Lola Ernsting, 6, second from left, and Sofia Banan, 6, far right, play with other kids in a structure meant for reading during the grand reopening of the Edmonds Library in Edmonds, Washington on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Lola Ernsting, 6, second from left, and Sofia Banan, 6, far right, play with other kids in a structure meant for reading during the grand reopening of the Edmonds Library in Edmonds, Washington on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

‘We come together’: After burst pipe, revamped Edmonds library reopens

When the library at 650 Main St. flooded in 2022, it gave officials a “completely blank slate” to improve the branch.

EDMONDS — More than 18 months after a burst pipe caused a disastrous flood, the Edmonds Library is finally back open.

On Saturday, hundreds celebrated the milestone in the library at 650 Main St.. Kids played, colored and participated in a scavenger hunt. Edmonds Mayor Mike Rosen, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen and state Rep. Strom Peterson were among the speakers.

“I’ve always said that when there’s a problem in Edmonds, we come together,” Rosen said. “And that’s exactly what happened here. What most people would see as a disaster, in Edmonds we saw it as an opportunity.”

The remodel cost Sno-Isle Libraries $2.5 million.

In June 2022, 60,000 gallons of water poured into the 17,000-square-foot library from a faulty pipe.

Staff managed to save almost all of the more than 50,000 books and other media. The crisis forced the library to close. It reopened not long after as a scaled-down operation in an upstairs room in the same building.

Patrons who frequented the Edmonds branch before the emergency will find the space looks a bit different.

After the flood gutted the library, everything had to come out.

“It’s very rare you get a completely blank slate like that,” said Sno-Isle Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson.

So staff talked to locals about their priorities and looked to other libraries for inspiration.

One upshot of the community talks: lower shelves. The library building, not far from the Edmonds Ferry Dock, looks out over the water and Olympic Mountains. But tall stacks in the old space blocked the view. Now, visitors can easily look out through the library’s large windows as they browse.

Among the other renovations are higher ceilings, a new meeting room and large play structures for kids. There’s a teen area with many places to study, a business center where people can print and photocopy and a private room for remote meetings.

Like all Sno-Isle libraries, the Edmonds branch will benefit from a $1.5 million grant the system received from the county in September. The American Rescue Plan Act money will go toward expanding the number of devices available for checkout and growing a tech support program.

District-wide, Sno-Isle plans to have close to 1,000 laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to loan out, Langer Thompson said.

It’s just one of several projects the district has in the works, including a new Lake Stevens Library and a “community campus” south of Everett.

The Edmonds library is “really the heartbeat of this community,” Langer Thompson said.

“After something catastrophic happens and you get to reopen, there’s a bit of a sense of relief and a future focus instead of fixing something,” she said. “You can really start to think about where you’re going as a community.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the amount Sno-Isle Libraries spent on the renovation. The remodel cost $2.5 million.

Sophia Gates: 425-339-3035;; Twitter: @SophiaSGates.

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