Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Six-Year-Old Sends Her Allowance to Keep Libraries Open October 3, 2010

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library recently received a letter from one of our supporters, Ani J.  The letter reads:

” Dear Library,

I want to share my allowance money so you can stay open.  I am 6 years old.  Here is $11.  (as dictated to mom, aka scribe)”

Thank you Ani!  Your contribution means so much to us.  We are happy that you use and love The Library.

If you are reading this and also want to help support The Seattle Public Library, an anonymous donor has pledged $500,000 to support The Seattle Public Library if the citizens of Seattle can raise a matching amount.  To donate, go to the Seattle Public Library Foundation website.  Let’s make a million dollars for The Library!

Another way you can help is to attend City Council budget hearings and voice your support for The Library.  Seattle is facing huge budget cuts again this year.  Come and let the Council know how valuable libraries are to our community.  For a schedule of budget hearings go the City Council’s website.


Behind the Scenes… September 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 7:06 pm
Tags: , ,

An inside look at the filming of a public service announcement for the Seattle Public Library.

Books! Reading! Free Community Resources! Did I mention Books? Like I said, this is a campaign I was pleased to be requested for, and proud to be a part of.

I really do think it’s so important for people to know how many resources their public libraries have… at tax time, I’m there to get my forms. Being unemployed this year, I went to the library for forms and seminars, information about job fairs, and I leafed through countless books about sprucing up my resume.

via One Foot on Shore


Policymakers, Please Note: Libraries Are Nation’s Computer Stop March 26, 2010

Are you at home looking at this blog? Are you at work?  We’re willing to bet that almost half of you are looking at this blog from your public library. Every time we walk into a library, we see full computer stations and laptops on desktops. “The computers are always jam-packed with neighbors of all ages, it is almost like the library functions as the South Park Computer Lab,” Shawna Murphy recently told us.

Now, a new study released this week from the University of Washington Information School, reveals exactly how many of us are relying on  library computer access for:  job searches (75% of respondents), health information (82% ), homework (42%), and staying in touch with family and friends (64%).

In the past year, one-third of our national population over the age of 14 used a public library to access a computer or to find wi-fi.

In the past year, 50% of the population between 14 and 18 used library computers – mostly for homework. 

What does this mean? It means libraries are indispensable extensions of our schools. They’re helping our kids with homework and college preparation and keeping our unemployed neighbors hopeful by offering a dependable and resourceful place to look for jobs. They’re bridging the digital divide that could separate us from one another.  They’re  a resource and investment that return exponential value to our communities-especially during periods of recession.

 “Policy makers must fully recognize and support the role libraries are playing in workforce development, education, health and wellness, and the delivery of government services,” Marsha Semmel of the Institute of Museum and Library Services said in response to the study’s findings.   Media headlines about the study also tell the story: “Web Usage up at libraries: many young, low-income people rely on public Internet access for research . . .” writes the Spokesman Review. “A third of Americans — about 77 million people — use public-library computers to look for jobs, connect with friends, do their homework and improve their lives,” writes the Seattle Times, citing the study’s findings. 

What can you do to help our libraries? Get involved with the Friends of The Seattle Public Library.


Up Close and Personal at the South Park Branch Library March 20, 2010

Shawna Murphy

“I feel so personal about the South Park library,” Shawna Murphy told us.  “In this library, the staff know me and my family. The  level of service is just unbelievable. We’re all on a first name basis at my branch!”  Talk to anyone from this close-knit neighborhood and you’ll probably hear about two things: the pending closure of the South Park Bridge and reduced hours at the South Park Branch library. “Without the bridge out of the neighborhood the community will depend even more on our small library branch,” Murphy pointed out.

“Our library always has a lot going on,” Murphy, a mother and child care provider explained. ” The older kids in the neighborhood use our library as an afterschool hang out. Our kids section is in the front ¼ of the library so it’s the focal point.  And the computers are always jam-packed with neighbors of all ages, it is almost like the library functions as the South Park Computer Lab. “

Murphy and her small  child care group have been attending Story Time since the South Park branch opened three years ago, but reduced library service hours are impacting that routine.  “Our branch had to change the time of this offering,” Murphy said, “so story time is now offered at 11:15 instead of 10:15.  This new time frame will be a bit of a challenge because it will be cutting into our lunch & nap time and the children will not be at their best.”

