Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

2013 Annual Meeting October 2, 2013

On Sunday, October 6th, 2013, The Friends of The Seattle Public Library will hold its 72nd Annual meeting from 2-4 p.m. at the Queen Anne Library, 400 W Garfield (there is free on street parking surrounding the library). In addition to presenting an update on the activities and accomplishments of the Friends during the past year, the membership will elect new officers and board members.
The Friends 2013 Annual Members Meeting will also include a panel discussion in which local booksellers talk about the future of bookstores and libraries and their evolving roles in our community. The conversation will be moderated by Seattle City Librarian Marcellus Turner. If you would like more information on the 2013 Annual Meeting or to learn more about the Friends of the Seattle Public Library, please visit our website at or contact Alice Springer, at

Statement of Friends Activities

From revenues raised in 2012 by the Book Sales, FriendShop and other sources, the Friends made grants to the Library and contributed to the Libraries Yes! levy campaign as well as GiveBig to Books. These revenues also funded the Friends’ advocacy and community education activities. Find more financial info

2012 Grant Results

In 2012, $60,000 in grants made by the Friends to the Library supported the Summer Reading Program, Youth Programming and Staff Training. In addition, $50,000 in 2010 grants supported the Library’s Digital Media Lab project.
Find more about how the Library used these grants


Holiday Greetings from the Friends December 12, 2012

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As we move through the holiday season from the lighting of the first Chanukah candles though Christmas and the New Year, I wanted to take an opportunity to wish all of our members, volunteers, and other supporters a happy holiday season and a healthy and joyful 2013.

The Friends has much to be joyful for, and we look forward to an exciting year ahead. We are looking forward to a full schedule of three “mini” book sales and one “big” book sale, similar to those we held this past year. We are pleased to have many new and returning volunteers for our sorting operations and our sales, and we look forward to adding more throughout next year.

We will continue our exciting children’s book give-away program. The books are provided by our partner Discover Books, and are in wonderful condition. This year, to date, we’ve given over 12,000 books to children in K-5 Title I schools. We anticipate a far greater volume in the coming year.

The Friends received its Teacher Voucher grant for 2013 from the Fisher Foundation. We will be providing 120 vouchers to teachers from Title I schools. Each teacher will be able to “purchase” 100 books for his or her classroom library.

Our FriendShop continues to offer both fun and useful items to Library patrons, tourists, and other visitors to the Central Branch. This year, we were pleased to offer used books, provided by Discover Books, which have been a big hit with our public and library visitors.

The Friends looks forward to our second annual New Year’s Eve Party for Literacy. We are also planning a new and exciting fund-raising event to be held in the fall.

Our website is being updated more frequently, and we look forward to providing current information and year-end financial summaries in the near future. And postings of Friends activities can also be found on Facebook and Twitter!

We are extremely grateful to our members for their continued support, generosity, and time. We look forward to providing you with new member benefits, increasing our membership in the New Year.

Happy holidays and thanks to all.

Maggie Taylor
President, Board of Trustees


News and Updates December 7, 2012

Filed under: About Us — friendsofspl @ 1:10 pm

Dear Friends:

