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    New Library in Seattle Tries a Novel Idea: Books

    In Seattle, a new private library -- the first of its kind in a century -- is based on the throwback idea of having a quiet place to read.
    BY  FEBRUARY 2016

    These days, public libraries are as likely to have video production studios and 3-D printers as they are shelves of books. One library in San Diego is pushing things even further, with a new biotech lab, where patrons can examine cells under microscopes and even extract and copy DNA.

    But in Seattle, a new private library is offering a surprising old-fashioned amenity: a quiet place to sit and read a book.

    Called Folio, the nonprofit membership library opened last month, just a block from the city’s Rem Koolhaas-designed public library, with about 300 members. Well-established “athenaeum” libraries -- institutions devoted to literary or scientific study, like the libraries in Boston; Providence, R.I.; and elsewhere -- can boast 200-year-old collections and cultivate somewhat of an elite status.

    But Folio, which bills itself as the first new athenaeum library in more than a century, has memberships as low as $10 a month, and its chief aim is to be a place where book lovers and writers can congregate -- albeit quietly.

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