Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Teen Advisory Board: Bringing the teen perspective to SPL September 29, 2009

Part 3 of a 3 part series

teen advisors interviewingWith the installation of Teen Centers in all neighborhood branches and The Central Library, The Seattle Public Library reinforced the important role Teen Service Librarians provide to Seattle’s teens.  Teen Service Librarians get the chance to teach, but also the chance to learn and connect with the Teen Center Advisors as they work together to build programs and collections that are relevant and interesting to the teen citizens of Seattle.  In turn, the Teen Advisors act as Library ambassadors to their peers.

Teens are too often thought of as dumb or apathetic, but in fact many have their own well-formed opinions and that is evident by the content of the podcasts.  The Teen Service Librarians have learned from the teen advisors and have become better at serving other young adults, because teens can best understand what other teens are interested in.  The advisors provide a valuable service to anyone interested in the teen generation.”  Georgia Clayton, Teen Center Advisor alumni

If you or somebody you know is interested in the Teen Center Advisor Program see the Teen Center Advisor Application.  The first fall meeting will be on October 7.  Applications complete with parent’s signature, are due on or before the October 21 meeting.   Accepted applicants will be notified by October 25.  If you have further questions please contact the Teen Center: e-mail teencenter@spl.org or call (206) 615-1410.

If you or somebody you know is interested in the Teen Center Advisor Program see the Teen Center Advisor Application.  Applications, complete with parent’s signature, are due on or before the October 21 meeting. Accepted applicants will be notified by October 25.  If you have further questions please contact the Teen Center: e-mail teencenter@spl.org or call (206) 615-1410.

Last fall The Friends of The Seattle Public Library proudly recognized the role Teen Services played at The Seattle Public Library and in the community by providing a grant of $30,000 for this year’s 2009 teen programs.

 

Library is “crown jewel” in Homeschooler’s education plan September 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 4:43 pm

“The school library and the public library co-exist as partners in the future of our children…” wrote Roxhill teacher librarian Pat Bliquez last year. But the partnership between homeschoolers and the public library may be even stronger.

shannon&logan_72[1]

Shannon and son

“I couldn’t homeschool without the library,” Shannon McClendon, a Greenlake and Northgate patron told us, “I couldn’t afford to buy all the resources that the library provides. And I’m not just talking about books. If my son is interested in rockets, for instance, I can go to the librarians and they’ll help me find all the things about rockets that he might like. It saves me time.”

“We homeschool, and would be lost without the library,” wrote Delridge patron Sara McMahon. Vicki in Magnolia says, “As a homeschool family with 4 children, we greatly use and depend on our library. We visit at least once a week and frequently reserve books on hold.”

April Hichens, in West Seattle quantified the value, ” I figured as a very rough and low estimate, we check out approximately $18,000 worth of books, CDs and audiotapes annually.”

According to the US dept of Education, an estimated 1.5 million U.S. children were homeschooled as of Spring 2007. That represents an increase from the estimated 1.1 million who were homeschooled in 2003. An estimate at the A-Z website suggests that over 27,000  parents homeschool in Washington State. R. Hannigan, who uses multiple Seattle libraries to gather homeschool resources writes, ” I belong to Seattle Homeschool Group, a collection of 300 + families that homeschool in Seattle. We have meetings at libraries and attend programs as a group however as a home learning family the library is the crown jewel in our education plan. We use it for every subject in our house from math to SAT prep.”

“The library is a vital part of homeschooling. The first two things my son got in life was a passport and a library card. In fact I think his first trip out may have been for his library card,” said Tamblyn Alexander,  a Wallingford branch patron. “The biggest thing for homeschooling really is being able to delve into a subject. I was part of a group of homeschooling parents that got together to do French Camp. We watched videos about French, got books in French, and books in English about France. I wouldn’t even have tried to attempt to do that without the library. I may have three or four books about France in my library and I could never do a week long education with just that. We may only have needed about ten books but by having the library I was able to get a lot more and that way I could find the very best. Other parents in the camp said I’d found the best of the best.”

