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Mariner Library opens to appreciative crowd and community

Originally published Feb. 11, 2017

Watch highlights of the Mariner Library grand opening celebration from Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Photo gallery

For some, it was the realization of a dream held for years.

For others, it will help dreams come true for years.

On Saturday morning, Feb. 11, 2017, the grand opening of the Mariner Library drew several hundred people, with Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory welcoming the crowd and introducing some of those who helped turn dreams into reality.

“Years ago, I got a phone call,” Woolf-Ivory told the gathering. “I picked it up and the phone said, ‘This is Peggy. I’ve got 1,800 signatures on petitions for a library in the Mariner area.' ”

That call, Woolf-Ivory said, was her introduction to Peggy Nystrom, the former Mariner High School librarian who was a driving force in bringing a public library to an area that is now home to roughly 30,000 residents. “This is a community, but there’s no center, no gathering place,” Nystrom said. “This library will be a place people can come to be together.”

But it took time. While the will and need were there, the timing was difficult and made worse by economic conditions of the past decade. For the past 10 years, the library district has provided Bookmobile service to the area with stops at the high school, Voyager Middle School and the Albertson’s parking lot on 128th Street.

The service was important, but Nystrom didn’t give up on her dream of a library and Woolf-Ivory said the library district didn’t forget.

This past summer, the library district Board of Trustees approved the 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan which identifies the Mariner Library as a priority. By November, the library district had leased space at 520 128th St SW, and it was Woolf-Ivory’s turn to get on the phone.

In her comments at the opening, Mukilteo School District Marci Larsen recounted the call. “When Jonalyn said they were moving ahead, now, I was just so happy,” Larsen said. “I’m so grateful for the commitment of Sno-Isle Libraries to this community and this library.”

Also coming to the podium was Javier Garcia, a veteran of those 10 years of Bookmobile service.

“I was in sixth grade at Voyager,” said Garcia, who now is recently engaged and starting his own business. “I didn’t go at first because I thought it cost money and I didn’t have any.”

Garcia said he initially thought the Bookmobile was a bookstore, not a public library on wheels. And, he thought only books were available. “I had no idea there were DVDs and CDs and things,” he said. In fact, the very first thing checked out at the new library was a laptop computer, which are available for use in the library and connect to the internet through free Wi-Fi service.

Others attending the event included State Rep. John Lovick and Snohomish County Council member Stephanie Wright.

“Every Saturday, I would take my children to the Lynnwood Library,” Lovick said. “Libraries are just so important to a community.”

Wright said she agreed: “This library will make such a difference to the Mariner area.”

The Snohomish Health District, Community Transit and Mukilteo School District participated in the grand opening with staff and information for attendees.

The Mariner Library is in the shopping area that includes Albertson’s. It is across Fourth Avenue W. from the Community Transit Mariner Park & Ride Transit Center. Regular library hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The library will be closed on Sundays. 

In addition to books, CDs, DVDs and other materials available in the new location, customers at the library will have access to everything in the Sno-Isle Libraries collection including eBooks, audiobooks, other electronic resources and research databases. Materials can be delivered to the Mariner Library or downloaded from the Sno-Isle website.

The library features a “laptop bar” at the front windows where customers can sit on stools and use the computers for a coffee-shop-like experience. The library has a dedicated children’s area, flexible study spaces and a public meeting room that can be scheduled for use.

Woolf-Ivory made a point of thanking all the library district staff members and partners who helped make the dream of a Mariner Library come true for the community: "This was truly a remarkable effort."

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