Seattle is one of the most literate and reader-rich cities in America, so it seems only fitting that we, like 19 other cities, have a membership library, open to all and convenient for all. Such libraries pool excellent books from previously private libraries, create ideal spaces for reading, working, and talking about books and ideas, and radiate outward into the community in many ways.

Independent, membership libraries like Folio were really the first broadly accessible libraries. They trace back to one started by Ben Franklin in Philadelphia in 1731 so that bookworms of modest means, like young Ben, could have access to important books. Today, they provide places "to be alone but not alone" -- sociable, booklined "jewels of a perfect size" where booklovers can work in quiet, talk about ideas, and hear stimulating programs open to the broad community. Rather than relying on taxpayer support, these libraries charge modest membership dues and receive tax-deductible donations of fine books.

Our location at the Pike Place Market provides all kinds of stimulation and amenities just outside the door. Come to work, borrow a book, read the New York Times, and then meet a friend for lunch or a drink and stay for a mind-enriching evening program. Get back to reading! Rediscover the Pike Place Market, America's finest!   


​I hope you'll want to join this "community of the book." Stop by any day for a tour, a cup of coffee, and a free book!


David C. Brewster

Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum

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