“The library is the basis of my educational plan.  I can’t stress that enough,” emphasized a homeschooler using Northeast Branch library,  “Books, reading, stories are the foundation of our education.  For my son’s first week of homeschool, I plan on presenting him with his own book bag and taking him in to get his own library card.”

From all points in the City, homeschooling parents are enjoying  and depending on access to our new and renovated neighborhood libraries. Open library doors, rich collections, and helpful librarians are  foundational in all styles of education.

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Have you taken our 5 minute survey on library value?

 

Proposed 2010 budget impact: One week furlough and 21 branch libraries closed two days a week September 26, 2009

The downward adjustments to the 2010 City Budget were announced today.  Library collections will be kept at the support level of 2009.  However, The Seattle Public Library was asked to identify approximately 5 percent in cuts — about $2.8 million.

This is a significantly larger impact than what Seattle experienced with the downward adjustment of the 2009 budget. What does this mean to you and your neighborhood? A one week closure of the entire system and 21 branch libraries that will close Friday and Sunday all year. In addition, according to the library’s website, the proposed 2010 capital budget is down 37 percent from the 2009 adopted budget which means delays in the maintenance and upkeep of our very busy, well used buildings.

Please help us preserve our library access. City Council can change this budget. This budget includes some new spending and there is room for adjustment, but without your voice and presence at upcoming hearings City Council may not re-evaluate. Can you help? Contact advocacy@friendsofspl.org

12 million people turned to our libraries last year. Many are accessing critical services: job search resources, free computers, wi-fi efficiency, community meeting space, literacy support and so forth. Our blog stories portray these everyday uses and the impact on individuals and families. Closed libraries and abbreviated access creates hardships.  In the recession of 2002 and 2003 our library system was closed for two weeks each year and library hours were cut.   The Library hasn’t regained the operating hours lost almost 7 years ago.

  • The Friends of The Seattle Public Library believes any further reduction in hours of operations isn’t a rational choice given the substantial increase in patrons using The Seattle Public Library and with the difficulties facing the citizens of Seattle who are turning to The Seattle Public Library for support and information in the current economic crisis.
  • The Friends of The Seattle Public Library believes furloughs are not a sustainable solution for the operations of The Seattle Public Library and that furloughs eliminate the critical services provided daily by The Seattle Public Library staff and collections.

The citizens of Seattle have increased their usage of The Central Library and the 26 branches by astounding numbers.  Door counts have continued to rise across the system. With all this usage there is wear and tear that requires timely maintenance to prevent deterioration of the interior and exterior of Central and the 26 branches.  The Library’s capital budget for 2009 was reduced from $1.646 million to $694,000.

  • The Friends of The Seattle Public Library believes there must be an ongoing baseline of support for The Seattle Public Library to protect the investment the citizens of Seattle have made in the building and renovation of The Seattle Public Library System.

Please stand up for the library and for our neighbors who need everyday access. You can help : advocacy@friendsofspl.org

 

Summer Reading Program a Smashing Success! September 23, 2009

Well folks, the results are in, and all of you readers out there helped exceed every goal for The Seattle Public Library’s 2009 Summer Reading Program, both as to books read and number of readers:

Category Goal Actual
Books Read (overall) 125,000 156,361
No. of Readers (overall) 12,029 12,352
Books Read by Teens 2,018 4,898
No. of Teen Readers 734 871
Books Read by Adults 5,220 14,035
No. of Adult Readers 2,040 2,380
Books Read by Children 112,170 137,428
No. of Child Readers 8,505 9,101

Congratulations and thanks to all those who participated!   The Friends of the Seattle Public Library were pleased to join the other entities (The Seattle Public Library Foundation, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Bank, the Burke Museum, Parent Map and Sheraton Seattle Hotel) who sponsored this worthwhile program.  Check back in spring 2010 to see what the Library has planned for the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

