and 14th Avenue SW. The site is currently owned by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and was originally purchased by the Housing Commission for affordable housing under Washington State’s Rapid Response Program (RRP), a loan program initiated by the State Legislature in 2008 for the preservation or development of affordable housing and community facilities. The Housing Commission had entered into a loan agreement with a partner for the development of affordable housing on this site but the partner was unable to obtain the necessary financing for construction and the deal fell apart. As a result the State has now taken steps to prepare to sell the parcel. Their asking price is $1.3M.

KCLS has been told by the Housing Commission that the library would qualify under the Rapid Response program for a long-term low or zero interest loan (30 years) with fully deferred payments for the life of the loan and no upfront cash other than closing costs. The site is slightly larger than what is needed for the library. The State would allow KCLS to purchase the remainder at fair market value so that KCLS could resell it, but there is even greater interest in finding a community service partner organization that could co-locate with KCLS and potentially qualify for the same favorable loan terms under the State program.

This was one of three sites KCLS was considering; the other two were both on 16th SW – the White Center Library’s current site (plus an additional parcel the county would have to buy) and the former El Chalan/Ezell’s/Wendy’s restaurant site. The board’s briefing document suggested there’s some urgency to get this purchase moving, as the site’s owner had another prospective buyer.

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White Center Library Guild yard sale rescheduled: This Sunday!

July 17th, 2012 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Library Guild yard sale rescheduled: This Sunday!

While you’re in downtown White Center – and environs – for the Jubilee Days Street Fair, parade, etc., on Sunday, here’s something more to check out:

White Center Library Guild’s HUGE Yard Sale is being held this Sunday, July 22nd. Opens 10 AM at The Muffler Shoppe (10011 16th Ave. SW) parking lot on the SW corner of 16th Ave. SW/SW 100th. There will be plants, furniture, clothes, books, giftware, dishes and more. All proceeds benefit White Center Library programs including books and supplies for the employee-award-winning Children’s Librarian.

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White Center Library Guild invites you to its upcoming sale

June 7th, 2012 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Library Guild invites you to its upcoming sale

Help the White Center Library Guild provide special programming – especially for kids/teens – by supporting its sale on June 22nd and 23rd!

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Details: King County Library Board shelves consolidation, till info’s in on annexation

June 29th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Boulevard Park, Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Details: King County Library Board shelves consolidation, till info’s in on annexation

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

More than 50 community members were in attendance as the King County Library Services Board of Trustees met in Issaquah Tuesday, hoping to have their collective voices heard regarding the North Highline Library Service Recommendation to consolidate the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries.

(From left, Liz Giba of NHUAC, Burien City Councilmember Rose Clark, WCCDA’s Virgil Domaoan, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, NHUAC president Barb Dobkin)
The White Center Library Guild presented its petition (as reported here) to the Board with just shy of 1,800 signatures. Comments to the Board were broad, repeating many of the same issues presented in previous meetings. But the perceived lack of effective outreach to the regular WC and Boulevard Park library users was pointed out by Virgil Domaoan, community builder director of the White Center Community Development Association, who lives in Boulevard Park.

He joined the petition efforts initiated by the White Center Library Guild and discovered during their doorbelling campaign that people had not heard about the potential library closures and were concerned how they would get to another location to use a computer every day. He pointed out these are families who do not have the computers commonly found in other neighborhoods where internet access and computer ownership is common place. Domaoan said only one person refused to sign the petition, a mother who wanted her son to be present when she signed it so he could witness what she was doing as a civic lesson.

Greg Duff, former North Highline Unincorporated Area Council member who is a candidate for Burien City Council, told the Board that his petition drive at the recent Burien Wild Strawberry Festival resulted in two main takeaways from the public he spoke with: It was suggested that Board members themselves visit the Boulevard Park and White Center libraries any day around 4:00 PM to see for themselves the high volume of computer users. The second takeaway was why should they, as voters, ever vote for a library bond again when they were lied to about the 2004 bond?

Astha Tada, speaking to the Board as a former teacher and as a Guild Member, wore an 18-pound backpack as she spoke. That’s the average weight of what kids carry every day back and forth to school, saying she learned that when she “googled” it in her research. In true teacher fashion, she wore it to illustrate the unwieldy weight children would be expected to bear while walking even further to a new library location from school and home because, she said, there will be no transportation options for them when they do not have money for a bus.

Safia Jama told the Board through a Somali interpreter that she is the mother of six children raised in White Center for the last 15 years. “Every day I have taken my children to the library in White Center. My children are in elementary, middle and high school and university. I am not lying. All of them use the library every day.”

