“This is gorgeous,” Everett’s Jeanne Mitchell said Monday. She and her husband, Phil Mitchell, were exploring the library’s airy new digs, where stunning artwork hangs in spaces high overhead.
Before visitors walk through the doors at 9512 Evergreen Way, where words in different languages say “Welcome,” they see the library’s fanciful roadside sign. A rocket blasting off from a stack of books, it’s a sculpture created by Dillon Works. The Mukilteo company also made the stately row of 8-foot-tall classic novels outside Library Place Apartments next to Everett’s downtown library.
Closed since last Christmas Eve, the Evergreen Branch’s grand reopening ceremony Friday drew such a crowd that the Mitchells decided to come back Monday for a better look. Along with seeing the library, Jeanne Mitchell, 73, checked out books, among them one about bucket-list adventures.
“Just about everything is new. It’s more welcoming,” Everett Public Library Director Abby Cooley said Monday while pointing out highlights of the $6.9 million project.
Behind glass doors is a children’s activity room, a colorful space intended to support learning. An open children’s area has early-literacy computers, with games in English and Spanish, along with activity panels for interactive play.
New and needed in the south Everett facility is a large community room, where multi-paned windows let in natural light. The branch can now accommodate sizable library programs and meetings. Equipped with comfortable chairs, the room can be divided into two smaller spaces.
There’s a quiet room and two small group-study rooms. In the central part of the branch are rows of computers, offering more public access to technology than before. At the back is a laptop bar, like similar perches at Starbucks.
Throughout the library, all-new bookshelves are lower to enhance the feeling of space.
High above, in what artist Christine Clark describes as “the clerestory bays that run the spine of the library,” is artwork in three parts titled “Growth, Search, Escape.” A faculty member at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Clark created the pieces to represent life stages.
In “Growth,” hand-woven branches symbolize childhood, and a glowing green house is a sign of protection. “Search” hangs above the library’s computers, while “Escape” is the third part — near the adult reading stacks — and includes overhead stepping stones that lead to a blue-lighted doorway.
The remodel and expansion, designed by Everett-based Dykeman Architects, was built by Faber Construction. According to Cooley, the Evergreen Branch that opened in 1989 was 8,500 square feet. The renovation added another 5,600 square feet plus 32 more parking spaces. The original branch, opened in 1985, was a portable structure.
In her talk Friday, Cooley reminded visitors that the Everett Woman’s Book Club founded a free public library here 125 years ago. She thanked Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin and the City Council for supporting the library.
Last month, the library announced that its board had voted in favor of the same service hours at its Main Library and the Evergreen Branch. And both sites are now open until 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Alan Jacobson, branch manager, spent a year during the renovation working at the downtown library. In its own way, he said Monday, the Evergreen Branch is now as distinct as the Main Library, which was designed in 1933 by noted Northwest architect Carl Gould.
The exterior of the branch still has its relief sculpture crafted by the late Richard Beyer, best known for “Waiting For the Interurban” in Seattle’s Fremont area. His library sculpture, honoring the Woman’s Book Club effort to bring books to town, harks back to the early days of Everett.
That rocket ship, though, aims for the future.
“It catches the eye,” Cooley said, as a sign of “exploring, growth and curiosity.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The downtown Everett Public Library at 2702 Hoyt Ave. and the Evergreen Branch, 9512 Evergreen Way, now have the same hours:
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Monday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.