Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Help students with understanding homework assignments and building academic skills! July 29, 2011

Filed under: Youth and Family Initiative — friendsofspl @ 9:03 am
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Put your youth tutoring and mentoring skills to use at The Seattle Public Library! The Library is seeking Homework Help volunteers to assist mainly ESL students in grades one through 12 with homework assignments and academic skills throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

Volunteers will help students with homework assignments in English, literature, math, history, science and other school subjects. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college and have experience assisting youth as a tutor, teacher or parent. Volunteers must be comfortable tutoring students in small groups and one-on-one.

 

The volunteer application deadline is Monday, Aug. 15. For more information, contact Anne Vedella, volunteer services coordinator, at anne.vedella@spl.org by Wednesday, Aug. 10. A volunteer application can be downloaded from www.spl.org by clicking on “Support Your Library” and then “Volunteer Opportunities.”

Homework Help will be offered Monday, Sept. 26, 2011 through Thursday, June 14, 2012. Volunteers will be scheduled for weekly two-hour shifts. Those who cannot make weekly commitments can be scheduled as substitutes.

Homework Help will be offered at the Library locations listed below.

  • Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave. S.
  • Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N.
  • Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S.
  • Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way S.W.
  • Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St.
  • Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E.
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S.
  • Northgate Branch, 10548 5th Ave. N.E.
  • Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. S.
  • South Park Branch, 8604 8th Ave. S.

 

Get to Know Your City Council Candidates – Jean Godden July 26, 2011

Jean Godden – Candidate for Position 1 (Incumbent)

When you reflect on the Seattle Public Library system, what three things first come to mind?

  • Knowledge
  • Service
  • Empowerment

Given the myriad of essential human services provided by the City of Seattle, where do you rank funding for the Seattle Public Library?  Would you put it in the top, middle or bottom tier of priorities? 

The Seattle Public Library is one of the greatest assets of this city and the envy of cities around the world. I would certainly place it in the top tier of city priorities and, throughout my years at the council, have endeavored to do so.  Making such a resource available to the public is not only beneficial our city’s culture and prestige – it is also a social justice issue.

In a time of economic recession, it is imperative that our citizens, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, have places to go to access computers, to type resumes, and to search for jobs online. It is imperative that children whose families cannot afford luxuries such as encyclopedias and the latest books of fiction have a place to go to do research projects and enjoy the wonders of reading a great novel.

I was thus disturbed when, at a candidates’ forum, one of my opponents stated that funding libraries was a “low” priority. In contrast, funding libraries has been, and will remain, a priority for me. My reelection will ensure that the Friends of the Seattle Public Library will continue to have a friend and ally on the Council.

The Seattle Public Library has sustained budget cuts of nearly $10 million from its annual budget since 2009, resulting in Friday closures at 15 branches, employee furloughs, lay-offs, and a decrease in the collections budget. Given the City revenue shortfalls projected for 2011 and 2012, what are your views on maintaining funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs and services?

One of the greatest challenges we face is to keep the Seattle Public Library and its services strong. I am well aware that the library has sustained huge budget cuts since the beginning of the recession, as have most areas of city government. The city and library are presently exploring some innovative means of ensuring strong financial support for the library system in the future.  We will need input from the public and from supporters of the library system to determine the best pathway to preserve and enhance our library system.  You have my commitment to work tirelessly to ensure that funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs, and services remains in place, and to work to increase funding when this recession turns around.

 

As the Library’s new strategic plan states, “changes in how people access and use information, interact with one another, and in the resources, tools and capabilities needed to operate effectively in today’s society require new approaches to the services and resources that the library provides”.  What is your vision for the library of the future, and how would you support SPL’s evolution over the next 5 years?

 

The library of the future undoubtedly will look very different as we move toward more electronic services. Already, our collections may be almost as digital as they are now paper and print. The ability to keep abreast of the immense changes and advances in transmission of knowledge will be reflected in the library system. As more materials are accessible electronically, hopefully our libraries will be able to more effectively offer access, both at the library and remotely, to the vast store of resources that we have. As the Seattle Library continues to move into the future, we must join and celebrate the evolution, keeping abreast with services, resources, and access to all.

This will require investment and resolve on the part of a city that loves its libraries and endeavors to ensure predictable long-term support. We must ensure that our technology remains ahead of the curve. We must ensure that, through innovation and excellent customer support, libraries remain relevant and essential for the next generation. However, we cannot forget that serving all members of the public remains our focus. As technology advances, we must be cognizant not to “leave behind” citizens who are unfamiliar or unskilled with new technology. To this end, I want to expand the ability of our libraries to offer training classes that will teach people how to utilize technological advancements. And I want to ensure that wonderful library employees are always available to assist those who have questions or need help locating a resource.