Having heard all of these and many other passionate and articulate speakers, the Board spared any debate regarding convening an Executive Session to hear the staff’s proposed sites for a new library, as Director Ptacek suggested the Board do as the agenda outlined. The agenda was changed and a motion was made and immediately approved to delay any decisions on consolidation until further information was available about the potential for the Burien annexation of North Highline.

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Happening now: White Center Library Guild yard sale

June 25th, 2011 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Happening now: White Center Library Guild yard sale

The White Center Library Guild‘s yard sale IS on today, till 3 pm – 1110 SW 116th – rained out last week but today, so far so good! (Thanks to Gill for the photo.)

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Details: North Highline consolidation discussed, delayed at Library Board meeting

May 25th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Details: North Highline consolidation discussed, delayed at Library Board meeting

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

We’ve already reported that, when the King County Library Services Board of Trustees met Tuesday evening in the North Bend Library, board members voted to delay a potential vote on the Library Service Area Analysis for North Highline and related staff recommendations. Here are details of how that unfolded:

Speakers advocating for a delay in any vote to proceed with consolidation of the Boulevard Park and White Center Library’s included King County 8th District Councilmember Joe McDermott. He told the Board that the issue of potential annexation for the areas remained very much in flux, since Seattle’s councilmembers have said they will revisit the issue next February, but won’t stand in the way if Burien wants to pursue annexation sooner.

Considering that, and the indication that Burien’s council may start annexation discussion this summer, Councilmember McDermott encouraged the Board to delay any action or vote regarding the libraries for at least a year when such consideration might be more appropriate, or at least might provide enough time for the process to move forward more definitively.

Director Bill Ptacek said that the Board had already delayed a decision regarding the North Highline area and that the interim result of that delay was the Library Service Analysis recently conducted by surveying people online and over the phone. The surveys, according to Project Manager Jennifer Wiseman, provided a lot of feedback regarding much-needed improvements to the Boulevard Park and White Center Libraries which would be addressed by the now seven-year old 2004 bond funds. The survey also, she said, “tested” the consolidation idea via two questions and suggested there’s support for it – in the first question, about 65% support via the phone surveys (800 respondents) and 44% online. Then, when the second question was asked with specific details about consolidation, the support increased 5% on the phone interviews and 10% on the online questionnaires, yielding just slightly over 54% approval online). Wiseman also noted that the online respondents were not representative of the community and skewed the results because they were predominantly white female college graduates over 50.

White Center Library Guild President Rachel Levine and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council members Pat Price (a Boulevard Park resident) and Barbara Dobkin (a White Center resident) also spoke. Price pointed out to the Board that White Center has a high percentage of people without vehicles, as well as little east-west bus service, so the walking distance from schools and homes to libraries is important. Dobkin told the Board that she and other voters who supported the 2004 bond did so with the understanding that bond funds would be put toward improvements as designated within the bonds, not a closure or consolidation. “This isn’t what we voted for.”

Ptacek, in addressing the reallocation of the 2004 bond funds, said that the recommendation to reallocate the bond funds to a new library are based on the “good bids we’ve been getting” for construction. The Library Guild’s Levine expressed her concerns about the impartiality of the agency that conducted the surveys, but also read a letter on behalf of the Guild vowing to continue to work together with the KCLS Board.

A community member and retired teacher who now volunteers at Cascade and works with White Center youth in service projects held up a photograph of the kids “to whom we have a moral responsibility.” Kids in the Highline area are out of school on Fridays early and they need a safe place to study, away from crowded, noisy homes and where they have access to resources, she said, imploring the Board not to forget the children of White Center.

Board Trustee Bill Spitzer moved that any decision be postponed until the next Board meeting in June (to be held in Issaquah at the Library Services Center). He said that he was reluctant to vote with only three of the five Board members present. He also said he was sensitive to the logistical dilemma for White Center residents who might not have been able to attend a meeting 45 miles away, even though more than a dozen community meetings have been held on the matter.

With that, the motion was seconded, and the action item to address the North Highline Library Service recommendations was delayed until at least next month’s meeting. Board President Eadie asked the staff to provide the Board a list of potential sites, if any are known, for a new North Highline location at that meeting.

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Reminder: North Highline on the King County Library Board agenda today

May 24th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Boulevard Park, Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Reminder: North Highline on the King County Library Board agenda today

Will the King County Library Board vote to consolidate the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries? It’s on the agenda today for their 5 pm meeting – at the North Bend Library. Find the agenda linked here. White Center Now will be there and we’ll let you know what happens.

