Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Just Arrived “Seattle’s Historic Restaurants ” by Robin Shannon October 30, 2008

Seattle's Historic Restaurants by Robin Shannon


Thank you Nancy Leson of The Seattle Times for speaking not only of this fabulous new book but also noting how you researched the little-known Northwest Menu Collection a similar topic in The Seattle Public Library.


The FriendShop is now carrying the latest from Arcadia Publishing including “Seattle’s Historic Restaurants” by Robin Shannon.   Order online or come visit us in the shop.





Final Public Hearing Tonite! October 27, 2008

Filed under: In The Community,library budget — friendsofspl @ 10:33 pm
Tags: ,
Kevin and Ken at City Hall
Kevin and Ken at City Hall

It’s four o’ clock on 27 October and lines are beginning to form at City Hall. People are coming here on a beautiful day to talk to their Councilmembers about the proposed budget for 2009-2010. The sun is shining on everyone that’s here to participate in democracy. Join us!

Pictured here are two library patrons that have come down to tell Councilmembers about the importance of library collections in their lives. They will ask Council to increase the library’s proposed collections budget. There is a 2.2 million dollar gap in this year’s proposed collections budget.

Public Hearings are interesting. If you’ve never been to City Hall. Enter on Fifth ave between Cherry and James. You can park in the Sea Park Garage just up the street. Parking is just $3.00 if you’ve been at the hearing.

There are so many economic issues in the world today that we can’t do anything about but this is a concern you can impact simply by showing up. Please come down tonite and tell your Councilmembers that you support an increase in the Library’s collections budget.


Please support an increased library collections budget

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 6:41 am

There are so many reasons to support strong funding of library collections. The collections budget funds everything from computer replacements to DVD’s, books and magazines, and subscription databases.

Library books and resources are in demand for a growing number of reasons. Library books and e-books are becoming increasingly important in the quest for greener lifestyles. Here’s a post from Ideal Bite :  As an aspiring environmental bibliophile, I do try to use the library (ask about inter-library loans . . ).  Libraries are both “the ultimate in recycling and an important community resource.”

Library books are part of our everyday discussions. This chart from Technorati tracks how library books have become a thriving part of online discussion. 

City Council is considering the proposed library collections budget right now. Mayor Nickels added $500,000 for the Library’s collections budget for 2009, bringing it to a total of $5.6 million. However, the ideal collections budget determined by the Library at the Council’s request is $7.8. This proposed collections budget is at the same purchasing power level as 2001, after adjusting for inflation, and cuts in the early 2000’s. The Library needs $2.2 million to fill the gap.  Please email Councilmembers in support of a collections budget increase of 2.2 million. Important decisions are being made now through the end of October and your voice makes a difference.  Council member emails:,,,,,,,,


Testimony of Anne Gilbert on Oct 8 2008 October 24, 2008

Ray Bradbury


I love the Seattle Public Library!  I have many reasons for feeling that way.  But one reason is, one of my favorite authors — who has been something of an influence on my own writing — Ray Bradbury, bless his heart, wrote his first novel in a California library, renting a typewriter for ten cents an hour. 


I do not know if my writing will ever be as illustrious as that of Ray Bradbury, but I doubt if I would have gotten as far as I have in my writing project — a long and complicated trilogy that draws on science, human evolution, and medieval history, without extensive use of the Seattle Public Library.  Though I have a background in anthropology, my research in both fields started at Ground Zero.  I used a number of libraries for this purpose, including, extensively, the Seattle Public Library.  And thanks to their collections, I have been able to finish the first drafts of the first two books in this trilogy.  I am now working on a third book and a second draft of the first.


Unfortunately, due to very possible budgetary constraints, many people who might potentially use this wonderful resource, may not be so lucky as I was.  More people than just potential writers are involved here.  They include job seekers, immigrants seeking to learn English, students of all ages, who are working on projects, people in the business community looking for various kinds of information relevant to their business.  And there are many more.  This is literally a huge segment of the Seattle population, and their needs are varied. 


Our city has just completed a round of library building and renovation.  These new buildings and renovations have attracted many new patrons, and they love the new, improved libraries.  Usage is up.  But in order to keep things this way, it is absolutely necessary to keep funding and collections at its present level.  The last time there was a budget “crunch” nothing was added to the collections and it was during this period that I had to seek some of my information from other regional sources. 


We face similar budgetary restraints at the present moment.  However, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the absolute necessity of not only keeping the present level of funding and collection maintenance, but planning for expansion of funding and collections in the future.  I realize this will not be easy, but it is absolutely vital if we want to continue to have libraries function as a vital force in this community.  In the future, I feel it will be necessary to expand the area of collections into more electronic databases, such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  I mention this source because it is online, however, it requires a $300 individual subscription.  Perhaps some people have this kind of money to spend, individually, on something like this, but many do not.  Institutional subscriptions to such databases and information would be a great addition to the library’s collection, and I can assure you it would be well-used.  We also need libraries to function as vital community centers, something which many people have said they want. 


We have already invested a great deal of money in this renovation project, and it has paid off.  Let us continue to invest in this, a vital public resource.  Let us expand the resource for the future.


Join us at Council Chambers on October 27th October 20, 2008

Filed under: In The Community,library budget — friendsofspl @ 8:50 pm
Tags: ,

Want to know more about local governance? Interested in making a difference for libraries? Maybe you’re a library enthusiast looking for practice with public speaking.  Calling all library supporters: join Friends of The Seattle Public LIbrary at Council Chambers on Oct 27th. This is our final opportunity to tell Councilmembers about the importance of increasing the library collections budget. Your presence makes a difference.

