Hidden Seattle

You Can Practice Piano Inside the Seattle Public Library

And these private rooms are uniquely Seattle.

By Josh Feit November 16, 2016 Published in the December 2016 issue of Seattle Met

Hbarczyk seattle finalspot 2.5 zmqjei

Image: Hanna Barczyk

The staffers on the eighth floor of Seattle’s downtown library will tell you in a whisper (naturally) that the two rooms by the elevator are two of the only rooms of their kind in the country; they might have them in Chicago’s public library system, one librarian will allow. And there’s one in Minneapolis. (But there’s nothing of the sort in New York or many other large cities.) 

People haul in cellos, bongos, trumpets, or just their opera lungs to sing arias. Officially the two private rooms—complete with one electric piano, a bench, and an extra chair—are piano practice rooms for people without a keyboard or a place to practice. Just feel like banging out some minor chords after work or honing those jazz scales without bugging your partner? Go to the library! 

The rooms are free and surprisingly available—slots open starting at the top of every hour—and you get the space for one hour.

Other library patrons in the adjacent book stacks and reading tables can hear the jams, though. So unlike your private spotlight in the shower, folks know when you’ve taken that Billy Joel impersonation over the edge.

Show Comments