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Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

March 22nd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

Just a quick reminder – the meeting about potential county action to try to help with Hicks Lake‘s water-quality problems is at 6:30 pm tonight at White Center Library. Here’s the original announcement with details.

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Notes from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s March meeting

March 4th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Annexation, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center Library, White Center news 9 Comments »

From WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

Last on the agenda, but top of many minds – NHUAC voted unanimously to immediately draft a letter to each Seattle City Council member reaffirming NHUAC’s previous position to support the annexation of Area Y to the city of Burien.

Mike Martin
, Burien City Manager, usually updates NHUAC at its meetings. Annexation was one of his topics: Martin said that the Burien Council is obligated to honor the Memorandum of Understanding with Seattle and therefore will not be taking a position regarding any Boundary Review Board process that might be triggered if Seattle council members vote in the next month to keep the process going. However, he told NHUAC that there are still internal conversations being held within their city hall and that NHUAC and citizens of “Area Y” should not let Burien’s official silence belie the fact that “we are intensely interested.”

Other highlights: Martin recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. regarding the Block Grants for 2011. Martin says that he’s never, in 15 years of such trips to D.C., seen the state of confusion regarding the status of Block Grants, which he says have been put into “an 11th hour” jeopardy. These funds may impact work on Puget Sound Park, he notes. He will update the Council as the outcomes of those grant funds becomes known.

Martin also mentioned that Burien is currently in the midst of a Police Status study to evaluate whether the city will continue to contract with outside law enforcement agencies or begin a process to develop the city’s own police department. The study also includes data collection on the feasibility of a new police station, in the event a new department were to be founded.

There were no solid or significant trends to observe over the past few months; however, the KCSO rep did note that auto thefts have gone down from 29 to 11 after a particularly active period a few months ago.

There also was a bit of good news regarding the staffing numbers for deputies in King County. The recent annexation in the Kirkland/Juanita area may allow for reallocation for some officers to the North Highline area, though such a determination is neither confirmed nor finalized.

The King County Library System (KCLS) Director, Bill Ptacek, and Jennifer Wiseman, Project Manager/Public Services, addressed the gathering with the most extensive presentation and discussion of the evening.

In 2004, King County voters approved a bond to fund library improvements throughout the entire county service area, as well as build new libraries. While Burien’s library was completed in 2009, funds were also allocated for a new White Center library from the same bond. Also, the housing development at Greenbridge in White Center also recently incorporated a new, though smaller, library.

A North Highline Library Needs Assessment Study is currently being conducted via phone; an online questionnaire went live on March 1 at The survey is open to the entire public, does not require a King County Library user number and can be responded to in English or Spanish. The deadline for responses is March 30. The KCLS Board will be considering the results of the survey at its April meeting, when they determine whether to improve the existing libraries or build a new facility.

They also talked about a draft Library Service Area Analysis – you can read the 30-page report online here: The report contains the following Trends & Conclusions of KCLS (page 22):

Key Trends & Conclusions

Usage Trends

Use of the Greenbridge, White Center and Boulevard Park libraries is concentrated to patrons in the immediate neighborhood.
The Burien Library is a destination library that draws people from throughout the area, including South King County and Seattle.
All of the libraries in the area studied, excluding the Kent Library, exceed the System cost per circulated item.
The Southcenter, Burien, Des Moines and Kent libraries are the most effective based on cost per visitor.
The White Center Library draws the greatest number of patrons from Seattle.

Geographic Considerations

There is a high concentration of schools located near the White Center and Burien libraries compared to Boulevard Park Library.
There are three Seattle Public Library (SPL) branches within close proximity to the libraries in the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group.
In the event that the remaining unincorporated area is annexed to Seattle, the Seattle Public Library (SPL) has indicated a strong interest in maintaining library services at the Greenbridge Library.
␣ With limited public transportation routes, and only two points at which to cross underneath it, State Route 509 presents a geographical divide in the North Highline community.
␣ Five schools are located in the remaining unincorporated area of North Highline.

Demographic Trends
␣ Growth trends during the past decade are inconsistent with growth projections for the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group.
␣ FAZ growth projections of 3.7% to 16.6% in the North Highline area are less significant than King County projections of 19.5% by the year 2020.
␣ The Boulevard Park, White Center and SeaTac FAZs are very similar socio-economically.
␣ The “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group is considerably more diverse than King County.
␣ There is a significant percentage of population with limited access to vehicles in the area studied.
␣ A significant proportion of the population in the area studied is unemployed.