The hearing is at City Hall Council Chambers, Floor 2 City Hall, 600 4th Avenue. Signups for speaking start at 5.  This is the last of two hearings and it will probably be attended by many interest groups. Lines to sign up to speak tend to form around 3 on the marble steps that climb to the chambers. Each individual speaker has 2 minutes to testify.  If you arrive at 3:30 you’ll probably speak around 7. If you arrive at 4 you may speak by 8. For more information on this hearing and parking in the area visit Seattle City Council’s budget pages. Please to


Bountiful experiences at SPL this month (and always) October 12, 2008

 You’ve only got to go to the SPL Audiences page to find a listing for an event.  Adults, teens, children, literacy/ESL, ADA/Special Services, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Russian events are all searchable on the SPL calendar of events.

2008 Washington State Book Awards

2008 Washington State Book Awards

This month consider checking out the Washington State Book Awards on October 22nd from 7 to 8:30 pm, Central, Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium.  This event has so many authors you’re sure to enjoy it.  You’ll hear remarks and readings by 2008 winning authors Matt Ruff, Samuel Green, Coll Thrush, David R. Montgomery, Sherman Alexie, George Shannon and illustrator Laura Dronzek.  Followed by a reception and book signing afterwards.  University Books will be on hand for all your shopping needs.

Please keep in mind that if you take advantage of what SPL has to offer, now’s the time to let elected officials know about it.  And always keep SPL in mind when you’re looking for an experience that will only require the library card in your wallet or simply a spot on your calendar.


FriendShop has it in the bag! October 9, 2008

Thanks to one of our customers, Jan G., the FriendShop is now reducing the need for plastic shopping bags even more.  Earlier this year Jan visited the Amersterdam street fairs and was handed her purchase in a lovely, hand-stiched, recycled magazine-folded page for her item. 

Jan made the FriendShop an array of bags of which we use for small purchases of postcards, jewelry and fun little trinkets. 

Customers love the bags and now love them even more as the library is providing the shop with posters after events are over, dated newsletters and any other what-would-have-gone-in-the-recycle-bin paper we can find. 

Thank you Jan for bringing this fabulous idea to the FriendShop!


In Neighborhoods and District Councils collections rank high

Here’s what Tony had to say,

“Hello, my name is Tony.  I live in the Ravenna Wedgewood are and I use the Lake City and Northeast branch.

I’m here as a Friend of the Library to thank you for support of our libraries and the communities who rely on them and to ask for your support once again.

I’m concerned that the proposed budget for the Library’s collections of books and materials is 2.2 million dollars below the amount that is actually needed.

From my meeting with Neighborhood District Councils and other members of the community the single most important concern expressed was the lack of adequate collections and materials and the overly long wait times for materials.

Since the start of the Libraries For All project the Library system and it’s circulation have doubled. Yet the library’s books and materials budget is no better than it was in 2001 because of repeated reductions combined with the impact of inflation.

The Library’s ideal books and materials budget is 7.8 million. The 2009 proposed budget only provides 5.6 million. The library needs 2.2 million to fill the gap.

Besides adding popular titles and purchasing additional copies, the library is buying more media formats, purchasing electronic databases, and buying more foreign language materials to serve a growing Immigrant and Refugee population.

With a weakening economy, more people are borrowing and using materials rather than purchasing them. They’re using the libraries to search for jobs, apply for social services, learn to read, learn English, and use computers for access to the Internet.

We need to ensure that our library resources are available to people when they need them most. We need 2.2 million dollars added to the library’s collections budget.  Thank you.


The next opportunity to speak to City Council is Oct 27 at 5:30. Please consider telling your Councilmembers why you believe collections dollars need to be increased.  You can enter “official testimony” in person after 5:30 or by telephone and email between 4:30 and 5:30. Join us at the hearings or help us right now. Here’s how:

The library’s collections budget is 2.2 million dollars short of projected needs. Please ask City Council to increase the collections budget to meet neighborhood demand. Tell them your name, the branch library you use, what you use the library for, and why you think the collections budget should be increased. Councilmember emails:,,,,,,,, 

For more information or ideas on other ways you could help:


Call or Email in now October 8, 2008

Filed under: In The Community,library budget,Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 11:44 pm
Tags: ,

The phone lines are open at City Council. You can submit official testimony without coming down to City Hall by calling in right now. The number is: 684 8888. You can also email in your testimony at   You can use this number and email to submit official testimony for another 45 minutes. Please call and email now to support library collections funding.


First in line

Tonite is the first Public Hearing on the Mayor’s proposed budget. Tony, a Friend of The Seattle Public Library, came to City Hall at 3 pm to stand in line  to testify to Council members that neighborhoods in this City need a fully funded collections budget. The Mayor’s proposed budget is 2.2 million dollars short of the Library’s projected need. 

I asked Tony to tell me why he came here so early to testify on the need for collections. He said,  “It’s important for the community at large and all our neighborhoods to understand that there is a big gap in library funding. I’m expressing a sentiment that I’ve heard around town in District Council meetings that library collections need to be expanded not contracted and that even at current levels of funding the needs aren’t being met.” 

You don’t have to come down to City Hall to enter your testimony. You can email City Council today between 4:30 and 5:30 at Please, if you can email in that hour, tell City Council which branch you use and why you think collections need to be fully funded.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.