What’s free in your library? How can we keep your branch strong?

Seattle, you voted with your pocketbooks and now you’re voting with your feet. Our new libraries are busier than ever! In this digital age they carry greater relevance.  They provide a city wide system of support for families, neighborhoods, and individuals. Everything is free at your library and libraries hold more than books.  What’s in our library branches? Community meeting rooms, wi-fi,  author readings, computer access, cultural celebrations, homework help, seasonal tax help, ESL classes, citizenship resources, computer classes, Wii and DDR gaming, digital media, periodic health screenings, summer reading, storytimes….see the web to keep up with all the new events in your neighborhood.

Help Friends of The Seattle Public LIbrary keep your branch open, well staffed, and full of the resources you need. The library is funded by the City of Seattle and dollars are always competitive. We need your voice and support to help elected officials know how important library service is in our lives. You voted for libraries now let’s help elected officials see why they should vote for libraries too. This year’s city budget (Sept/Oct)  will impact two years of library service.  Please find out how you can help.


What the board was reading in July

Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton c. 2007  checked-in at SPL

This is a wonderful description of an idealistic US librarian who goes to Kenya to start a bookmobile serving semi-nomadic groups.  There are serious issues of tradition vs the modern world and eager outsider bumping up against Kenyan bureaucracy.  Lots for a book group to discuss.

The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America by David Domke and Kevin Koe  c 2008  A few holds at SPL

The title give a good idea of the topic but does not convey how readible the book is.  From FDR to Bush II this book chronicles how polititians have used religion to appeal to voters.  This work is especially helpful as we hear from the current crop of candidates.

Quicksilver by Neil Stephenson c 2003  a few holds at SPL

Set in 17th c England, this novel involves three main characters:  a conflicted Puritan, a street urchin who became an adventurer and a spy who was rescued from a Turkish harem.  Sounds like a good one for the plane or the beach.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln  by Doris Kearns Goodwin  c 2003 checked-in at SPL

This very readable history tells how Lincoln brought his opponants together to form the most unusual cabinet in the history of the US.  By involving men who were not his cronies, Lincoln got a team that did much to win the Civil War.

Stay Cool!

Local Talent from West Seattle – Meet Wally!

So I had the pleasure of chatting with Wally in West Seattle a while back and here is a little bit about him.







Wally Bubelis 

West Seattle Library

What is your favorite word? 


What word do you wish you had made up? 

Google – it was coined by the child of a mathematician to describe a one followed by one hundred zeros.  I liked it long before the search engine came along.

How did you become librarian of your branch? 

 I started out long ago as a page and clerk at the old Central library, then got my MLS at the UW.  My first job was as a substitute for branch librarians in an 8-month appointment.  Each day I would show up to work at West Seattle and then take the phone calls sending me out and about.  After that I was hired as a Young Adult Librarian, and I was one of the first wave of that group (and I’m the only one from that first wave who is still here working as a Teen Services Librarian).  I worked out of Northeast, Green Lake, University and Wallingford for a couple years, and then an opening came up at West Seattle.  I jumped at it, since it would take my commute time from two hours daily in the car to a half-hour walk from home.

What is on your desk right now? (photo is ok too) 

Mostly teen novels and prize items for Summer Reading.  I have some copies of VOYA, the trade journal for teen librarians, plus a lot of booklists (I’m the teen booklist editor).

Tell us about your library. 

 West Seattle Library has always been one of my favorites (and I’ve worked at nearly all of them) – it’s a beautiful old Carnegie with lots of light, a great new meeting room (good for our children’s and teen programs), and a classic look.  One story I like to tell patrons who ask about our renovation is how the main floor was sagging – 80-year-old concrete will do that – and how the contractors came in, jacked up the entire floor about 6 inches, inserted two massive I-beam girders underneath the floor, and then lowered the floor to rest on the girders.  The architect was so nervous about the procedure he didn’t want to be here on that day.

How long have you been at the branch? 

 I started here in 2000 – as far as the other librarians are concerned, I’m still the new kid!

What other posts do you hold in your community? 

 I don’t hold any posts, but I sure seem to see a lot of my patrons in my neighborhood.

What is the biggest impact the capitol campaign has had on your branch? 

 We have that great meeting room, which fits the look of the library so well many people think it was part of the original construction.  Our old meeting room held maybe 20 people and was small and stuffy, but now we have story times almost every week of the year, gaming programs, and a lot of community meetings.  It’s really popular with our patrons.

How does your relationship with the community affect your programming? 

 Sometimes I see some familiar teen faces at the grocery store or out on my walks.  It’s always nice to make that connection outside of the library.  My teen programming doesn’t really see much affect from this.


Events Around the Branches

There are exciting events happening at the Central Library and at the branches all the time!  Check out the Library website for the events calender http://www.spl.org.  Here are a few of the cool things coming up that you might want to check out:

Adult story time a the Central Library:  Thrilling Tales! 12:05 to 12:50 on Monday, August 4th.  Spend your lunch break hearing exciting stories!

Thumbelina at the Douglass-Truth Branch.  10:30 to 11:30 on Tuesday, August 5th.  Music and shadow puppets are used to tell this classic tale presented by the Oregon Shadow Theater.

Create your own book at the Wallingford Branch.   2:30 to 5 on Wednesday, August 6th.  This event is designed to show teens how to make their own book.

Adult Wii Gaming at Delridge.  10:30 to 12:00 on Saturday, August 9th.  Find out what all the buzz is about surrounding the Nintendo Wii gaming system.  Try out some games and meet your fellow neighborhood gamers.

These are only a small sample of the fun events happening in the library.  Check the library website for news about author readings, book clubs, story times and gaming sessions.