Library Distribution Conclusions
␣ After accounting for potential growth in the area, the square feet per 1,000 of population in the northern portion of the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group is notably higher than the System average, while it is significantly below the System average in the southern portion of the FAZ group.
␣ Determination of the distribution of library facilities and their respective service areas should be made with consideration to topography challenges (including natural and manmade barriers).

Ptacek explained to the gathering, including some members of the White Center Library Guild who together voiced their various concerns regarding the potential combining of the Boulevard Park and White Center libraries, that the goal of the KCLS is to have an equitable distribution of library resources available to the greatest numbers of users.

The KCLS Library Service Area Analysis Policy is described below, taken from their Public Services Manual PDF for the same, dated 2/10:


The King County Library System (KCLS) maintains and operates library facilities in a prudent and fiscally sound manner and is continually looking for ways to meet public needs while effectively managing public resources. This policy outlines the process for analyzing the distribution of library resources within a particular area to ensure that public resources are applied for the best possible public benefit.

Declining funding, population shifts, building obsolescence or other reasons may require the Board of Trustees to consider closing and consolidating library facilities. When considering action to alter the distribution of library services, the following will occur:
· The Library Director will keep the Board of Trustees informed of situations that may warrant an analysis of the library service area.
· KCLS staff will conduct a Library Service Area Analysis on an as needed basis, or as part of a regularly scheduled community study.
· Citizen input will be considered through one or more public meetings and/or other methods of collecting input in advance of a final decision by the Board of Trustees.
· Public notice of no less than thirty (30) calendar days will be given prior to a final decision by the Board of Trustees.


The Library Service Area Analysis process is used to:
· Measure how effectively a redistribution of library resources would meet community need.
· Assess the best configuration of staff and resources to enable the library cluster to provide more programs and services to the community.
· Determine whether operational efficiencies may be gained by consolidating two smaller libraries into a single, comparably sized or larger facility.
· Investigate how the current allocation of library resources compares to the rest of the Library System to ensure an equitable distribution across King County.


During a Library Service Area Analysis, the following data will be collected and analyzed (if available):
· Library usage, including traffic, circulation and computer usage
· Library operational and staffing costs
· Socio-economic demographics
· Per capita measures
· Cross-use with other library jurisdictions
· Address of patrons frequenting the facility or facilities
· Size or scale of service in cluster model
· Local transportation routes, especially transit
· Area traffic patterns
· Population centers and growth forecasts
· Proximity to schools and daycares
· Proximity to senior living facilities
· Development in the area, including types of zoning
· City documentation (from similar area studies)
· Local area needs assessments (conducted by other agencies or jurisdictions)

Desired Outcomes

Based on the results of a Library Service Area Analysis, KCLS staff may recommend redistribution of library resources. Such recommendations will be made after considering the extent to which an alteration achieves the following outcomes:
· Results in increased offerings of library programs and services
· Results in increased library use
· More effectively meets community need for library resources
· Provides the community with more sustainable, lower-cost facilities
· Creates operational efficiencies
· Minimizes duplication between two library institutions in the same geographic area
· Optimizes the regional provision of library services
· Positions KCLS for new service opportunities and a greater role in building community
· Provides equitable distribution of library resources across the Library System

DEFINITIONS (if applicable) ·
Redistribution of Library Resources: May include closing or consolidating a library, adding a facility, developing services outside the facility, or reducing the size of or expanding a library.

NHUAC meets on the first Thursday of the month, 7 pm, North Highline Fire District HQ.

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Celebrate the New Greenbridge and YWCA Learning Center

October 10th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Miscellaneous, Neighborhood House, Neighborhoods, White Center, White Center Library Comments Off on Celebrate the New Greenbridge and YWCA Learning Center

Celebrate the new Greenbridge Library and YWCA Learning Center.
Open House on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 – 11am!
960 Newport Way NW
Issaquah, WA 98027

Bring your friends, family and neighbors and help celebrate the new
community building.
Wednesday, November 5, 11am
9720 Eighth Avenue SW
White Center, WA
Questions, call 425.369.3275.

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White Center Library: Beyond books

September 15th, 2008 Tracy Posted in White Center Library Comments Off on White Center Library: Beyond books

Latest proof the library’s not just for books these days: Teen games at White Center Library, 2:30 pm Wednesday – GameCube, Wii, XBox 360 – more info on the latest library calendar of events (which also includes world-language storytimes!).

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