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.



7 thoughts on “Local Talent from West Seattle – Meet Wally!

  1. Pingback: Group Homes for Teens » Blog Archive » Local Talent from West Seattle - Meet Wally!

  2. A star is born!!! cccoooooolllllll site Wally!!! so proud of you!!!
    I’m mending a fast as I can! love, Peg

  3. Great blog Wally, I know you make a positive impact on the teens in your area. Our Hats go off to you. Grandma sends her love and so do we.

  4. I really enjoyed the interview, Wally (thanks Kathy!)–and, believe me, I can sympathize with that architect! West Seattle is a great building. Well done! (maybe) 🙂

  5. Yay for you – and SPL! You are an asset to the libray and your community (local and global). As always, so glad to call you my friend. Many hugs from the J-W clan.

  6. What she said! Wally is truly a community guy in the best spirit of Seattle. We both agree that the smartest teens will always be the ones who read, read, READ! Nothing can touch the worlds you create when you open a book.

  7. I don’t know why it took me so long to Google you, Wally. What I found was very interesting. Seattle teens are lucky to have you, and I am lucky to call you my friend.

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