Everett Public Library

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Everett Public Library
Everett Public Library logo.png
Everett Library 01.jpg
Main Branch in Downtown Everett
Type Public library
Established June 10, 1894
Location Everett, Washington, US
Coordinates 47°58′55″N 122°12′39″W / 47.98194°N 122.21083°W / 47.98194; -122.21083Coordinates: 47°58′55″N 122°12′39″W / 47.98194°N 122.21083°W / 47.98194; -122.21083
Branches 2
Size 254,569 items
Access and use
Circulation 1.3 million
Population served 108,300
Members 41,629
Other information
Director Abigail Cooley
Website epls.org
References: Washington Public Library Statistical Report, 2016[1]

The Everett Public Library (EPL) serves the residents of Everett, Washington. EPL operates a main library at 2702 Hoyt Avenue and the Evergreen branch, at 9512 Evergreen Way. The main library overlooks Puget Sound and the southern end of Whidbey Island. The library has noteworthy artworks, including works by Dudley Pratt, Ransom Patrick, Guy Anderson, Jack Gunter, and Sonja Blomdahl. The library circulates over 900,000 items per year, provides exceptional book and media collections, reference services, on-line resources, in-home library services, and programs for adults, children and families. The library’s staff includes specialists in adult reference, children’s books, local history and career information. The Everett Public Library introduced a bookmobile service in May 1924; the first of its kind in Washington state, and the second in the West.[2] It is also one of the few public library systems in the United States that has two full-time historians on staff, David Dilgard and Melinda Van Wingen.[3][4] Historian Margaret Riddle retired after 31 years.[5] They have produced one of the most robust digital local history collections ever produced by a public library.


Everett Public Library's vault-ceilinged main reading room. Behind the trees, a truncated second floor overlooks the space. Photo by Cameron Johnson.

The town of Everett had incorporated, then shortly afterward its growth was halted by the Panic of 1893. The Everett Public Library was created on June 10, 1894 by the Everett Women's Book Club. On that day a group of local women met in the home of Mary Lincoln Brown to form the Book Club that would have as its aim the "improvement of the mind through the study of literature", but more specifically, the establishment of a public library.[6][7][8][9]

The initial collection of 1,000 books was donated by members of women's clubs across the country. Gathering books and petitioning City Council when funds were scarce, the Everett Women’s Book Club set up a temporary library in the home of a member, and in 1898 the city offered them three rooms in City Hall, and service began. The Club continued to work for permanent quarters, next moving to a small building, and in 1905 the Everett Public Library became a Carnegie library after it received a $25,000 Carnegie grant to design an official library for the city of Everett.[8][10]

Everett started the first bookmobile service in Washington state, and the second in the West in 1924. Nicknamed Pegasus, the Model T Ford remained in service until 1950.[11] In 1992 the library re-acquired the vehicle, and began restoring it to as close to its original condition as possible.[12] Now Pegasus participates in 4 July parades and other community events, and lays claim to being the world's oldest extant bookmobile.[2][8]

By 1930 Everett had outgrown the Carnegie building, but with the Great Depression there was little hope of a new building. Industrialist Leonard Howarth left a bequest to the city which was used to erect a new $100,000 library at 2702 Hoyt Avenue.[8] Seattle architect Carl F. Gould designed the facility, which opened October 3, 1934.[8][13]

In 1962, the library expanded, doubling its shelving capacity. In 1981 an anonymous donor gave the library $75,000 to computerize its circulation, cataloging, and inventory systems. In 1985, the Evergreen Branch is opened, and in 1987 funding was approved to add an additional 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) to the Main Library.[8]

In 1991 expansion of the Main Library was completed. This expansion was designed by the Cardwell/Thomas Architects and B. Craig Thompson of Dykeman Architects. The expansion won an award from the American Institute of Architects.[14] Except for some exterior renovation, the building remains largely unchanged, at 54,985 sq ft (5,108.3 m2), shelving capacity for 250,000 volumes and a parking garage that can hold 115 vehicles.

The original building, located at 3001 Oakes, still stands but no longer houses the library. Over the years, it has been used as a funeral parlor, housed Snohomish County executive offices, and other County functions. The 1905 building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[15]


Digital collections[edit]

Digital collections include:[16]


  • Alice McFarland (later Alice Duryee), 1898–1900
  • Gretchen Hathaway, 1900–1907
  • Jessie B. Judd, Interim Librarian, 1907
  • Adelaide E. Wharton, 1907–1914
  • Mary Frank, 1914–1916 (reportedly the first trained librarian to hold the position)
  • Elizabeth Topping, 1916–1919
  • Mabel Ashley, 1919–1946
  • Fred M. Stephen, 1946–1949
  • Phil Blodgett, 1949–1973
  • Gary Strong, 1973–1976
  • Victoire Grassl, Interim director, 1976–1977
  • Mark Nesse, 1977–2007[14]
  • Eileen Simmons, (a Library Journal 2007 Mover & Shaker[18]) 2007–2017
  • Abigail Cooley, 2017–present[19]


