Reimagining Main Library

Reimagining Main Library

Follow our blog on Main Library progress


Main Library's second floor to host community organizations

One of the many upgrades and amenities Tacoma Public Library’s Main location will offer when it reopens is access to community organization…

Reimagining Main Library in 3D

Learn about what's happening at Main and preview some of the tech that will be available in the new makerspace.

Main Library’s reopening delayed until late summer 2024

Main’s construction timeline is being impacted by a supply chain issue and reopening is now slated for late summer 2024.

Main Library Construction FAQs

    • The Main Library in downtown Tacoma is being upgraded to improve safety, accessibility, and efficiency, creating an overall better visitor experience.
    • Upgrades will be made primarily to the modern addition (that is, the building attached to the Carnegie building, last remodeled in 1990); the Olympic and other meeting rooms, as well as the Handforth Gallery in the original 1903 Carnegie Library will also be refreshed.
  • The Main Library will be closed for construction starting September 1, 2023, and fully reopen in late summer 2024.

    • The “modern addition” has not been improved in more than 30 years and is not equipped for today’s needs.
    • The goal of this project is to make the library a more efficient, safe, and welcoming environment. With 95,000 square feet, there is so much potential for this facility to serve the community in myriad ways. One example is transforming the second floor of the library into operational and programming space for nonprofit partners such as the Tacoma Tool Library.
    • In 2020, the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Library were hit with a budget shortfall due to the pandemic.
    • Usage at the Main library had been in decline over that past two decades. Most people report that lack of parking, unwelcoming/uninspiring spaces, and safety concerns caused them to discontinue visiting Main.
    • While libraries were closed and our library director navigated budget challenges, the constraints of operations spurred creative and imaginative problem solving in how to better utilize the space, resources, and number of staff of Main Library to benefit the entire library system. 
  • A combination of City of Tacoma, state, and federal sources are funding this project.

  • Main will close for construction on Friday, Sept. 1. Thursday, Aug. 31 is the last day that Main will be open for service. We look forward to fully reopening in late summer 2024.

  • The Mottet Library in the McKinley neighborhood and the Wheelock Library in the Proctor neighborhood are less than three miles from downtown Tacoma. View a map of all libraries to plan your visit.

  • Please note: Changing your preferred pickup location will set the location for future holds. It will not change the hold location for holds already in process (in the status of “Not ready.”)

    Go to “Log In/ My TPL” to log into your account. Using the dropdown arrow next to your username, choose My Settings. Under Account Preferences, look for the heading “Holds and Pickup Location”, click Change. Select another branch from the menu and be sure to click Save Changes.

    • 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
    • Tacoma Tool Library is currently occupying and operating out of space on the second floor
    • Write253 will move in after construction is complete
    • More nonprofit partners will be announced as they sign on
    • TPL is following an incubator model wherein partners pay a monthly fee that is considerably less than market rate
    • In return, partners provide workshops and programs inside the library that enliven and inspire the community while bringing new vibrancy to the space
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