And if you are looking for book recommendations for this fall, here are some suggestions from the Friends’ Board meeting in September.  You can click on the links below to get to the SPL site to reserve a copy of these books.

borkmann Borkmann’s Point:  An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery, by Hakan Nesser.  This mystery won the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Prize for Best Novel in 1994.  The Inspector is an irascible and occasionally near intuitive character who is called on to solve a mystery in a small town.  The board member who recommended this believes that Borkmann’s point (that in every case a point is reached where enough information is available to solve the crime with “nothing more than some decent thinking”) applies equally to life and the conduct of board meetings.  Having said that, our board member admitted that he hadn’t been able to figure out who had done it until it was revealed at the end of the book.  Why not read this novel and see how long it takes you to figure it out?  Starred review by Booklist.

fieldwork Fieldwork: A Novel, by Mischa Berlinski.  Several board members enjoyed reading this novel with its multiple and overlapping story lines about a young anthropologist living in Thailand, a nomadic hill tribe, and the multigenerational missionary family seeking to convert the tribe members.  One member was entranced by the detailed descriptions of the fictional hill tribe and their rituals and culture, calling it a tour de force.

 

Teen Advisory Board: Bringing the teen perspective to SPL September 22, 2009

Part 2 of a 3 part series

Push to Talk A Blog For TeensWhat’s a teen to read?  Teens have many competing demands on their time, including doing homework, so recreational reading can often drop off due to lack of time or interest. Teens, boys in particular, are known to do less reading even if they read a lot earlier in life.  Reviews written by The Seattle Public Library’s Teen Advisory Board add strong support to the jobs the Teen Service Librarians do in recommending books to teen patrons.  Having access to book reviews written by peers gives teens in the community a connection to the Teen Center at the library they use and online.  The book reviews can be heard on the podcasts and are a major component of the “Push To Talk” Teen Center blog.

“I began participating in the Summer Reading Program in elementary school and am an avid reader of the Teen Center librarian’s book recommendations.  Some teens stop reading because they just do not know what to read, and the Teen Center at the library helps solve that problem by providing good books and by having teens recommend books to other teens.” ~ Amelia Fisher Linnet, Teen Center Advisor alumni

Thanks to the Teen Advisory Board and Teen Service Librarians the teen perspective is kept fresh and vital at The Seattle Public Library’s teen centers.  Together they reinforce the important role libraries have for Seattle’s teens at Central and in the 26 neighborhood branchesTeen Service Librarians, and The Library as an institution, are reaching out to involve teens in their communities.

If you or somebody you know is interested in the Teen Center Advisor Program see the Teen Center Advisor Application.  The first fall meeting will be on October 7.  Applications complete with parent’s signature, are due on or before the October 21 meeting.   Accepted applicants will be notified by October 25.  If you have further questions please contact the Teen Center: e-mail teencenter@spl.org or call (206) 615-1410.

Last fall The Friends of The Seattle Public Library proudly recognized the role Teen Services played at The Seattle Public Library and in the community by providing a grant of $30,000 for this year’s 2009 teen programs.

 

A conversation with Jennifer Power September 16, 2009

Jennifer Power is the president of Capitol Hill Community Council. She sat down with us at a coffee shop on Capitol Hill and talked about how she uses the library, how it contributes to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and what libraries may be like in the future:

jen power“I use the Capitol Hill library a little bit. I live really close to a used bookstore so I need to make an effort to go down to the library. But I’m there once or twice a month for community meetings- it’s the only free meeting space. Oh Lord, do we need that meeting room. We’re short on meeting space up here; we don’t really have a community center. You can go to coffee shops but you have to buy something in order to spend time there. The library is free, which is amazing because Seattle is so expensive, and it’s not like the problem of finding free gathering space is going to get any better. It’s kind of weird (socially unjust) if you have to pay for things all the time just to have a place to meet your neighbors.”

