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Estelita’s Library Opens Its New Tiny Cultural Space in the Central District

Estelita’s Tiny Cultural Space is up and running! In 2018, ARTS in partnership with Sawhorse Revolution invited local cultural and community organizations to submit proposals for a new tiny cultural space. Estelita’s Library was chosen as the first recipient of our Tiny Cultural Space Program because of its mission to create accessibility to literature on justice, ethnic studies, and liberation movements.  

Photo by Rafael Soldi

Founded by Edwin Lindo, Estelita’s Library was first homed inside The Wine Station on Beacon Hill, which opened its doors in May 2018. Named after his daughter, Estella, Lindo created this library with a vision for it to be home to conversations you may not usually have in other communal spaces – conversations about race, poverty, and social justice. In its first year of business, Estelita’s Library hosted over 350 members and a catalog of over 1,500 books. This library’s catalog features books from notable authors like Malcolm X and Audre Lorde to Lindo’s personal collection of Black Panther Party newspapers. 

Photo by Rafael Soldi

However, with the landlord of their Beacon Hill space planning to build high-rise apartments in place of the current building, Lindo felt it was the perfect time to apply for the Tiny Cultural Space Program. 

“What Estelita’s tries to do is give us space to think critically and to think with freedom.”

Edwin Lindo, founder of Estelita’s Library (quoted from his interview with Dwell)

Sawhorse Revolution’s all-womxn design/build program for youth was integral in the entire process of building Estelita’s Tiny Cultural Space, from the selection of Estelita’s Library as the recipient to the design (with mentorship from Olson Kundig) to the actual build (with mentorship from Sawhorse Revolution’s builders).  

After almost two years of collaborative work, Estelita’s Tiny Cultural Space has its new home on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in the Central District where it continues to serve the community. This new space stands at 225 square feet with a 330-square-foot outdoor deck. It will be home to many community gatherings, book readings, and more. 

“The City of Seattle currently owns over three million square feet of buildings and land that it considers to be ‘excess to its current needs.’ These surplus properties, which could be enormous assets in community hands, are often considered to be liabilities to the City, which needs to mow, and maintain, and insure them.

Tiny Cultural Space is an exploration of what can happen if the City returns some of these surplus assets to the community-based arts and cultural organizations who could transform them. The program takes invisible and overlooked municipal liabilities and turns them into living, thriving, community assets.” 

Matthew Richter, Cultural Space Liaison for the City of Seattle
Photos by Rafael Soldi

While the library is still closed to the public due to COVID-19, you can show your support by shopping on their online bookstore. You can also stay up-to-date on their hours and future public openings on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Tiny Cultural Space Program is made possible in partnership with Finance and Administrative Services and the Department of Construction and Inspections