By MICHAEL TAYLORMAN, AP ReporterAssociated PressSeattle is one of the nation’s most populous cities and has a robust downtown, but the city’s public library system, known as the Seattle Public Library System, is struggling to keep up with the demands of a rapidly expanding library system.
Public library users are also the largest group in the city, with more than 7.5 million people using public libraries annually, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Seattle Public library system says it needs more than 5.5 billion dollars for its operations in fiscal year 2018.
The library system has been trying to expand since 2011, but it has faced challenges.
In 2014, the city of Seattle was awarded a $4.6 million contract to expand the library’s physical location.
That year, the library also hired an outside consultant to make plans for expansion.
Now, in the face of a $17.5-billion federal spending plan to spend $3.5 trillion over the next decade on infrastructure, Seattle has spent nearly $1 billion on a new library, building the new building.
The library is also considering adding new spaces and hiring additional staff to improve the library system and its customer experience, said Linda Schaffner, the system’s executive director.
The new building is part of a plan to expand its physical footprint to make it more efficient, with the goal of being able to serve as a regional center of knowledge for the nation, Schaffer said.
The new building will be a 10,000-square-foot facility that has the capacity to accommodate 4,000 patrons.
The space also will allow for an additional 500,000 square feet of new space.
The building also will include new floor space, a new dining room, and additional reading spaces, Schaffer said.
It’s also important to ensure that library patrons will have access to an adequate number of books and to a library that offers an extensive collection of digital resources, said David Tait, the general manager of the University of Washington Libraries, which owns the building.
Tait said the library is looking to hire more staff to help the library grow and improve its service.
The UW Libraries is the only university library in the nation that serves the entire state of Washington, Tait said.
Seattle Public’s library is the third largest in the country, after Chicago Public and New York Public Library.
The system’s board of trustees voted unanimously last month to recommend to the city council that the library acquire a 10-year lease on the building, with a two-year option.
Schaffler said the lease will be effective July 1, 2018, and the library plans to lease the space until 2020.
In addition to the physical changes, the new library will also have a digital library, which will allow customers to access the digital collections at home or at the library.
The digital library is being built in partnership with the University at Buffalo.
Seattle Public Library has already started work on the new digital library and plans to open the new space by the end of this year, Schaffe said.
Trenton Johnson, the president of the library, said the building is designed to support the needs of the city.
The building will have four floors, with an elevator for patrons to enter the library or access the library from the ground floor, Johnson said.
The existing library is undergoing a major renovation, with new spaces for employees, a cafeteria and more.
The main library will be demolished and replaced with the new structure, Johnson added.