“On Capitol Hill we have lots of anchors, organizations that anchor the neighborhood. But community groups often meet at the library and classes are also occasionally offered there, like through Seattle Free School. So I guess it’s kind of like the anchor of the anchors. It’s also an information space and, more and more, it’s a learning space.”

CAP“I like the renovation at Capitol Hill library – they have window seats and vines growing everywhere!  It’s nice there. It’s a good place for people to spend time. It’s a human place. If you have a city then you have to have density. If you have density then people need a place to hang out together. Parks are good, but libraries are quieter.”

“The library needs to continue to operate as a community center and a learning center to stay relevant. Libraries are still relevant but they need to change.  They need to bring people into gateways for information, particularly academic gateways. It would be amazing if libraries would play the role of bringing together all the arcane information that isn’t digitized yet. They also need to ally with community groups. The more we give libraries a free hand to collaborate with the community the better.”

For more of  Jennifer’s ideas about life see her blog.

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Teen Advisory Board: Bringing the teen perspective to SPL September 15, 2009

Part 1 of a 3 part series

TeenAdvisors 7 5 09Since 2006, high school students have been participating in the Teen Advisory Board at The Seattle Public Library.   What do members of the Teen Advisory Board do?  Definitely not shushing!  Teen Advisors get to read and review new teen books and manga, meet up with other advisors every other week at Central (the teen service librarians promise snacks), create their own podcasts that get published on iTunes and the teen section of The Library’s website, and volunteer at some really cool library events.  The icing on the cake for Teen Advisors is they earn community service credits needed for graduation.

The Teen Center Advisors met together to talk every Wednesday.  Students from different schools came together to talk to each other about issues.  The meeting was a good opportunity for the advisors to hear what issues were facing students throughout the city.  The Library is a safe, trustworthy and reliable environment for teens and people of all ages.  The Teen Services Librarians are always helpful and supportive without being judgmental.” ~ Tuan Tron, Teen Center Advisor alumni

Thanks to the Teen Advisory Board and Teen Service Librarians the teen perspective is kept fresh and vital at The Seattle Public Library’s teen centers.  Together they reinforce the important role libraries have for Seattle’s teens at Central and in the 26 neighborhood branchesTeen Service Librarians, and The Library as an institution, are reaching out to involve teens in their communities.

If you or somebody you know is interested in the Teen Center Advisor Program see the Teen Center Advisor Application, complete with parent’s signature, are due on or before the October 21 meeting. Accepted applicants will be notified by October 25.  If you have further questions please contact the Teen Center: e-mail teencenter@spl.org or call (206) 615-1410.

Last fall The Friends of The Seattle Public Library proudly recognized the role Teen Services played at The Seattle Public Library and in the community by providing a grant of $30,000 for this year’s 2009 teen programs.

 

Walkable libraries enhance our lives and our neighborhoods September 13, 2009

Have you taken our five minute survey on library value? One theme we’re hearing from respondents is we love to walk there. “I love being so close to a neighborhood library branch — we walk there 1-2 evenings/week and read stories with the kids and pick up our hold items,” replied Fremont patron Robyn Reed.

“One of the criteria for where we choose to live is if we can walk (or short drive) to a library,”  replied Sarah Hurt, a Douglass Truth patron. Douglass Truth has a walkscore  of 88. Its “very walkable” according to Walkscore.com.  More than 81% of our newly expanded library system is at least “very walkable.”  30% gets the highest  rating of  “walker’s paradise” and all of the buildings are at least “somewhat walkable.”

