Sequim Library Capital Project

Sequim Library Expansion and Renovation

NOLS is working to renovate and expand the Sequim Branch Library! When complete, the project will help improve critical infrastructure by including ADA-accessible bathrooms and a fire-sprinkler system, increasing space for collections, expanding community access to broadband and computers, adding study and conference rooms for quiet and private spaces, and creating adequate staff space and room for educational, cultural and civic events.

Sequim Library Expansion and Renovation
Sequim Library Expansion and Renovation

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The community will be served by a modern library, designed and built to be sustainable, operationally efficient, and adaptable to meet community needs for decades to come.
  • Access will be improved through ADA-accessible restrooms and other features.
  • Children and families, teens and tweens, and adults, will have access to library facilities and spaces that support their age-specific needs and interests.
  • A bigger building will provide more space for chairs, tables, library materials, and technology, and allow for separation between active and quiet areas.
  • A large meeting room and a dedicated youth activity space will improve community access to meeting room facilities, and accommodate larger audiences at educational, civic, and cultural events.
  • Study and conference rooms will support the needs of students, tutors, small businesses and individuals needing privacy for activities such as telehealth appointments.
  • Natural lighting, art display areas, outdoor spaces, views, and solar optimization will enhance the connection between building, environment, and community.
  • The building will gain a fire-suppression system, allowing the Library to better protect its collections and investment in the facility.
  • The Library will continue to be located on the current NOLS-owned site, near schools and downtown Sequim.
  • A modern and attractive building will convey civic pride.

Below is an approximate timeline:

  • Summer 2021 – Request for Proposals (RFP) Issued for Architect
  • Fall 2021 – Architect Selected
  • Spring 2022 – Design Development Begins
  • Fall 2022 – Capital Campaign Begins
  • Winter 2022 – Construction Documents Created
  • Spring 2023 – Construction Bidding Begins
  • Spring 2023 – Sequim Library Relocates to Temporary Location
  • Summer 2023 – Construction Begins
  • Spring 2024 – Construction Complete
  • Summer 2024 – Move Into and Open Expanded Sequim Library

The project will add approximately 3,500 sq/ft to the existing 6,200 sq/ft building.

This expansion project will be significantly smaller than the 17,000 sq/ft new building design that was proposed as part of the failed 2018 bond measure.

The expanded and renovated building will not look like the 17,000 sq/ft completely new building design that was part of the proposed 2018 bond measure that failed.

As of September 2022, the design of the expanded and renovated Sequim Library is approximately 30% complete. Floor plans, site plans and other architectural drawings of the current design can be viewed here.

The design will continue to evolve until construction documents are complete in early 2023.

Currently, the building has 28 designated parking spaces. The renovated building will have 29 spaces, with better provision made for pedestrian access to the building. The 29 spaces include two ADA spaces and an electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

NOLS is currently in discussion with Thrive Church about the possibility of leasing parking spaces in their parking lot to the north of the Sequim Library. A long-term lease would add a significant amount of parking for Sequim Library patrons.

Due to limitations that come with the long and narrow site, the renovated building design does not include a drive-up book drop, at this time. The current design includes an area for patrons to pull up for quick returns to a book drop that goes directly into the building.

Along with the limitations of the site layout, outdoor book drops present other challenges, including keeping library materials dry, maintaining during closures, keeping staff safe when the drops are emptied, and preventing damage from vehicles.

The Friends of Sequim Library (FOSL) is a critically important partner to the Sequim Library and to NOLS. During the initial design process, Library staff met with the FOSL Board to discuss how best to incorporate FOSL space into an expanded Sequim Library.

NOLS and FOSL have agreed that the old Friends of the Library building located behind the Sequim Library is no longer a feasible space for book sales or other activity. NOLS owns the building and will have it and other out buildings removed during project construction. Inside the expanded Sequim Library, FOSL will be provided space and shelving to sell books and other materials near the library entrance.

FOSL will continue receiving donations and offering monthly book sales off-site at 10175 Old Olympic Hwy (in Rock Plaza).

Library services will be offered at a temporary location (to be determined) in Sequim during construction. The current library site will be inaccessible during construction, which is expected to last about one year. All other NOLS branches will continue to operate as usual, and Sequim area patrons will, as always, have the option of using other branches instead of, or in addition to, the temporary library location in Sequim.

Staff are considering several possible locations to offer temporary library service in Sequim, keeping several factors in mind, including accessibility, parking, cost and size of space. A location will be announced when more information is available.

As of September 2022, the estimated construction cost to renovate the entire building and add 3,500 sq/ft, expanding it to 9,700 sq/ft, is $6.1 million.
Public libraries are unique in many ways. The “live load” capacity of a public library is about 150 lbs. per square foot, more similar to warehouses than offices or schools. Furnishings and equipment must be able to withstand heavy public use for an extended time, and technology infrastructure is expensive.

