Main Library will close from September 2023 to spring 2024 for facility upgrades

Tacomans can look forward to array of improvements and new amenities

TACOMA, WASH.— Tacoma Public Library (TPL)’s Main Library, located at 1102 Tacoma Ave. S, will temporarily close to the public starting on Friday, Sept. 1. The 95,000-square foot building in downtown Tacoma will update its interior and exterior to improve safety, accessibility, and efficiency and make space for new nonprofit tenants. TPL slates the reopening for spring 2024.

TPL selected architecture, design, and preservation firm BuildingWork for the job. BuildingWork also managed projects for the Seattle Public Library, LaConner Swinomish Library, Boulevard Park Library, and other public libraries and community facilities.

The Main Library is a combination of two buildings: the original Carnegie Library, built in 1903, that houses the Northwest Room historic archives, and an addition built in 1953 (last remodeled in 1990). Upgrades will be made primarily to the modern addition. However, the Olympic and other meeting rooms, as well as the Handforth Gallery located on the bottom floor of the original 1903 Carnegie Library, will also be refreshed.

The first and second floor of the modern addition will receive necessary repairs, additional, fully accessible restrooms, and reopen with a new layout that has space for community partner tenants whose missions align with Tacoma Public Library’s. For example, the Tacoma Tool Library has been operating from the Main Library (via curbside services) since January 2021. Write253 will also have a space on the second floor when the building reopens.

“The updates made during the Main Library’s refresh are important in creating the downtown community hub filled with resources, services, collections, and innovative programs previously unavailable or impossible at Main,” stated Library Director Kate Larsen. “We look forward to inviting Tacomans to experience a bright, modern, and welcoming library with improved safety and accessibility, plus added amenities such as a makerspace and expanded digital media lab, when we fully reopen in spring 2024.”

In preparation for this project, the Main Library has been offering limited lobby service since spring of 2021. When the library fully reopens in the spring, it will welcome visitors with these improvements:

  • Improved safety and accessibility
  • A refreshed circulating collection
  • New paint, carpet, shelves, lighting, and furniture
  • A Makerspace with an updated Digital Media Lab space, Memory Lab, and 3D printers
  • Dedicated teen and children’s areas
  • A living room-style lobby for reading and coworking
  • Local nonprofit tenants offering programming on the second floor
  • Expanded public meeting rooms
  • Updates to the Handforth Gallery
  • Study rooms for small groups and collaborative learning

Main’s collection will be inaccessible during the closure. Main patrons are asked to use one of TPL’s seven other libraries for holds pickup, technology access, and other library services.

The Northwest Room will be open by appointment for as long as is feasible. The Digital Media Lab service area will be under construction and therefore unable to offer access for visitors during the closure.

For more information on Main Library, visit Main Construction | Tacoma Public Library (


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Media Contact: Mariesa Bus, Public Information Officer | | 253.280.2882