As you may know, the Magnuson hangar and space in which the Friends formerly sorted and stored books is being renovated. That renovation forced all tenants to relocate by the end of September of this year. The Parks Department did not have another facility to offer the Friends during the renovation and so a special committee of the Friends  spent the past year and more trying to find an alternative space for the Friends’ office and operations. They were successful and the Friends recently moved to a 10,000+ square foot facility on the second floor of the Washington Talking Books & Braille Library located downtown at 9th and Lenora. This is the new, permanent home of the Friends’ office and sorting facilities.
There were many pieces to the move. For example, the Friends received a grant from the Fisher Foundation last year to help get quality books into Title One Schools. The Friends utilized that grant to provide teachers in Title One Schools vouchers that can be used to purchase books at any of the Friends’ sales. Just a few weeks prior to the move, the Friends held a “Teachers Book Sale” at which teachers of Title One Schools could use their remaining vouchers to buy young adult and children’s books for their classrooms. Over 1,000 books were sold at the sale and I am happy to report that the Fisher Foundation has just awarded the Friends with a grant of $12,500 for the remainder of 2012 through 2013.
The Friends moved into its new space the first week of October and since then has been busy hooking up computers, configuring the space for sorting needs, determining the most space efficient ways to store books, training new volunteers and basically settling in. During the move, library cast-offs were picked up directly from the library by B-Logistics and sold online. These sales yielded a continuous revenue stream for the Friends during the move and money for the Library in the form of consignment fees. Now that we are moved into our new space the library cast-offs are beginning to be routed to our new facility, volunteer sorting schedules are being set and soon regular donation drop-off times will be set as well. In the interim, if you have a donation to drop-off, the date and time can be arranged directly with the book sale office (206-682-7567), which is open Tuesday through Saturday.
While engaged in the move, our interim book sale director, Alice Springer and her assistant, Katy, were also avidly scouting locations for a Holiday Sale. They successfully negotiated a space at the Seattle Center and with the dust not yet settled at the Friends’ new space, commenced sorting operations, publicity and all the other work that goes into a “Better Books” and audio/visual media Holiday Sale. The Holiday Sale will be held on Saturday, December 8th in the Lopez Room at the Seattle Center. In addition to the Better Books and DVDs, CDs, and Audio Books offered for sale, gift items from the FriendShop will also be available.
To round out 2012, our Vice President, Neil Bergquist, is spearheading a New Year’s Eve Party for Literacy. Neil launched the event last year, independent of the Friends, and the event raised more than $3,000 for the Library’s Homework Help program. We are hoping for even more success this year. Information regarding the event is at
Alice’s plans for the book sale in 2013 are already well in motion and three sales are planned in February, April and early June of 2013. As Magnuson will still be unavailable during those months, locations are currently being scouted for those sales. Once locations are found, those sales will be announced to members and the public, via email and the website and closer to the sale date, through flyers, social media and traditional media outlets.
In September 2013, we will return to the newly renovated Magnuson hangar for a “mega-sale” the 20th-22nd.
There are a lot of exciting changes happening in the organization right now. Please check your email and our website regularly for updated information.

Very truly yours,

The Board of the Friends of the Seattle Public Library

Friends of The Seattle Public Library Annual Meeting October 2, 2011

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The Friends of The Seattle Public Library Annual Meeting will be held this Sunday, October 9 at 2:00 PM at the Greenwood Library.  This year’s speaker is Washington State Book Award winner Doug Merlino, author of The Hustle: One Team and Ten Lives in Black and White.  We hope you can join us!


2010 Friends of SPL Wrap-up January 13, 2011

Now that 2010 is over and a new year is beginning it is time to reflect on what we did in the last year and look forward to 2011.  2010 was a busy year for the Friends and the Library, here are just some of the highlights (and lowlights) of last year:

  • The year started out with tough city-wide budget cuts.  15 of our branch libraries were reduced in hours.
  • Seattle Public Library began working on a strategic plan.  Citizens and the Friends were asked for input.
  • The Friends’ Book Sales were a huge success.  We held Spring, Fall and Holiday Sales.  We are always impressed by the great turn out of donations, volunteers and of course, shoppers!
  • The Friends Blog partnered with the Seattle Public Library to get out the word about the Summer Reading Program.
  • The FriendShop had tons of great featured artist events all year long.
  • The Friends were seen at Farmer’s Markets all over the city to spread the word about what we do and to get people excited about the Seattle Public Library.
  • Once again, the Library closed for a week-long furlough leading up to Labor Day to help close the budget gap.
  • On October 1, the Friends held a reading flash mob in Westlake Center.  It was fun and attracted a lot of media attention!
  • The Friends created a Public Service Announcement.   Look for it on the Seattle Channel!
  • Building 30 at Magnuson Park where the Book Sales are held has been in danger of being closed.  The Friends have been trying to get the word out to save this great space for ourselves and other groups all over Seattle.
  • The Friends have partnered with the Fisher Foundation in Connecticut to get books into classrooms in need.
  • City Librarian Susan Hildreth was appointed Director of Museum and Library Services by the President!

Now that was a busy year!  What does 2011 have in store?  Probably a tight city budget again.  A search for a new City Librarian.  Definitely some Book Sales and great finds at the FriendShop.  Happy New Year!


Come to Our Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 24! October 22, 2010

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This Sunday is the Friends of the Seattle Public Library’s Annual Meeting.  The meeting will be held at Douglas-Truth Library at 2:00.  Come enjoy refreshments and hear a talk from Washington State Book Award Winner, Carol Yoon.  Ms. Yoon will be discussing her book, Naming Nature:  The Clash Between Instinct and Science.   Hope to see you there!


