Olympia Timberland Library

Olympia Library History

In December of 1896, the Women’s Club of Olympia established a library service with “reading matter” donated by citizens. In March 1909, the city offered to take over the collection of some 900 volumes and maintain a public library.

The Olympia library was housed in a Carnegie building at 7th and Franklin until 1978 when a new library was built and opened at 8th and Franklin. Olympia joined the Timberland library district in 1968.

The library underwent extensive remodels in 2000 and 2008. In 2000, the building was re-carpeted and painted; a meeting room was converted to additional space for the children's area; and new public computers, computer stations, a teen area, and shelving for about 10,000 additional items were added.

In 2008, the circulation and information desks were replaced, the building was re-carpeted and painted in bright, warm colors, the lounge furniture was replaced, and the computer stations were refurbished. In November 2013 the City of Olympia installed 33 solar panels on the Olympia Library rooftop. See more information about the solar panels including real time usage data.

2019 Refresh

After closing for two months during the winter of 2019, Olympia Timberland Library re-opened to the public on Monday, February 3.

This renovation closure was the result of library space planning that had been in process for a few years. Timberland staff and management reviewed the physical layout of the city-owned building and identified changes that could be accomplished to better serve library patrons, while making sure all public space is ADA accessible.

Instead of a major renovation, the library was 'refreshed' with increased seating, new carpet, paint, computer stations, and shelving to create a nice open space. Service points were also improved with the installation of new information desks with multiple heights to help us serve the needs of all patrons.

Olympia staff working hard to re-open on time
Olympia Library during the renovation

Service Desks

Olympia staff visualizing the new Service Desks before installation
Previous service desk 1
Previous service desk 2
New ADA compliant service desks to accommodate all patrons

Book Shelves

While most of the collection can be found in their familiar locations, the new book shelves are more open and easier to navigate
Previous book shelves
Updated book shelves

Computer Stations

Previous computer station during the refresh
Disassembly of previous computer stations
Temporary computer storage during the refresh
New consolidated computer stations

Children's Area

The Children's Area was rearranged to create additional space
Updated spaces for children to learn and explore


Atrium painted from yellow to white
Atrium with the new paint job

Furniture & Carpet

Old worn carpeting was replaced where needed
Example of previous furniture, some of which was from the 1970s
New easier to clean furniture
The Olympia library refresh was made possible by the help of our partners The Friends of the Olympia Timberland Library and the City of Olympia.

Copyright © 2021 by Timberland Regional Library