 

Your Next 5 Books July 24, 2011

Filed under: What we read — friendsofspl @ 1:30 pm
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Do you ever look at all the book choices out there and wish someone could just tell you what to read next?  Wish no more!  The Seattle Public Library has started Your Next 5 Books, a program that does just that.  Simply write a message about the kind of things you like to read.  Write about authors, genres and subject matter; the more information the better.  Then a librarian at Seattle Public Library will come up with a list of 5 (or sometimes more) books that they think you will enjoy.  Click here to try it.  A few of the Friends Board members have tried the service and were impressed with the results.  Also, check out Hillary Warden’s review of her experience with Your Next 5 Books on Thothy Blog.

Happy reading!

 

Get to Know Your City Council Candidates – David Schraer July 21, 2011

David Schraer – Candidate for Position 7

When you reflect on the Seattle Public Library system, what three things first come to mind? 

  • “Library culture” – welcoming to all, civil relationships without coercion, staff interested in the visitors interests, furthering the visitors self‐improvement, joy in learning and pure selfentertainment.
  • Efficiency – no other government institution provides so much, to so many, for so little, and with less bureaucracy or more civility.
  • Self‐improvement – the library is a place where the least among us can find educational resources and refuge from a hard life at no cost and without enduring the bias they experience in other areas of life.

Given the myriad of essential human services provided by the City of Seattle, where do you rank funding for the Seattle Public Library?  Would you put it in the top, middle or bottom tier of priorities? 

The Seattle Public Library is on a par with Public Health in the top tier of essential services. The Free Public Library is one of the great American inventions. The inventor, Franklin, was the founder whose life best captures the combination of independence of mind, curiosity, self-improvement and civil development embodied and institutionalized in free public libraries. The culture that has developed around libraries strives to welcome and serve all people equally.

The Seattle Public Library has sustained budget cuts of nearly $10 million from its annual budget since 2009, resulting in Friday closures at 15 branches, employee furloughs, lay-offs, and a decrease in the collections budget. Given the City revenue shortfalls projected for 2011 and 2012, what are your views on maintaining funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs and services?

I believe in expanding library services – because libraries are the most cost effective way to put resources in the hands of those who need them most. Libraries are a wide ranging prevention service – helping all people make good choices about health and juveniles to make good choices about their future, among many other examples, by being a place to come for nonjudgmental help in the access of good information, directly and, more importantly, indirectly through literary and other arts.

As the Library’s new strategic plan states, “changes in how people access and use information, interact with one another, and in the resources, tools and capabilities needed to operate effectively in today’s society require new approaches to the services and resources that the library provides”.  What is your vision for the library of the future, and how would you support SPL’s evolution over the next 5 years?

Especially in low‐income neighborhoods or those where juvenile crime is high and services low, libraries should be open from very early in the morning to very late at night. Residents in these neighborhoods often work two jobs. Children who are left to fend for themselves have few free places to go where they will find something constructive to do.

The book is not dead but many other vehicles for the transmission of information are very much alive. From what I can see, the Seattle Public Library has done a good job keeping up with technology change and providing a bridge to advanced technology for people who would otherwise not have access. This tradition must continue.

 

Get to Know Your City Council Candidates – Brad Meacham July 13, 2011

Brad Meacham – Candidate for Position 3

When you reflect on the Seattle Public Library system, what three things first come to mind?

Public libraries are important pillars of our city and play a particularly critical role in disadvantaged communities:

1)      Libraries provide a gateway to new worlds. No place encourages serendipitous learning like a community library. For young people, libraries serve as an important educational environment and can be a place to go after school and on weekends. Libraries can be a source of stability and a ticket to places beyond the day-to-day world.

2)      Libraries provide access to technology and information. Access to computers and the internet can be the difference that helps a disadvantaged person get a job or turn their job into a career. Libraries are an essential source for news and information about the community for people of all ages.

3)      Libraries aren’t open enough. My local library in Columbia City is closed all day Friday and Sunday and is only open 7 hours a day the other days. That isn’t enough for people who have busy and irregular schedules – the people who need the services the most. We should encourage library usage and learning, not discourage it by cutting hours.

 

Given the myriad of essential human services provided by the City of Seattle, where do you rank funding for the Seattle Public Library?  Would you put it in the top, middle or bottom tier of priorities? 

Funding for the SPL is a top priority. Public libraries played a critical role in my life and I want to ensure that they can serve the young people of today and the future equally well.

