New library begins to take shape

  • Written by Lisa Allen
Colorful history of old library reflects creativity and determination of founders

Claire Mitchell, youth member of the Duvall Libary Board, and Board Chair Paige Denison both spoke at the library groundbreaking ceremony. Claire has just finished her term as youth (student) member. Interested students are encouraged to apply to the board. Applications are available from the city. Lisa Allen/Staff photo
The Duvall Library has come a long way from its early beginnings in a small store to the busy branch of the King County Library System it is today. Now a new facility is in the process of construction next to The Duvall Church.

Groundbreaking for the new structure took place July 14th. Speakers included King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who told the audience she just loves reading. "All the precious memories of my life revolve around books," she said. "Libraries are a huge part of our culture ... This 8,000 square-foot structure is at the gateway to the Duvall community."

KCLS Board of Trustees member Rob Spitzer visualized "the amazing picture of a tranquil rural place in the county to create a perfect balance between that and the world … thanks to the foresight of voters who passed the bond measure in 2004. Because of that it will continue to provide this great investment. This is a great day for the community."

Speakers noted that it was especially gratifying that the library will continue to stay in the downtown area, which was what most residents had indicated they preferred.

Ray Johnston of Johnston Architects, the designer of the building, stated that the new library will be "in the perfect place in the center of the community."

Library Board Chair Paige Denison said she was "thrilled to be a part of this long-awaited event." She thanked The Duvall Church "who brought the availability of this property to the board."

Although a completion date has not yet been set, King County Library System (KCLS) officials expect the new facility will be completed sometime next year.

According to local historian Tove Burhen, the original library was a project of the Duvall Civic Club, which was organized by a group of local women in the 1920s.

"The idea was ‘to do good deeds,’ and putting together a lending library was one of them," Burhen said. "They held fundraisers, brought books of their own and then dressed up, went to Seattle and bought books which they put in a corner of a small store."

Then in the 1930s, she said, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was able to get lumber from a building being torn down and so the library was built. It was a small building, but doubled as a meeting place, she said, with enough room for a desk, a sofa for folks to sit and read and a place to serve coffee and food – and the books, of course.

The Civic Club raised money for the first addition which was the one on the left of the building where the children’s section is now. Somewhere along the line, the Civic Club gave the building to the city. The addition towards the rear of the building was built in 1993.

In the same year, the city held a special election asking voters to approve an annexation into the King County Library System.

Prior to that, the city had contracted for services with the King County Rural Library District (KCLS).

The new 8,000 square-foot library will be paid for by a $172 million capital bond which was approved by voters to fund major upkeep and expansion of KCLS libraries.

The new Duvall library will include a community meeting room, children’s and teen areas and space for studying and reading.

KCLS is the largest library system in the nation, recently surpassing Queens, New York.

The King County Library System was recently named Library of the Year by Gale and Library Journal.


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