Additionally, as a local government, and due to requirements in a Department of Commerce grant NOLS was awarded, Washington State law and other strict requirements must be carefully followed. For example, State Prevailing Wages must be paid and the structure built must be certified LEED Silver. The cost per square foot estimate for the proposed Sequim Library Expansion and Renovation Project is $501/sf. The cost of the proposed 2018 bond-funded 17,000sf project was $400/sf (at that time). For comparison, the current Seattle Public Library University Branch renovation is estimated to cost $667/sf, the Walla Walla Public Library renovation and addition is estimated to cost $570/sf, and the new Sedro Woolley Library (constructed in 2020) was $450/sf.

In June 2020, NOLS applied for the Library Capital Improvement Program Grant administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The application was made with the goal of correcting pressing facility issues at the Sequim Library. In October 2020, NOLS was notified that its application was selected as a recommended project, ranked 5th out of 33 applications, with recommendation for full funding of the project.

In May 2021, Governor Inslee signed HB1080 – the Washington State 2021-23 Capital Budget, which includes $2 million in matching funds for the Library Capital Improvement Program grant for the Sequim Branch Library. The Department of Commerce administers the Library Capital Improvement Program grant.

In order to meet the match requirement of the Library Capital Improvement Program grant, the NOLS Board of Trustees passed Resolution 21-05-03, authorizing the transfer of $2 million from the NOLS Capital Reserve account to the Sequim Capital Project account, in May 2021.

As of September 2022, NOLS has received nearly $1 million in donations towards the project and will seek additional grant opportunities and conduct community fundraising efforts to meet additional project funding needs.

The Sequim Library has been too small for community use for a long time and NOLS has been working on addressing the problem for over a decade. Construction costs are projected to keep rising and the Sequim Library has critical building issues that need to be addressed now. Addressing capital issues is expensive and there is usually not a perfect time – the cost of addressing the building issues at the Sequim Library will likely continue to increase. NOLS has secured nearly $5 million of projected project costs and is budgeting for cost increases between the design and construction phases due to inflation. Additionally, a $2 million grant NOLS received from the Department of Commerce must be utilized by 2025.
As a local government, and because of requirements in a $2 million Department of Commerce grant NOLS was awarded, State law and other strict requirements must be carefully followed. For example, State Prevailing Wages must be paid and the structure built must be certified LEED Silver.
In 2009 NOLS and the Friends of Sequim Library, together with funding from a designated bequest, undertook a moderate remodel to address some long deferred capital maintenance issues, and generally to make the very shabby facility more comfortable, attractive, and operationally functional, until a longer term solution could be found. Care was taken not to unnecessarily over-invest in infrastructure that might not be needed for the long term. The total cost of the 2009 remodel was approximately $500,000, with about $60,000 of that amount related to decommissioning the old septic system and getting the Library connected to City sewer lines – a capital investment that will carry forward to support a new facility.
The project will add approximately 3,500 sq/ft to the existing 6,000 sq/ft building. The expansion project will be significantly smaller than the 17,000 sq/ft new building design that was proposed as part of the failed 2018 bond measure.
Studies, well supported in Clallam County by local usage data, confirm that public libraries continue to be a strong and vital component of their communities. Libraries have adapted well to a changing society, and continue to meet community needs in new and innovative ways, including internet access, digital resources, and tech skills training. Books and reading also remain as popular as ever, and libraries are community hubs that nurture social connection, in an increasingly virtual world. Despite the changing face of library service roles, library buildings remain essential to the library’s ability to meet community needs and expectations, and will continue to do so in the future.
We’re glad the current Sequim Library is working for you, but it’s not working well for many others.

The current Sequim Library was built in 1983 to serve a population of approximately 14,000. Now serving a population of around 30,000, the Sequim Library is still only 6000 square feet small.

Since 2014, a larger, modern library for Sequim has been a top priority for NOLS. Significant time and funds have been expended toward project planning and community engagement. Sadly, in November 2018, a bond measure that would have supported construction of a new and larger Sequim Branch Library narrowly failed to meet the 60% majority required for passage.

The cramped and outdated Sequim Library remains a pressing concern for NOLS and the COVID-19 Pandemic only emphasized concerns about the space available for patrons and staff.

We’re sorry to hear that. You may contact Sequim Branch Manager Emily Sly or Executive Director Noah Glaude to share your thoughts. Contact information is available here.

After the bond measure failed in 2018 and NOLS dropped its plans for a new 17,000sf building, new plans had to be developed to address the ongoing issues at the Sequim Library. Without revenue from a bond, the current expansion and renovation project is significantly reduced in size and lacks many of the features that would have been included in a larger building. The reduced size has led to some tough decisions about what to include and what not to include in the design. Renovating the current building instead of building completely new has limited some options.

Even with those challenges, NOLS is working hard with SHKS Architects to develop a project that will help improve critical infrastructure including ADA-accessible bathrooms, expanded community access to broadband and computers, and create adequate office space and room for educational, cultural and civic events.

In many ways, the existing building is quite inefficient to run, because it is not designed for modern services, and the crowded conditions and lack of storage space prevent effective work flows. An absolute requirement of the Expansion and Renovation design was that it must support efficient and cost effective operations, and not include any design elements (such as a second floor or other separated library space) that would unnecessarily increase staffing requirements. The expanded building is functionally designed for effective workflow and energy efficiency. The single story design and clear sight lines make it easier for staff to monitor activities throughout the building from the customer service desk.