There’s something for everyone at the Parkland branch of the Pierce County Library System. A community fixture since its creation in 1946, when it occupied the space that was once Parkland’s beloved Hobbytown, the library moved to its current location in 1990. The library is located at 13718 Pacific Avenue South, within walking distance of Parkland’s historic Garfield Street downtown center, along Pacific Avenue, the area’s busiest roadway. It boasts ample parking and lenient rules for library card creation. Home to much more than books and quiet space, its serene red-brick facade is a symbol of community to the citizens of unincorporated Parkland and its sister city, Spanaway.
Boasting 20 branch libraries and an estimated 1.5 million objects, many in multiple formats and languages, this location of the Pierce County Library system forms a solid backdrop to the hum of life in busy Parkland. Just down the street from such attractions as the Marvel Deli, the Parkland-Spanaway branch library hosts quiet study areas, conference rooms, interlibrary loans, e-books and audiobooks, and an admirable collection of reference materials, all for the fabulous price of “free.” Materials are frequently available in multiple languages, including Korean and Russian. The library’s welcoming, homelike interior invites patrons to spend time browsing the shelves. Local small business owners flock to the conference rooms and other facilities. There are a number of small business courses and seminars taught at the library. This business support is crucial to the revitalization of Parkland’s downtown district and its ongoing search for local employers.
Parkland is a community with challenges, one of the largest is that it has few sources of employment within its boundaries. “People don’t put down roots,” explains Barbara Menne, local librarian. “Parkland has no real center, so the library represents as a community center.” Children from the local Franklin Pierce school district gather here for Homework Help and after-school programs. There is a thriving anime club and social events that cater to students and homeschoolers alike. The very young benefit from a playgroup hosted by the Children’s Museum, as well as playaways, storytimes, and junior science kits. The library’s innovation doesn’t stop there, though: adults benefit from job-seeker programs, including an alliance with Work First, free Microsoft accreditation, and general tech help aimed at all ages. Tax Help is a successful program that the library has hosted for several years. There are also lessons in crafting, languages, and Wisdom classes, in which one can check out a community member for one-on-one training in a particular skill.
Many library resources can be accessed without even leaving home, but it’d be a mistake to miss this vibrant slice of Parkland life.
Menne, B. (2018). Personal interview.
Pierce County Library System. (2012). “About Us/Fast Facts.” Retrieved from: https://www.piercecountylibrary.org/files/library/fast-facts-2018.pdf