In addition, the closure of the South Park branch twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, cuts into Murphy’s personal routine. “Sunday was my personal day to go to the library, without the kids,” she confided.

When faced with dramatic budget cuts, the Seattle Public Library Board tried to equitably spread 7 day a week library service across the city.  Unfortunately, some of the neighborhoods where library service was reduced were in communities, such as South Park, where the library is greatly needed.  Driving to the next closest open library is sometimes difficult or impossible for families, and some report that it takes them two bus rides to find an open library.

Please help these communities by speaking out for restored library hours. Questions?


Speak Out For Libraries At Youth And Family Community Engagement Meetings February 23, 2010

On Feb. 22nd, our elected officials began a civic process that will shape our city. The Seattle City Council announced their ambitious and action oriented 17 priorities for 2010 in the afternoon.  Then, in the evening, Mayor McGinn commenced the first  community engagement meeting on his Youth and Family Initiative.  Citizen input from this and four other community engagement meetings  will guide the development of Mayor McGinn’s important Youth and Family Initiative funding. The City Council will also be watching this input closely, so it will inform their actions as well!

The Youth and Families Initiative is a major initiative that will shape the Mayor’s agenda (and undoubtedly, funding) on issues affecting youth and families from a child’s birth to a successful career track.   We need your help in letting the Mayor and the City Council know what an important role libraries play in helping youth and families.

We know that libraries offer foundational support for youth and families.  Our young people depend on libraries for afterschool visits, study support, storytime, homework help, and afterschool computer access. The partnership between public libraries and schools is well documented, yet people might not think to mention what a critical role our libraries play in our community.  For example, the online form for Youth and Family input doesn’t  list full library access as a possible priority!

How can you help ensure that  our libraries are recognized as priorities for the City and for the Youth and Family Initiative?   Fill out the online form. In the answer to questions 1 and 2 please tell Mayor McGinn that free access (for all) to public educational support is critical and we need to restore library hours for children and families.  Then, please bring your voice for our libraries to a Monday meeting in March. These meetings will not only determine how libraries are perceived, they’ll also influence how the City addresses challenges in the education system.

This is a city powered by community input. These meetings are stimulating and well attended. Speaking out for libraries, right now, will help the Seattle Public Library weather the likely mid-year budget adjustments and help its position in the 2011 budget. Supervised childcare is available at the meetings, and translators are available on-site.   Please attend, and help us restore library hours for schools, families, and children.

These meetings start at 7 and end at 8:30 pm and are at:

March 1 – Northgate Elementary School
March 8 – Van Asselt Elementary School
March 15 – Denny Middle School
March 22 – Garfield Community Center

For more on the Youth and Family Initiative, go to the Youth and Families homepage.

RSVP if you can attend or can help us rally support for libraries.


Concerned Library Patrons Ask Questions At Citizen’s Budget Conference February 1, 2010

Thank you to the library supporters who joined us at the Citizen’s Budget Conference at The Seattle Center House today, Sunday 31 January 2010.  Your voices were heard!

More than half the questions for Councilmembers, in the afternoon panel, regarded the upcoming reduction in hours at many of our neighborhood libraries. “We’re very committed to having the right kind of  budget funding” to support Library collections and provide open hours, Councilmember Conlin, Council President, said. Library operational funds come from the City’s General Budget and, “once you fund safety, which is over 50%,” he said, the library has to compete with other departments for remaining resources.

“We’re starting a 2-3 year process” to “find the way out of this dilemna,” Conlin said, referring to work that will be done in his committee to explore alternate funding sources for our libraries “that can keep [the library] going for the long run.” Councilmember Mike O’Brien added, “We have [library] buildings, we have books, and when we don’t have money to keep the doors open that’s problematic for me.” His remarks drew applause from the audience.

Councilmember Godden noted, “It was difficult for us to find the money {over $800,000 the Council voted to restore in the 2010 library budget}.” She said that people who came to public hearings and emailed and talked to her in public made a difference for the library. Your voices of support helped Council decide to restore funds.  “We heard you. If you care deeply, tell us,” she urged.

