Learn about the new Sumner Library

Thanks to voters, the Sumner community will enjoy a new, modern, centrally located, community-focused library with books, materials and all services accessible for the diverse residents of Sumner!

In the Aug. 1, 2023 Primary Election, voters in the City of Sumner

  • Approved the Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA) and bond(s) to build a new Sumner Library.
  • With 2,017 votes cast, 1,383 (68.57%) voted yes and 834 (31.43%) voted no.
  • The measure required a supermajority of 60%+1 vote and validation with 40% of the voters who turned out in the 2022 General Election to pass.
  • To validate the vote, 1,585 voters needed to participate in the Primary Election.

We are incredibly grateful to voters for supporting their Sumner Pierce County Library. The results of the vote demonstrate the trust Sumner citizens have in the Pierce County Library System and we are committed to upholding that trust by building an inclusive library with spaces and services to meet the community’s needs.

Next Steps

Next steps include working with the Pierce County Council to establish a three member governing body for the LCFA. The governing body will be made up of Pierce County Council members and selected by the County Council. Then, we will work with the LCFA governing body to secure bond(s). This fall we plan to issue a Request for Qualifications to hire an architectural firm and create a project plan.

Public Involvement

Please stay tuned for more information as we move toward a public involvement and input process in 2024 to gather the public’s input for services and spaces in the new building.

The new library will:

  • Be an up to 20,000-square-foot library, which is nearly twice the size of the current 10,600-square-foot building.
  • Carve out individual spaces for toddlers to gain literacy skills, for children and families to read and learn, a zone for teens to study and collaborate, places for job seekers and entrepreneurs to hone their skills, and areas for people of all ages to connect.
  • Offer books and movies to check out, computers and technology, and meeting spaces and study areas, as well as other services based upon the community’s needs.
  • Function as a multi-generational center for learning, enjoyment and community.
  • Serve as a destination for children and families providing indoor space to develop a love of reading with literacy-rich activities.
  • Located centrally and be inclusive and local.
  • Provide accessible books, materials and all services for the diverse residents of Sumner.
  • The library will be built on Main Street East, which is near schools, shopping, the senior center and where people live. The area is walkable and bikeable.

Sign indicating the new home of the Sumner Library


  • The Pierce County Library Board of Trustees and City of Sumner City Council passed resolutions to place the ballot measure in the August Primary Election.
  • The current Sumner Library needs to move because its current location, which the City of Sumner owns, requires costly repairs, is undersized for the population it serves and does not meet current needs, and it is difficult to access. The City and Library System are collaborating to build a new library on Main Street East. The Library System leases the current building.
  • In 2019 and 2023, the Library System engaged with thousands of Sumner area residents and heard their ideas for spaces and services in a new library.
  • The spaces and services in a new building will reflect this input and the residents’ needs and values for their community library.
  • The new, larger library may provide opportunities for collaboration with nonprofit organizations to provide much-needed services for children and families that are not easily available or accessible in east Pierce County.


  • The Library System estimates the total project cost at $19 million in today’s market, for an up to 20,000 square-foot building.
  • $15 million of the funding will come from bonds.
  • The average assessed value of homes in the Sumner area is approximately $514,000. If the measure passes, it is estimated that a homeowner of an average assessed home will invest approximately $10 per month in additional property taxes for the new library.
  • In addition to the bonds, the Library System is committed to contributing $5 million through a variety of sources, including a $3 million capital campaign supported by private philanthropy organized and lead by the Pierce County Library Foundation and an allocation from the Washington State Capital Budget, which helped to reduce the bond amount.
  • Tax exemptions are available for senior citizens and people with disabilities who meet certain income requirements. Those residents may be exempt from part or all of this local property tax. To learn more, please call the Pierce County Assessor’s Exemption Hotline at 253-798-2169 or apply online for an exemption.


  • The Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA) will be an independent taxing district, separate from the City, the Library System and Pierce County, for the sole purpose of funding a significant portion of the new Sumner Library.
  • The LCFA will include all of the properties in the city limits of Sumner.
  • Overall, the Library System will oversee the building construction, and then manage and operate the Sumner Library.
  • The LCFA governing body will be three members of the Pierce County Council, chosen by the entire Pierce County Council.
  • The LCFA will own the building through the life of the bond (projected to be 20 years; for a maximum of 21 years) and lease space for the building to the Library System.
  • Through an inter-local agreement, the Library System will contract with the LCFA to manage the construction of the new library and to operate it following completion.
  • Overall, the Library System will oversee the building construction, and then manage and operate the Sumner Library.
  • When the bonds are repaid, the LCFA would dissolve and it will transfer the title of the building to the Library System.

Get the agenda for the March 14, 2024 Special Meeting.