Sounds of Vietnam – Folk Music to Make You Smile! August 15, 2010

Back by popular demand, Canadian duo Khac Chi performs traditional Vietnamese folk music with lively new arrangements, light-hearted humor and creative stage antics.  We’re sure that this year’s shows will delight young and old from ages  4 – adult again.  You can see them perform at 4 different locations this week:

  • Central Library:  Microsoft Auditorium, 2 p.m. Friday, August 20
  • Rainier Beach Branch:  11 a.m. Saturday, August 21
  • Beacon Hill Branch:   3 p.m. Saturday, August 21
  • Lake City Branch:  2 p.m. Saturday, August 22

Armchair Travels: What the Board is Reading July 14, 2010

The board members of the Friends of the Seattle Public Library seem to be doing a lot of armchair traveling these days, even if it’s exploring what it means to be an outsider here in America.  Here’s a sample of what they’re reading in case you’re looking for recommendations:

Tall Man : The Death of Doomadgee, by Chloe Hooper.  This true-crime story explores the death of an Australian Aborigine who was arrested for swearing at a white police officer and then died in jail within an hour.  While the book follows the manslaughter trial, Hooper also explores Aboriginal life and the long history of institutional racism in Australia.  Board member Connie found the story tragic, exhausting, and worth reading.  Critics have compared the novel favorably to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.



Nomad’s Hotel : Travels in Time and Space, by Cees Nooteboom; translated from the Dutch by Ann Kelland.  Nooteboom is a Dutch novelist and travel writer, and this series of travel essays covers trips made from the 1970s through 2002.  The Booklist review notes that “descriptive travelogue ranks second to considerations of the destinations as repositories of the past. Whether in Venice, Isfahan, or Timbuktu, Nooteboom sees a place through its physical relics and literary associations. The traveler’s innate foreignness, however well informed before arrival in a new place, burgeons with significance for Nooteboom. A traveler arrives, sees, and departs, not likely to return.”


Gertrude Bell : Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, by Georgina Howell.   Board member Mary enjoyed this biography of Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary woman who took the world by storm in the early 1900s.   The starred review in Booklist by Donna Seaman notes that “Born to British industrial wealth and civic prominence during the Victorian era, [Gertrude Bell] possessed boundless self-confidence, courage, and vitality. The first woman to earn top honors in history at Oxford, Bell was fluent in six languages, and became an intrepid traveler and celebrated mountaineer. Tragically unlucky in love, she romanced the world instead. Discovering her spiritual home in the Middle East, Bell transformed herself into a cartographer, archaeologist, writer, and photographer as she undertook perilous journeys to fabled desert outposts, commanding the respect of powerful Bedouin sheikhs. During World War I, Bell became the expert on Mesopotamia for British military intelligence, and a more crucial force in the forming of modern Iraq than that of her friend, T. E. Lawrence. From Cairo to Basra to Baghdad, Bell, against fierce adversity, devoted herself to justice.”

Digging to America, by Anne Tyler (e-book read by Blair Brown).  This novel follows two families who meet by chance at the airport to greet their newly adopted baby girls from Korea.  One family is very “American,” while the other family has more recent immigrant roots.  As the two families get to know each other, the Iranian-born narrator grandmother explores impressions of American, and what it means to try to fit in . . . . or not.  Board member Joan especially enjoyed listening to Blair Brown’s reading of the book, so the link above is to the Books on Tape version, which can be downloaded electronically.  It is of course also available in hardback and in large print.





Science Friction — Hot Summer Science Programs Featured in the Summer Reading Program July 11, 2010

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Northwest Science Writers Association to present two hot, hot, HOT programs at the Central Library:

The Science of Avatar:  Scientists will discuss real research frontiers touched on by the hit movie Avatar, and will take questions from the audience.  Ex-astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, president and chief executive of the Museum of Flight, will moderate the discussion.  For ages 12 and up on Sunday, July 18, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library.

Sparring Scientists:  Is Pluto a Planet?:  Alan Boyle, author of The Case for Pluto and a nationally known science blogger at msnbc, will discuss fights in the scientific community as to how to define a planet.  His book will be available for purchase at the program. For ages 12 and up on Sunday, August 29, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library.


The Friends of the Seattle Public Library Win Baker and Taylor Award June 16, 2010

Filed under: About Us,library budget — friendsofspl @ 4:02 pm
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Big congratulations for the Friends of the Seattle Library for winning the Baker and Taylor Award!  The Baker and Taylor Award recognizes Friends groups that do an outstanding job supporting their library.  The Friends of SPL had an outstanding year in 2009.  Not only did we tirelessly raise funds to support Seattle Public Library but we also spearheaded a campaign to have funds restored to the Library’s budget!  Over $800,000 were restored by the City Council!   Thanks to all the Friends and supporters for making all our efforts successful.  Also a big thanks to our admin Alice Springer for compiling and sending in our application.  City Librarian Susan Hildreth will accept the award at the upcoming American Library Association Conference.  To learn more about the Baker and Taylor Award click here.



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