Each Councimember gave the audience one tip on how to impact difficult 2011 budget decisions.

Licata, Organize and reach your Councilmembers with concerns.

Rasmussen, Bring your requests to Council but also ask the Mayor to support your cause.

Godden, Participate in the upcoming Spring Roundtable and  come to the Fall budget hearings.

O Brien, Bring a financial solution with your request.

Conlin, Tell us the story and show us how our funding makes a difference. Keep in touch.

Please Email Mayor Mike McGinn with library support and urge your friends and family to contact him. He is thinking about budget issues for 2010 and 2011 right now!


Will Your Neighborhood Library Hours Be Cut on 2/3? What Can You Do to Help? January 28, 2010

Due to budget cuts, operating hours at many Library branches will be reduced starting on February 3.    Click here to see how your neighborhood branch will be affected.

What can you do to help prevent further reductions in Library services?  Our elected officials are setting 2011 (yes, that’s right, 2011) budget priorities now, so here are 3 things you can do now:

1. Attend the Citizen’s Budget Conference 2010 on Sunday, January 31st at the Seattle Center House

Why: The Mayor, City Council members and City agency representatives will be there, and you can ask them questions and tell them why it is important to maintain funding for Library hours and collections.

How: Click here for more info.  There are two key times for speaking in support of The Seattle Public Library

  • 2 to 2:55 pm when The Seattle Public Library gives a presentation
  • 4 to 5 pm for a special meeting of the Seattle City Council Budget Committee to discuss the budget and take public comment

If you plan to attend, please email the Friends’ Advocacy Committee at so we can keep an eye out for you.

2. Send  Mayor McGinn a comment in support of The Seattle Public Library today

Why: Mayor McGinn acts on community voices.  Please tell him why The Library is important to you and our community.

How: Click here for a link to the Mayor’s website, where you can give him your comments and suggestions.  Feel free to send him your own message, but here’s a sample you can use or adapt:

Topic/Subject Line:  No More Budget Reductions for The Seattle Public Library in 2011

Message:  I use [FILL IN YOUR BRANCH ] neighborhood library.  On February 3rd my branch hours are changing.  I want you to support The Seattle Public Library in the 2011 budget.  [PLEASE ADD A PERSONAL MESSAGE ABOUT WHAT THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY MEANS TO YOU AND HOW YOU USE IT]

3. Email Councilmember President Richard Conlin today

Why: Councilmember Conlin now chairs the council’s Library committee, and needs to know how important continued funding is for the Library.

How: Email him at  See the sample message above, or come up with your own message.

If you’d like more information about the 2010 Library budget, click here.  And stay tuned to the Friends’ blog for more information about the 2011 budget.

Thanks for your support; your voices made a difference last year, and can make a difference again this year!


Seattle City Council Passes Option C Funding for The Seattle Public Library November 12, 2009

council_header08Today, November 12, 2009, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to increase the General Subfund (GSF) support for library services by $860,000 in 2010.  As described in the Seattle City Council’s green sheet Tab 94, Action 1, Option C, Version 1, “[$860,000] would restore 140 of the library operating hours that would be eliminated per the 2010 Proposed Budget.  Increasing GSF support for library services by $860,000 would also allow the Library Board to reinstate some of the 27 staff positions (18.8 FTE [Full Time]) that would be eliminated under the 2010 Proposed Budget.”

The new operating hours for The Seattle Public Library will look like this with Option C as per the Seattle City Council’s green sheet Tab 94, Action 1, Option C, Version 1


  • Hours remain at the current seven day, 62 hour weekly schedule

Ballard, Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Douglass-Truth, Greenwood, Lake City, Northeast, Rainier Beach, Southwest and West Seattle:

  • Open 7 Days per week (60 hours per week): 
  • Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 8 pm;
  • Friday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm;
  • Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm

Columbia, Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, High Point, International District/Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, University and Wallingford:

  • Open 5 Days per week (35 hours per week, closed Friday and Sunday): 
  • Monday – Tuesday, 1 pm – 8 pm;
  • Wednesday – Thursday, 11 am – 6 pm;
  • Friday:  CLOSED;
  • Saturday 10 am – 6 pm;
  • Sunday:  CLOSED

Art, Family, Playgrounds and Greenlake Library November 8, 2009

“On a typical Sunday outing we’ll take our bikes and scooters down to the lake, have breakfast, play at the playground, go to the library and go home,” Greenlake patron Rebecca Albiani told us over morning coffee.  The library serves an important role in both her family and professional life. Her eldest son, 8, “is an avid reader; it would bankrupt us to keep him in books by purchasing them,” she said. His current reading list: Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians, Septimus Heap books,  and 39 Clues. The youngest son, 6, “memorizes books so he needs a constant flow of simple stories as he learns to read.”

