Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Award Winning Seattle Author Richard Farr Emails in Support of The Seattle Public Library – Join Him! October 28, 2009

Seattle Author Richard Farr

Emperors of the IceThe Friends of The Seattle Public Library had the distinct pleasure of featuring award winning-author Richard Farr at their 68th annual meeting this past Sunday.  Farr’s book, Emperors of the Ice: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in the Antarctic, 1910 – 13, has been named winner of the 2009 Scanduzzi Children’s Book Award (part of the annual Washington State Book Awards) in the category of Books for Middle Grades and Young Adults (10 – 18 year old readers). Not surprisingly, Mr. Farr is a serious user of The Seattle Public Library.

Mr. Farr shared with us the email he sent to the Seattle City Council on Monday, October 26th.  Please join Mr. Farr and help the Friends reach the goal of 500 emails to Seattle City Council!

Send your email to budget@seattle.gov

The email can be short-

Subject line:  Restore branch library hours. Text:  My name is ____. I use the ____ library. Please restore branch library hours.

For your  inspiration, information and enjoyment, here is Mr. Farr’s email to the Seattle City Council.  Thank you, Mr. Farr, for allowing the Friends to share your words and for supporting The Seattle Public Library:

To the Seattle City Council:

Since I’m an author, permit me to tell you a (very) short story:

Once upon a time, in the year 2019, the City of Somewhere went through a Great Depression. There was so little money that few people even had enough to eat, and they had to heat their homes by burning old copies of the City Budget. Because of the crime wave, public safety was the top priority, and it was clear that some inessential service would have to be slashed. Luckily, one of these was a very expensive and not very important program called “schooling.” The city worked out that it could save a lot of money by shuttering all schools for a week, even more by closing them on Fridays, and more still by not opening most of them until eleven in the morning. Everyone was delighted to be able to save the money for things that really mattered. In fact, because the schools had closed, even some of the least important services, such as libraries, were able to keep operating.

Back to Seattle, 2009: times are tough, but we are not in a Great Depression, and it would take a Great Depression for the city to even consider closing its schools. So the question before you today is simply this: what makes libraries less important than schools? Why are they morally easier to close? Why is it easier to consider them inessential?

The Washington Center for the Book just awarded me this years Scanduizzi Prize, the Washington State Book Award for Young Adult literature, for my book “Emperors of the Ice.” I simply could not have written this book except by spending 15-20 hours per week in the Seattle libraries, constantly depending on the skill and dedication (and availability) of its staff. But I’m just an extreme case: every citizen needs libraries. More important still: every child who grows up in a great and (even today) wealthy city deserves a community that would simply be too ashamed to consider library closures as a budget-fixing option.

Please, for the sake of the city itself, let’s be too ashamed to do this. Do not cut the library’s budget. That Seattle “aspires” to be a “world-class city” is very nice, but the stark reality is this: as everyone has known since the Babylonians, a city in which you cannot go to the library is no kind of city at all.

With respect,

Richard Farr
Author, “Emperors of the Ice”
www.richardfarr.net

To purchase “Emperors of the Ice” click here OR To check out “Emperors of the Ice” from The Seattle Public Library click here

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2 Responses to “Award Winning Seattle Author Richard Farr Emails in Support of The Seattle Public Library – Join Him!”

  1. Queen Anne Library User Says:

    Here is another writer who has spoken up in support of The Seattle Public Library

    http://writersdailygrind.blogspot.com/2009/10/my-plea-to-seattle-city-council-to-keep.html

    Writer Anne Gilbert’s testimony also mentioned in this blog: http://paulsnewsline.blogspot.com/2009/10/advocating-for-seattle-public-library.html

    TO: Members of the Seattle City Council
    FROM: Anne Gilbert
    RE: The Seattle City Semiannual Budget and the Seattle Public Library System
    DATE: October 26, 2009

    I am here, once again, on behalf of the Seattle Public Library System.
    It has come to my attention that once again, even more drastic cuts in the budget of our library system are being contemplated for the coming year. These cuts will result in an approximate 25% reduction in hours for all libraries. It will:

    Also result in another weeklong “furlough” for the entire library system Closure of 21 of the 25 neighborhood branch libraries for two days, Fridays and Sundays, And a resultant loss of access and services for the many people who need them

    This is utterly unsupportable. As I’ve noted earlier, I’m a writer who frequently uses the library system for research and other purposes. I have a friend, also a writer, who, like many people at the moment, is looking for a job, and has not yet found one. She is one of the fortunate ¬¬– she has a computer at home. But I met one job-seeker downtown, who was not so fortunate. He was looking for a job, and the only other place he could go was WorkFirst. I know from experience, as he did, that there are far fewer computers in the WorkFirst branches, than there are in any branch library, or the central library, but there was nothing any of us could do about this. The WorkFirst offices often have less adequate or comprehensive job-search facilities than the Seattle Library system. In this economy, with so many out of work, and therefore unable to contribute to the budget through their taxes, it is a terrible thing to shorten hours and services, even on restricted budgets. For the sake of those job seekers, for the long-term sake of our budget, and the cultural future of this city, please do not cut the library’s budget any more than it already has been.

    Thank you.
    Anne G

  2. Anne Gilbert Says:

    All:

    I have just written a letter to the Seattle City Council in support of some proposals to keep library hours and services more or less as they are now. These proposals came from Councilman Nick Licata, in conjunction with the Seattle City Librarian and the Library Board. The text of this proposal is on my blog, The Writer’s Daily Grind at:

    http://www.writersdailygrind.blogspot.com

    if you care to look at it. Especially interesting is the proposal for a dedicated fund, similar to the one the King County Library System has. Such a fund would go a long way to preventing the kind of disaster our library system faces now.
    Anne G


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