Community impact of new public library facilities

Community members weigh in on the impact of the new Kitsap Regional Library Silverdale Center building and resources.


Lucas Roger

An exterior shot of the new library building.

by Lucas Roger, Reporter

On April 2nd, 2022, the new Kitsap Regional Library located in the brand new Central Kitsap Schools Silverdale Center opened to the public. Now nearly two months later, the community has had time to explore and consider the resources and facilities offered by the new library. Many community members have visited the new space during this time and the library seems to be a win for the Silverdale populace as a whole.

A few classes from Central Kitsap High School took a short field trip down to the new building, which is conveniently located right down the hill from the Central Kitsap Middle and High School buildings at the peak of Bucklin Hill. 

One student, Connor James, went down to the library during a field trip with Mrs. Zinke’s American Literature class. When asked about his favorite aspect of the new space, Connor praised, “The atmosphere, like nice chairs, and then they also had a treehouse playground for kids. And I really like the computers to search up books in the catalog.” 

A major focus of the library space appears to be catering to families and groups with young children; a massive indoor reading loft and brand new playground on the lush rolling hills just outside the doors appeal to younger children and their adult guardians.

Students enjoy the library playground on a sunny afternoon after school. (Lucas Roger)

Another community member, Debbi Duane, a retired teacher who has lived in the Central Kitsap community for the majority of her life was appreciative but not quite impressed with the playground as it is now. Duane commented, “I’m glad they put a playground outside for the kids but it would have been nice had they put more playground devices on the playground but it’s rather limited.” 

Other than a slight disappointment with the playground, Duane appeared to be happy with the results of the upgraded library space. She continued, “My favorite part of the new library is the checkout area. I think they’ve done a really nice job of making it accessible to people. The new library is much more open and gives more room for more books and improvements in the new library.”

Overall, community response to the new library has been positive; as experienced by Ashley Oaksmith, who has been manager of the Silverdale branch of the Kitsap Regional Library for the last five and a half years. 

When asked about how patrons have received the new facilities, Oaksmith said, “People are excited about the new space. It’s been a long time coming. The community needs it… Our foot traffic is increased since pre-COVID in the old building, and so we’re looking at around 11,000 or so… People in every month is what we’re at.”

Continued community support has been integral in funding the construction and remodeling of the old high school wing into the new library building. “While most of the new library is funded by donor contributions through the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation and the Silverdale Friends of the Library, profits from… sales [of the old library properties] have been factored into the funding needed to build the library,” published the Kitsap Regional Library, under a FAQ page about the new Silverdale Center.

A glass art octopus made by Lisa Stirrett sits above the children’s early reading section by the reading loft. (Lucas Roger)

One of the most visually appealing and obvious shows of community support is the beautiful glass art octopus that adorns the wall of the children’s section. Oaksmith commented that “It’s a custom piece… by Lisa Stirrett… And if you look very closely, there are hidden creatures in the octopus. A little bit of a scavenger hunt.”

The new library facilities and resources have expanded greatly through this remodel and move but many potential patrons in Silverdale still may not know of the new space. Oaksmith summarized, “We’re trying to get the word out to the community so people know that we’re here and that we’ve moved, we’ve relocated, but it feels really great to be able to offer a 12,000 square foot library to the Silverdale community and the students.”