Titian exhibit[1]In professional life, Rebecca “gives talks for general audiences at the Frye Art Museum.” For the past ten years she’s lectured on everything from ancient Egypt to Pop Art. “I couldn’t do that without the library. Every month I have a new topic. 95 percent of my research materials come from the public library,” she said. Wouldn’t the UW Art Library be a stronger resource, we wondered, but Rebecca said the public library’s catalogue is usually ample. “The public library has THE book on the Index of American Design, for instance, which is the New Deal program I’ll be lecturing on in December. I could get a UW library card but it’s so much more convenient to walk to my public library [Greenlake Walkscore: 89] where I know people who work there and I don’t have to worry about parking.”

“The library is a crucial leveling factor. Plus it is simply a wonderful community gathering place” she told us. “When I think about the proposed library budget I worry about Saturday hours and Sunday closures in particular. On Sunday I see people on computers or sitting in the magazine section—that’s where my husband goes. There are always a lot of families reading to kids or kids coloring. At the playground I often hear moms saying, “Shall we go to the library now?”


Please support Library hours in the 2010 budget.


Seattle Neighborhood Blogs Take Up the Final Call to Action to Save Neighborhood Branch Library Hours November 7, 2009

Neighborhood blogs across Seattle are supporting the Friends of The Seattle Public Library!  Thanks to the Laurelhurst BlogRainier Valley PostWallyhoodMiller Park, Beacon Hill Blog, My Green Lake and Wedgewood Blog for getting your communities involved in this final email campaign and thanks to Blogging Georgetown, Capitol Hill Seattle, Fremont Universe, Greenwood, Magnolia Voice, PhinneyWood, Queen Anne View and West Seattle Blog for their earlier support.

West Seattle BranchWallingford BranchUniversity BranchSouth Park BranchBeacon Hill Branch

Your past emails have made a difference!  Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell, and Licata are committed to preserving the current hours of operations at all neighborhood branches of The Seattle Public Library.  We have launched this final e-mail campaign targeted at Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, McIver, and Rasmussen to urge them to join Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell, and Licata in preserving our present neighborhood Library hours.  Please send the email outlined below today:



SUBJECT:  $1.2 Million Restoration of Library Funds

TEXT: Dear Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, McIver, and Rasmussen,

Please join fellow Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata and vote for Option A to restore the 330 weekly service hours to keep our libraries open normal hours in 2010.

OPTIONAL:  I use the XYZ neighborhood branch for XYZ. OR Share a more personal message about why your neighborhood branch is important to you.

On Nov. 2, Seattle City Councilmembers began discussing four options to partially restore the 5% reduction in the endorsed Library budget. None of the options will prevent another one week furlough in 2010, but the best choice, Option A, does preserve Library hours in your neighborhood branch at their current level and prevents the loss of 27 Library staff positions.

The proposed hours reduction would mean that Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Columbia, Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood, High Point, International District / Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northeast, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, University, Wallingford and West Seattle would be closed on Fridays and Sundays, plus operate at reduced hours – all year.

Thank you Seattle Neighborhood Blogs and their readers for all your support and dedication to your neighborhood library branches.  Please ask your Seattle friends and family to join you in this final email campaign to save neighborhood branch library hours.

Columbia BranchMadronna Sally Goldmark Branch

MontlakeQueen Anne BranchNortheast BranchInternational District Chinatown Branch

Capitol Hill BranchNorthgate BranchNewHolly BranchMagnolia BranchHigh Point BranchBeacon Hill BranchDelridge BranchGreen Lake BranchGreenwood BranchFremont Branch



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.