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


Books for Children – Van Asselt School October 7, 2012

Filed under: In The Community,Young readers — friendsofspl @ 10:46 pm
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On Thursday, October 4, the Friends teamed with Discover Books and PCC Markets to give away 3,000 books to the children of Van Asselt School.  The children showed their thanks with a song:

  I cannot tell you the joy books can bring
  they have the power to make your heart sing
  I can remember such wonderful times
  Learning and thinkng about books
  Over and over and o’er again
  I’m floating high and low
  I can remember such wonderful times
  Learning and thinking with books.

Beacon Hill Library Helps Neighborhood Attract National Attention October 5, 2012

Patrons entering the popular Beacon Hill branch Library

Beacon Hill is one of America’s top neighborhoods according to the American Planners Association (APA) .  Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012 exemplify “exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners  play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and creating jobs,”  the APA writes in their October 1 announcement of the award. Beacon Hill was chosen specifically because of its “ethnic and architectural diversity, scenic vistas, history and amenities.” Lyle Bicknell of the Seattle Department of Planning and Developement cited Beacon Hill Library and the Beacon Hill Light Rail station as important components driving the decision in his comments to KOMO radio news.

The Beacon Hill branch Library, situated half a block from the Light Rail station, offers Homework help 4-8 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday,  Beginning ESL classes, Toddler, Family and Preschool Storytimes, and Bi-Lingual Play and Learn groups that strengthen and reflect the diverse community. In addition the Library hosts large groups in its spacious meeting room, presents one time programs such as Health Care Counseling  for Mandarin, Cantonese and English speakers, and hosts the Beacon Hill Resource Center maintained by Beacon Hill Merchants.

Washington artist Miles Pepper’s kinetic boat sculpture rises above the entry to Beacon Hill branch Library.

The Beacon Hill Branch Library garnered two of its own national awards in 2005 and 2003. It was one of 100 most “noteworthy personalities, places  and extraordinary objects in the world of innovative design,”  according to Metropolitan Home in 2005 just one year after it opened. In 2003, Seattle Design Commission recognized it for Design Excellence citing “bold, modern design.”

In a Friends of The Seattle Public Library profile of Beacon Hill patron Tess Martin she notes, ” Beacon Hill is very diverse, and there are few places where all the different populations can mingle. The library is a great place for that.” Users on Yelp give consistently high ratings to Beacon Hill branch citing great staff, wide and diverse collections, ample parking, and user friendly modern design. Libraries contribute to the quality of our lives and they anchor our neighborhoods. Congratulations to the Beacon Hill branch library for its role in bringing national recognition to Beacon Hill Neighborhood.


More Photos from the Book Giveaways! June 21, 2012

Filed under: In The Community,Summer Reading Program — friendsofspl @ 8:08 am

B-Logistics gave away 9,000 books to the students of Sanislo, Thurgood Marshall, and Rainier View schools.  The events were facilitated by Joan Abrevaya of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library.

“The kids knew they got to take home the books but asked me for how long,” said Abrevaya. “They were thrilled and shocked when I told them FOREVER.”


Reports from the Book Giveaway Events

Filed under: In The Community,Summer Reading Program — friendsofspl @ 7:39 am

When Olga to Seattle from Guatamala two years ago she could speak no words of English.

She was placed in a school for non-English speakers and last year moved to Thurgood Marshall Elementary in south Seattle, where now, as a 5th grader, is reading at her grade level.

Next year she’ll move to middle school.  “Olga did not have a magic wand.  Olga did the work,” said Julie Breidenbach, principal of Thurgood Marshall.

She did have a magic wand of sorts, the Friends of The Seattle Public Library, which is partnering with B-Logistics/Thrift Recycling to donate thousands of books to local elementary schools to encourage students to read over the summer.

At Thurgood Marshall, 4,000 books were donated by B-Logistics, through the Friends.  Many came from donations to PCC markets throughout the city.

    “We’re so happy you can enjoy these books,” said Joan Abrevaya, with the Friends, at a special assembly at Thurgood Marshall. Students in the K-5th grade can choose five books each toward the goal of reading 10 books this summer-considered the magic number to prepare students for school next year.

The book donation began at Stanislo Elementary School  in Southwest Seattle, with 3,000 books for its students. Rainier View Elementary will receive 2,000 books.

“The conditions are beyond unbelievable,” said Abrevaya, of the 9,000 books donated by B-Logistics. “They’re gorgeous.”


Books for Summer Reading June 11, 2012

Filed under: In The Community,Summer Reading Program — friendsofspl @ 12:22 am

On May 31, the students of Sanislo School in West Seattle kicked off their summer reading with a Family Literacy Night.  The Friends of the Seattle Public Library and B-Logistics teamed up to provide 10 free books for each student to take home for summer reading.  The event also featured poetry readings from the students of Sanislo.