 

The Seattle Public Library has sustained budget cuts of nearly $10 million from its annual budget since 2009, resulting in Friday closures at 15 branches, employee furloughs, lay-offs, and a decrease in the collections budget. Given the City revenue shortfalls projected for 2011 and 2012, what are your views on maintaining funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs and services?

Libraries are a basic city service so we must find ways to maintain hours, staffing, collections, programs and services. We should identify a stable funding source for libraries, for example by changing state law to allow creation of a library district in Seattle. The King County library district has been able to raise additional funds directly and citizens have shown consistently that they are willing to invest in libraries. The city of Seattle is among the most literate places in the country so there should be widespread voter support for a mechanism to provide dedicated funding. Libraries shouldn’t have to compete with other city priorities.

 

As the Library’s new strategic plan states, “changes in how people access and use information, interact with one another, and in the resources, tools and capabilities needed to operate effectively in today’s society require new approaches to the services and resources that the library provides”.  What is your vision for the library of the future, and how would you support SPL’s evolution over the next 5 years?

Even more than today, the library of the future is an information center and a hub for the community. Everywhere I go people ask “what can the City Council do to improve education?” I believe securing funding to improve libraries would represent great progress. Libraries should be a place to find information, regardless of the medium. This means funding collections as well as providing more computers and internet access. For young people, it means ensuring librarians, tutors and staff are available at all hours and that there is plenty of space at each library facility for users. It’s impossible to know exactly what shape the future library will take but we must be prepared with stable funding and strong leadership. On the Council, I would ask the professional SPL staff and board to provide innovative recommendations and I would be the strongest possible supporter.

 

Get to Know Your City Council Candidates – Maurice Classen July 7, 2011

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library have sent a questionaire to all of this year’s City Council candidates.  We’ll be posting each candidate’s responses here. Keep an eye on this blog to see each candidate’s position on the Library.

Maurice Classen – Candidate for Position 1

When you reflect on the Seattle Public Library system, what three things first come to mind?

The Seattle Public Library system is (1) a shared source of community knowledge and home for education; (2) a system that provides opportunities for all across economic and social backgrounds; and (3) a strong source of civic pride.  The role that the library plays in our community is multi-faceted and is critical to both our shared community identity and our future.  The library has gained national recognition both for the buildings that house its activities and the repository of information contained inside its walls.  Having spent countless library hours during law school and as a reader within the Capitol Hill and downtown branches, I fundamentally believe our library system is critical to our sense of identity as one of the most educated cities in America, and for the future of our community.

Given the myriad of essential human services provided by the City of Seattle, where do you rank funding for the Seattle Public Library?  Would you put it in the top, middle or bottom tier of priorities? 

As much as I value the library system and believe it is critical to our future as a city, I believe city officials must be as transparent as possible in dealing with the budget and I cannot prioritize the SPL system above public safety or public health.  Therefore, I would list funding for the Seattle Public Library in the middle tier of priorities for the city.

The Seattle Public Library has sustained budget cuts of nearly $10 million from its annual budget since 2009, resulting in Friday closures at 15 branches, employee furloughs, lay-offs, and a decrease in the collections budget. Given the City revenue shortfalls projected for 2011 and 2012, what are your views on maintaining funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs and services?

As I stated above, the paramount duty for a public official in budget negotiations is transparency and open dialogue.  I believe that a leader should state his or her principles up front and move forward with all parties in an open dialogue about the particular facts of a budget.  While none of us yet have an understanding for the coming budget, it is likely that we will face further deficits in our city and all departments will be required to sacrifice.  However, I remain committed to protecting as many branch and staff hours at the SPL system as possible.  In addition, I would engage the employees in the library system in the budget process by ensuring dollar-for-dollar credit toward budget cuts for any cost savings or efficiencies that the system can find.  Obviously, we are all forced to deal with incredible challenges given the nature of our current economic state, however, I will do everything in my power to protect the library system from further cuts.

As the Library’s new strategic plan states, “changes in how people access and use information, interact with one another, and in the resources, tools and capabilities needed to operate effectively in today’s society require new approaches to the services and resources that the library provides”.  What is your vision for the library of the future, and how would you support SPL’s evolution over the next 5 years?

 Libraries are critical to the exchange and dissemination of information in the coming decades.  As access to information becomes more stratified by economic status, libraries serve all members of our community equally and can become a “great evener” of system delivery.  The library must continue to provide access to information to all citizens equally.  Further, given that more and more information is available via the internet and non-written formats (DVDs, audio files, etc.), the library system must continue to focus on changes in the way that information is delivered and that could include prioritizing non-written formats on the same level as written forms.  My support for the library system will be steadfast over the next five years and I am committed to returning the system to its full capacity as soon as possible and moving toward greater investments as our economy improves.

 

 
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