New Sedro-Woolley Library 02

The new Sedro-Woolley Library lines State Street.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — The Sedro-Woolley Library has received a lot of attention both inside and out.

SHKS Architects — responsible for the structure’s design — recently received a citation for their efforts from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington Council honoring projects that exemplify design in the civic realm.

“The awards program is highly competitive since the design community in the Pacific Northwest and Washington state, in particular, is so strong,” said SHKS Architect Managing Principle David Strauss in an email sent to the Library Partners and Design Committee.

“... We’ve been honored to be a part of this whole process and glad the project received this recognition testifying to patience, perseverance, and collaboration.”

Mayor Julia Johnson was a member of that design committee.

“We’re honored and excited to have received the news of this prestigious award,” she said.

Based in Seattle, SHKS Architects is highly acclaimed and regarded for its work both in the public and private sectors.

Their design team included Kevin Kane, design principle; Strauss; Pia Westen, project architect, and Carolyn LeCompte, project designer.

A lengthy list of consultants were also involved in the project.

“Receiving this citation is definitely a big deal for us,” Westen said. “There are a lot of great projects throughout the state that submit to this and for us, it’s a big honor for us to be recognized for our work on the library.”

The jurors responsible for critiquing the project were impressed with the project’s sustainability strategies, such as the library’s ability to manage 100% of its storm water onsite.

“Basically, no storm water is going into the storm water system,” Westen said. “For us, that was a really big achievement and one we were really excited about.”

The Sedro-Woolley Library design was no accident.

Westin said there was plenty of collaboration in the design process, including multiple public meetings where members of the community shared what they wanted to see in the library.

She added the city and Library Director Jeanne Williams had a great vision for the library and the desire and drive to have the community involved.

“We had multiple checkpoints throughout the entire project with the community to make sure that we were providing exactly what they wanted,” Westen said. “Knowing that Sedro-Woolley has this logging history, we wanted to highlight that. We wanted to make sure and highlight the roots of the town in the work that we were doing.”

Westen said what really stood out to her about the library was the community aspect and how that was incorporated that into the space, allowing for a community and cultural centerpiece where people can meet.

“Along with the spaces that support literacy, lifelong learning, social reading spaces, there are others that are not purely reading focused, but more community and outward facing,” she said. “It just highlights the new and changing services that libraries are now providing. It goes beyond just books and reading. They are places where the community can come together.”

And of course, there’s plenty of space for books.

“I love books and I am so glad with the amount of stacks we were able to get into the library,” Westen said. “This project was fun, unique, and not cookie-cutter.”

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181,, Twitter:@goskagit,

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