Two more book giveaway events are coming up soon:

  • June 15 at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
  • June 18 at Rainier View Elementary School

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!


Help Save the Friends Book Sale November 4, 2010

The Friends have been holding their twice-yearly Book Sales for thirteen years in Building 30 at Magnuson Park. Recently, the Parks Department was notified by the Department of Planning and Development and the Fire Marshall’s office that, since holding events in Building 30 has been a non-conforming use, the building requires updates to meet current code to become an event facility. Therefore, DPD will now seriously curtail the number of events permitted.

Although the Book Sale will be able to hold its spring 2011 and fall 2011 sales, there is no guarantee that we will be able to continue to do so in the future. The Friends have not been able to find a comparable, affordable, alternative space to building 30 at Magnuson Park.

The Mayor has proposed allocating funds to help get Building 30 at Magnuson Park up to code for community use on his Web site, along with reasons why it would even help the Parks department. You can help buy going to the Mayor’s site and posting a comment in support of the funds going towards Building 30.

We also urge you to contact the Seattle City Council ask them to support the allocation of funds to renovate Building 30 so that the Book Sale and other events that provide important contributions to the greater Seattle community can continue.

The Friends are in jeopardy of losing access to Building 30 at Magnuson Park, here are a few good reasons to help us try to save it:

  • From Book Sale profits, the Friends have donated over $1 million in the last five years to The Seattle Public Library for programs and initiatives not covered by the city’s general fund for operating expenses.
  • The Book Sale recycles back into the community hundreds of thousands of books each year.
  • Local teachers are able to pick out books for free for their classrooms.
  • Without this funding, more than 40 events, many hosted by other non-profit groups, would be out of an affordable, efficient, space.
  • You, your family, friends, and neighbors can get rid of old books and buy scads of other books for $1 AND support the Library.
  • Without this funding, the Book Sale is in jeopardy. The Book Sales not only provide a community service, not only is nationally recognized as one of the largest sales of its kind in existence, but is a valued tradition for the Seattle community and brings attention to raising funds and awareness for The Seattle Public Library.

How to help:
The Friends have not been able to find a comparable, affordable, alternative space to building/hangar 30 at Magnuson Park. Please contact the Seattle City Council and Mayor and urge them to find the funds to renovate Building 30 so that the Book Sale and other events that provide important contributions to the greater Seattle community can continue.

You can also post a comment on:
Mayor McGinn’s Web site…
The Stranger’s blog…


The Friends pair with Connecticut foundation to provide books for local classrooms

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library have paired with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation’s Books for Teachers program.  The Fisher Foundation provides the Friends with a grant to provide qualifying teachers with vouchers for books that they can spend at our Book Sales.  Each teacher can spend up to $100 on books for their classrooms!  To qualify, teachers must work at a school where the majority of students are in need.

So far, the program has been a huge success.  The Friends  have provided more than 10,000 books free of charge to Seattle public school teachers at the 2010 Book Sales. We hope to be able to continue working with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to fill many more local classrooms with books!  Here is some feedback from happy teachers:

“I left with over 119 books!!!  WOW!!!…I came back to school and added them to the classroom library.”

“My students LOVED the books!  They cheered when Joan dropped off the vouchers, and cheered again when I showed them the pile of books on Monday morning.  They have been enjoying browsing and reading in their reading classes, their silent reading times, or even in their spare time.  I love that I was able to get all kinds of genres and all reading levels for my very diverse group of learners!”

“Thank you and thank you to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.  I went on Saturday and spent a bit over four hours searching for picture books for my Kindergarteners.  Those four hours were the best hours of my weekend since I knew deep inside I was giving up my personal time to make a huge difference.  It was fun to meet my colleagues there and talk to them across isles when a title of a book crossed my mind.  What I’m tying to say is that we not only got a chance to increase our personal classroom library, but a school wide one.”

And here are some quotes for happy students:

“I love Books!  Like you do!  Reading is fun!  I read a lot!  So I can get smarter!”

“My favorite book is the itsy bitsy spider and the snarly hissopus…All of them are great…so nice, cool, Fabilicious.”

Thanks to the Renee B. Fisher Foundation and to Friends Board Members Joan and Omar for this wonderful program.


Friday, November 5 – “The Hollywood Librarian” October 27, 2010

The community organization Wallingford Neighbors for Peace and Justice will be presenting a free screening of the documentary “The Hollywood Librarian”,, which focuses on the work and lives of librarians.  An open discussion about the complex and democratic nature of librarianship in the age of technology, censorship, library funding, citizenship, and democracy will follow.



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