“Libraries drive the walkability scores of a neighborhood,” said real estate agent Adrian Willinger. “People are returning to traditional values and want their resources within walking distance. They want to walk to their neighborhood services,  i.e., dry cleaner, grocery store, library. More and more people are looking at walkability.” Incoming Lake City Chamber of Commerce President and Realtor, Peter Lukevich concurs, “At the present time the existence of a library is generally believed to be a good thing for real estate values. The library and easy access to other government services is valuable and enhances the value of real property.” [Lake City library walkscore 94]

“Having Greenwood branch library in walking distance creates a sense of community for everyone,” Sara, a student at the University of Washington, told us. “Three blocks one way — the grocery store. The other way — the library. Both are essential to a community’s well-being — food and knowledge. It’s a hub and a place to meet and a comforting addition to the neighborhood.” [Greenwood library walkscore 88]

In a July 2009 study, “Economic Value of Walkability,” from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, some of the economic advantages of a walkable neighborhood are: reduced transportation costs, special support for some businesses- such as walking tourism, and increased neighborhood interaction and community cohesion. “When you have a gem like the Ballard branch library near the business core it draws people and keeps people in the area of commerce, ” said Christy McDanold of Secret Garden Bookshop. [Ballard library walkscore 97]

C. Atalex tells us, “I work from home, so biking to the library and grocery store is a nice way for me to get out of the house and spend a couple hours around people. If we did not have a local library that I could walk/bike to, I would probably go very seldom, so I am very grateful for the refurbished Cap Hill branch.” [Capitol Hill library walkscore 100]

 

I understand Kindles but I’m sorry, I need a book September 10, 2009

Kirby Lindsay

Kirby Lindsay

Blogger and writer, Kirby Lindsay uses Fremont branch and the virtual library and,  in the days before her blog Fremocentrist launched,  she talked with us about why she values libraries and books.   “The library saves me money. As I see books, magazines, music, and movies that I want, I think, ‘Oh good, I’ll be able to get that at the library’.” Kirby also mines the library’s subscription databases. “I wouldn’t subscribe to a database if I was only going to use it once so the library’s subscriptions allow me research options in my work. There’s an article from 1987 about the Aurora Bridge, for instance, that I have accessed.” She stops  in to check Consumer Reports when she’s researching a purchase, pops in with her nephew, and drops by to look at movies on her way to her weekly movie date with her 95 year old grandfather. Like several people we’ve talked with, Kirby uses online holds to  preview cross platform titles of interest, “Being able to go on-line to the library and say I want this, and this, and this, and having it appear on the shelf saved for me, feels like a magic trick.”

The library brings the Fremont community together. Kirby said, “Fremont gathers at its library, and yet the library serves as a calm, non-political entity in a chaotic neighborhood. The library is a draw point for the community. I go to meetings there and our library now has wheelchair access.  They have fascinating information on display from the Fremont Historical Society. They also have archives of the Outlook newspaper in print — something that modern technology can’t have. “

And about library relevance Kirby says, “I’m someone who understands Kindle but I’m sorry, I need a book. I need something to hold onto. I travel and I like to have a book I can take with me. Libraries won’t even slightly fade in relevance. As the world becomes more technology based we MUST preserve a place for the written word in a portable medium that is accessible without electricity – also a gathering place for people to meet face-to-face rather than through electronics.”

See Kirby’s writing about Fremont branch

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Volunteers Needed! September 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 2:07 am

The Friends fall Book Sale will be held Friday, Sept. 25- Sunday, Sept. 27. Once again we are looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the sale, from set-up to clean-up. Volunteers make the Book Sale a continued success each year.

Sign up to volunteer on the Friends web site.
Below are the volunteer shifts for the upcoming sale:
Thursday, September 24: 2 PM – 5 PM and 5 PM. – 9 PM (set-up)
Friday, September 25: 9 AM – 3 PM and 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday, September 26: 9 AM – 1 PM and 1 PM – 5 PM
Sunday, September 27: 11 AM – 4 PM
Monday, September 28: 8:30 AM – 1 PM and noon – 4 PM (clean-up)
Tuesday, September 29: 9 AM – 1 PM (clean-up)

You may contact the Book Sale office at 206.523.4053 with any questions regarding the Book Sale.

 

 
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