The Library Over the River...

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The Library Over the River...

The Renton Public Library was dedicated in 1966 and opened its doors in 1968 to replace the former out grown Carnegie Library, Renton's first official Public Library built in 1914.

(See below: The Library that Neva Got Built.)

I'm intentially avoiding politics today yet suffice it to say the local politics, the State, and the fine citizenry of Renton, Washington have been of differing opinions and quite divided about a proposed location for yet another new library more centrally located in very downtown near the Piazza and the Metro Transit Depot.

The current Renton Public Library (The Library Over the River) exists on the SE corner of Liberty Park, Renton's oldest Park, at the very eastern edge of old downtown. It's a typical 60's building right out of the Century 21 sensibility, with simple clean lines and not overly state like many of the government buildings of the time. It doesn't look like it could 2nd as a bomb shelter or an amunition depot.

Renton Public Library, front entrance.

Personally, I love this place. I like it just as it is and quite frankly I think anyone who'd want to move it is an idiot. (And I wasn't going to get political!) Many towns strive for decades to have such a wonderful setting for a library and for other's it's simply too late, downtown is already developed and there is no special place like this left in town where you can enjoy an open public space dedicated to learning, culture, knowledge, and is a resource to be enjoyed by the whole family with extras like the park, the river and its trail.

The Library over the River is one of a very few in the United States with such a unique setting. Arguments are being made it should be scaled down for these times. I'm the first one to agree downtown needs a lot of help but not at the expense of an area of the city that's already working so well. It's not an either or proposition...

Renton Public Library over the Cedar River, Renton WA 98057.

The point was made that it should be next to a major public transit center. The Metro Bus Depot is only 2 1/2 blocks away, and there is a bus stop at the entrance. I used to work downtown Seattle and walked from my office 3 1/2 (bigger) blocks to the Seattle Public Library, up hill (both ways :O) at least once a week, if not 2, and the setting was no way near as beautiful.

Renton Public Library stands over the Cedar River.

I spent thousands of hours here over the years for many different reasons and I brought my kids here too in hopes they'd learn to appreciate what it had to offer. Through good times and lean times, regardless, we enjoyed this wonderful library and its location with the river and the park.

From the Library you can walk the Cedar River Trail Park north (about a mile) all the way to Lake Washington. You can also head south from here and walk a few miles along the river towards Maple Valley.

I for one am happy that (even though we lost our very own city library and it's now part of the King County Library System), the citizens of Renton voted in early August (3 to 1) to keep it right where it is.

Click the left picture below to see "The Library that Neva Built", Renton's first public library, and the 2nd pic for a post about the sculpture "Homework Comes First" that is on the library campus, and the 3rd Pic for more information about the Cedar River Trail Park.

Homework Comes First, a bronze sculpture by Martha Pettigrew is located at the Renton Public Library The Cedar River Trail Park from just north across Bronson Way from the Renton Public Library.

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René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on Linkedin.com The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Facebook.com/renefabre Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.
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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Endre Barath, Jr. 08/30/2012 04:31 PM
  2. Barbie Van Horn 09/02/2012 08:22 AM
Topic:
Real Estate General Information
Location:
Washington King County Renton Downtown
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Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Love it...what a wonderful place it looks like. Reminds me of the Wyatt Museum in PA which is also set on/by a river. Very peaceful.

Sep 01, 2012 01:03 AM #38
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Rene Fabre
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Kristin: I share many of the same fears about libraries going away. Yet I think they're more important now than ever. In a way, we got trained out of them through technology. I hope it's not Google saying Shhh to the kids.

Lauren: Thanks for stopping by. Please ask your friend about the library! Thanks to Endre also, I'm a big fan of his.

Evelyn: I wish they hadn't torn down our Carnegie Library. It was such a classic building, yet I understand. I don't think they could have in today's world though, with registered historic buildings etc.

Adrian: Win or lose, they'll keep the building. It's been proposed for other uses. I just like the idea of it remaining a library because I witness a lot of parents coming here with their younger kids. I observe their behavior and listen to their comments. There is always laughter and excitement going in and "ahhh isn't that a beautiful scene" looking at the river... And if they're staying to play in the park for a bit, the kids are off and running!

Sep 01, 2012 01:57 AM #39
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Kim Mulligan
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Hi Rene,

I didn't even realize that Renton was on the map in such a way at the turn of the century to even reiceive a Carnegie library. The way these came about would make a great blog post as well!

Thank you for highlighting Renton's library and reminding us in the midst of "modernizing" areas, some things are best kept "as-is".

