This afternoon starting at 4 pm, Folio: A Seattle Atheneum celebrates its new home at the Pike Place Market with a big party featuring refreshments and very special guests. Folio is a private library — I wrote about the concept when Folio first opened back in 2015 — that also operates as a co-working office for members, as well as an event space.
It seems like not so long ago, Folio founder David Brewster was welcoming people to Folio in its home under the downtown YMCA. Why the move across town?
"Our lease was expiring at the YMCA," Brewster tells me over the phone. Though Folio could've stayed longer at the YMCA, when the Market opportunity came up — "about 2500 square feet," with views unlike anywhere else in Seattle — he says "we jumped at it for fear of losing it."
Unless you've lived in Seattle your whole life, you may never have stepped foot in the new Folio space. For the last couple decades, it's been home to the Market's offices, but the space began as a meeting hall for a fraternal organization called the Knights of Pythias. In the intervening years, it's also been a dance hall, the city's third Bartell Drugs location, and "a semi-corrupt bingo parlor" called The Lifeline Club.
Many of the features you loved about the old Folio have carried over to the new. The old Folio space held about 13,000 titles, and the new has room for 12,000. But there's more room for people: Brewster says the old events space could comfortably seat 60 people while the new one has room for 90.
Brewster is excited about the Market as Folio's new home for two main reasons. First, he loves that the Market provides "supporting amenities — mainly the restaurants and bars and places to go after an event here." And second, "we really liked the Market vibe with its sense of history and Seattle traditions." In fact, Folio isn't even the first library at the Market: nearly a century ago Pike Place Market had its own branch of the Seattle Public Library system until the Depression forced it to close.
In the new Market space, Brewster says, "we characterize Folio as part of your dream day: you can read and take out books, do work, meet a friend for lunch, and buy some tomatoes. It's your excuse to come back to the Market."
Folio: The Seattle Atheneum, Pike Place Market, 93 Pike St #307, http://www.folioseattle.org 4 pm, free.