Tag Archives: branch

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is Closing



For Martin Luther King Day, I went to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at 1902 South Cedar Street, Tacoma, WA 98405 . As of January 31, 2011, this branch of the Tacoma Public Library System will close, leaving eight locations. The Swan Creek Branch is also closing and the main branch will also have its hours reduced from 66 to 54.

There are news reports of the closures here http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/16/1467131/2-small-tacoma-libraries-to-close.html?storylink=rss


The library’s previous sign has been replaced with the sign in the photograph. There is also a notice on the door that states “Tacoma Public Library Service Alert. As a result of a $1.8 million dollar shortfall in the Library’s 2011 – 2012 budget, the Tacoma Public Library will close two branch libraries and reduce hours at the downtown Main Library effective Monday, January 31, 2011.” Per the news report, the MLK Branch has some of the lowest circulation figures and has considerable deferred maintenance. While I an see the logic of the closure, it is a certain loss to the families in the area.

The closing of this branches no doubt would have saddened Dr. King, who is know to have said “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Sounds like the function of a public library to me.

For information on the Swan Creek Library closure, go to http://blog.firsttries.com/?p=2099


Swan Creek Library will be closing

As of January 31, 2011, Tacoma Public Library System will have eight locations instead of its current ten. Both Swan Creek Branch and M.L. King, Jr. Branch will be closed. The main branch will also have its hours reduced from 66 to 54.


Swam Creek is the smallest of the libraries and shares its space with Tacoma Community House, which runs a literacy center for the local population. Per the library’s website, Tacoma Community Center has significant experience working closely with persons with little or no English language and comprehension skills, or without significant education experiences. Classes include English as a Second Language and computer skills. The library has an expanded foreign language materials selection and bilingual assistance is available in Russian and Cambodian, as well as Spanish and Vietnamese upon request. The door count (patrons entering the building) was over 4,000 in November, the last full month available. Many of the patrons walk to the branch and will soon need to take one or more buses to reach the next closest branch. It is true that Swan Creek had the lowest circulation statistics, which makes sense since they also had the smallest collection size.


Library materials and equipment from this branch will be redistributed to other branches, but the fate of the building and the Tacoma Community Center lease remains unknown. Although the building was built in 1989, there is deferred maintenance.

The closing of these two branches made me think of this Asimov quote. “When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.”

More info about the Martin Luther King Library closure can be found here