  1. ^ "2016 Washington Public Library Statistical Report" (PDF). Washington State Library. October 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Langston, Jennifer (July 14, 2004). "Everett rescues old bookmobile from scrap heap and restores it". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Restoring "Pegasus" has been a labor of love -- for a history-minded librarian, a car-crazy architect, a city mechanic and all the others who've worked to restore the state's first bookmobile. 
  3. ^ Rosehill: Historic or just history?
  4. ^ "Treaty's key points of contention". Retrieved 2007-08-26. The Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room holds information about the region’s history. Historians David Dilgard and Margaret Riddle are on staff. 2702 Hoyt Ave. in Everett. 425-257-8005. 
  5. ^ http://www.everettwa.org/CityNews.aspx?ID=3&nID=622
  6. ^ The History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, Washington. Interstate Publishing Company. 1906. 
  7. ^ "Mary Lincoln Brown, President, 1903-1905". Washington State Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-08-26. Mrs. Brown had been in Everett but two years when she became instrumental in organizing the Woman's Book Club, of which she was its third President. An early objective of this club was to establish a city library. Mrs. Brown, always a friend of library work, was placed on this committee. She also was a member of the State Library Board. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Highlights in the history of the Everett Public Library". Seattle Times. February 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 1894: Woman's Book Club of Everett formed and began to collect books for the first free public library. Books were available on an informal basis in a member's parlor. 1898: First public library opened at the old Everett City Hall on Broadway. 1905: The Carnegie Building opened at 3001 Oakes Ave., a permanent location for the library funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who provided $25,000 a year. The city then provided $2,500 a year to operate it. 1924: The bookmobile Pegasus, a Model T Ford, was purchased, the second bookmobile on the West Coast. 1934: The present building at 2702 Hoyt Ave., designed by Carl Gould, was made possible with a $75,000 bequest from Leonard Howarth, matched with government funding to total $100,000. 
  9. ^ "Everett's Library Beginnings: The Everett Woman's Book Club". Everett Public Library. Retrieved 2007-08-26. On June 10, 1894, a group of local women met in the home of Mary Lincoln Brown to form a Women’s Book Club that would have as its broad aim the improvement of the mind through the study of literature, but more specifically, the establishment of a public library. 
  10. ^ "Everett Woman's Book Club petitions City of Everett for a free public library on November 12, 1894". HistoryLink. Retrieved 2007-08-26. In 1901, the library was moved to a one-story building on Rockefeller Street provided by the city. Two years later, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) offered $25,000 to construct a library in Everett. In order to accept the offer of the library, the City would have to pledge $2,500 annually to support and operate it. The Everett Herald urged that the name Everett Public Library be retained instead of calling it the Carnegie Library. This was done and the new library was called the Everett Public Library. 
  11. ^ "Everett Public Library commissions the first bookmobile in Washington in 1924". History Link. Retrieved 2007-08-26. In 1924, the Everett Public Library commissions the first bookmobile in Washington, only the second on the West Coast. A 1924 Ford Model T truck chassis is fitted with a fruit vendor-style van body and shelving with a capacity of 1,000 books. The bookmobile is nicknamed Pegasus and visits neighborhoods and schools to bring the books to readers. 
  12. ^ Pegasus
  13. ^ "Carl F. Gould, Architect". University of Washington. Retrieved 2007-08-26. In the decade after they teamed up, Gould and Bebb designed over two hundred projects, including commercial buildings, homes, schools, churches, hospitals and monuments. As Bebb's involvement diminished in the late 1920s, Gould continued his design work. Among the projects he completed were five local telephone company offices (Longview, Yakima, Bremerton, Centralia, and Tacoma), the Longview Post Office, and the Everett Public Library. 
  14. ^ a b Diane Wright (February 28, 2007). "Checkout time comes for library trailblazer". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-09-10. The things Mark Nesse has seen in his 30 years as the head of the Everett Public Library. Everything from card catalogs to computers. But there has been one constant for him, regardless of how technology has changed the business of the library. And that's the heart of the library. 
  15. ^ "Everett Carnegie Library". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 2007-08-26. Added 1975 - Building - #75001868 
  16. ^ Digital Collections
  17. ^ OCLC (2003-03-03). "Bringing Local History to the Internet" (PDF). CONTENTdm. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  18. ^ "Lolla palooza". Library Journal (Movers & Shakers). March 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  19. ^ Muhlstein, Julie (October 29, 2017). "Everett Public Library director ready to read in retirement". The Everett Herald. Retrieved December 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]