Sep 01, 2012 02:08 AM #40
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Rafi: Yes indeed! Thanks for stopping by.

Joetta: You're hitting the main point and thanks... libraries do for some reason stir up a lot of controversy, but the discussion is important.

Sharon: It is, I think, the most serence location in old downtown.

Karen: Serenity and peaceful are two things we have very little of these days. Keep it if you got it!

Sep 01, 2012 02:17 AM #41
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Thanks Kim... Neva Bostwick Douglas was a very energetic enterprizing young woman when she moved to Renton in 1906. She got a group of citizens interested and did the research and wrote the Carnegie Foundation for the Carnigie Library that opened here in 1914. If you click the 2nd thumbnail at the bottom of the post, I did a piece on her and the our 1st library. It was great to see you at the AR Meetup this week at the 14 Carrot Cafe. Agreed, life's progress shouldn't be based only on the new and getting rid of the past!

Sep 01, 2012 02:23 AM #42
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Bob Crane
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Thanks Rene', Libraries are special places that our family seldom miss in our travels, so many treasures to discover in every one.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful library!

Sep 01, 2012 03:05 AM #43
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Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
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I think that I have to thank Endre for this reblog.  I am sure that you swayed some people with this excellent piece.  It is a great setting and your words  "there is no special place like this left in town where you can enjoy an open public space dedicated to learning, culture, knowledge, and is a resource to be enjoyed by the whole family with extras like the park, the river and its trail."  ring true to what I consider to be the place that a library, especially, should evoke in the feelings of the public.

Sep 01, 2012 06:46 AM #44
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Bob: You are welcome and thanks for stopping by. If I did anything good for my kids, I did instill the wonder of books and knowledge!

Ron: If you got it right the first time, why change it! Thanks for dropping by and your kind comments and thanks to Endre too! I'm a big fan...

Sep 01, 2012 09:17 AM #45
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Joe LaVallie
HomeStreet Bank - Mountlake Terrace, WA
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Wow, I live in Lynnwood and never new about this.  Thanks.

Sep 01, 2012 01:27 PM #46
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
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I loved the old libraries with the wide stone (or cement) staircases leading to the heavy wooden front door. And then - the hush and the smell of polished wood and books when you walked inside.

Now most that I knew have been turned into office buildings - a shame and a loss.

Modern libraries are nice, but they lack that charm.

 

Sep 02, 2012 08:20 AM #47
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Barbie Van Horn
First American Title Company - Seattle, WA
Barbie Van Horn

It is wonderful to find a place so unique.  When we incorporate nature into the city and man made structures it speaks to our soul.  We all have a basic need for a bit of nature, how loveley to find it in a library.

Sep 02, 2012 08:21 AM #48
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Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty

Rene - Great photos of a wonderful library.  It would be a shame for it to be moved.  Someone must be jealous of the great location. 

Sep 02, 2012 03:10 PM #49
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Rene Fabre
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Joe: You are welcome... I get up to Lynnwood about once a month. I hope our paths cross.

Marte: Modern libraries do lack the charm I too remember very well. The smell of varnish and books... Hmmmm, oh yah!

Barbie: Thanks. Well said. And from just outside the front door on the walkway, you can see the fish in the river!

Karen: That very well might be, jealousy can spur bad decisions... Thanks.

Sep 03, 2012 01:14 AM #50
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Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
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I spent MANY hours in not only the city library, but my junior high, senior high, and college libraries. It would have been even better in that building!

Sep 03, 2012 05:35 AM #51
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Hi Travis: Thanks and me too! I've always loved libraries. After I got out of high school I was a big fan of Paul Creston, composer. One of the famous stories about him was he was self taught and his education was essentially reading every book in the New York Library... I set out to follow that path. Though, Renton or Seattle libraries are now where near the size of New York, I was a voracious reader.

Sep 03, 2012 05:59 AM #52
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Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
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That is a wonderful looking library.  I agree with you it should be left alone.  It looks like such a peaceful place.  My opinion is follow the money.  Some one has a vested financial interest in the proposed new library.  The either want the old site for something or a making money off the move.

Sep 04, 2012 03:57 AM #53
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Rene Fabre
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Hi Gene... thanks! That's what I'm thinking, someone has a vested interest.

Sep 04, 2012 05:28 AM #54
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Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

Too bad politics has to be involved in everything.

Sep 07, 2012 12:24 AM #55
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Rene Fabre
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Nan: Ain't it the truth.

 

Sep 07, 2012 03:27 AM #56
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Rene Fabre
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Update: Via a tweet from @CityofRenton... The Library stays over the river! Yay!

May 02, 2013 04:25 AM #57
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