Tony Talks Budget

Tony waits to sign in 3/26

Here are Tony’s complete remarks from the March 26th Budget Hearing at Seattle City Council Chambers. We hope you’ll consider joining us at the next meeting: April 6 at 10:30 a.m. Your presence matters! RSVP Keep checking this blog for updates on the library and library budget.

Tony’s Testimony:

I live in the Ravenna/Wedgwood neighborhood and I am with the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

I want to thank you all for your support of the Seattle Public Library and ask you to preserve the current level of budgeted funding.

The Library is an important community lifeline for the residents of this city. The exploding use of the Library’s programs, resources and services has far exceeded every expectation. In this current economic climate, the Library has also become an integral part of the City’s safety net, providing all citizens with access to information and computer services that link them to city, state and federal agencies and programs. Everyone is familiar with examples of how the Library is doing more for all groups, the displaced, the unemployed, new citizens, as well as all struggling individuals, families and children.

The Library — through its Central location, community branches, and online presence — is experiencing more demands for facilities, resources and services than can be reasonably met with a reduction in funding. The Library already makes extensive use of volunteer groups to assist the professional staff in meeting these demands. And the Library receives financial support through donations from individuals and groups to help to pay for the resources and services it provides.

This unique public/private partnership came to fruition with the successful completion of Libraries For All. Citizens voted for and provided the additional financial support required to re-build and re-energize the Library. They are depending on the City to maintain its materials and operation.

For a City department, the Library is unique for the significant amount of its overall revenue base that comes from donations. Since it already operates with a very lean budget, and donations are not expected to keep pace with past years, any reduction in funding of the Library, may force drastic cuts in services.

I ask you to consider the needs of the entire community when considering a reduction in the Library’s budget. The Library is an invaluable part of the community, a product of the investment made jointly by the city and its citizens. This investment, unlike many others, has not lost its value and is still paying dividends. Now, more than ever, the Library is essential to the lives and well being of every Seattle resident.

Thank you.


What library supporters are saying

Anne simply says: I use the University branch for research. Something that’s been bothering me is the question: are library services and hours going to be cut?  If hours, staff, or services are cut it would have a negative impact on many people. Library services are not a luxury they are essential services.

Cindy says: I use several libraries. Use is increasing. Computers are being utilized for job search. Please keep library hours and services the way they are.

Ianne says: I use capital hill library. Table tops are full of laptops and computers are full.  Libraries are part of the social safety net.

Linda the president of Friends of the Library asks council to remember that the library isn’t a luxury. Tough economic times prove the essential nature of the library.

Joan says she uses Magnolia library and volunteers for the library. She says that young kids at the Global reading challenge (a program for 4th and 5th graders) read books with the enthusiasm of people watching sports. She asks that the Council keep funding at current levels.

Tony says use of the library has exceeded expectation. He says libraries are a public private partnership and urges Council to maintain current funding.

Pat says there’s a strong relationship between libraries and school education. She urges support for libraries.

Explaining the budget

We’re seeing a power point presentation on budget woes. Job loss has accelerated in the past three months. Business and Occupation tax may not be dropping as fast as retail sales tax but it’s dropping significantly. Library funding is taken from B and O tax. Full revenue figures will be available on April 6. Ben Noble has just stated there is no reason to believe there will be a change in 2010. He is stating that we anticipate a 40 million dollar shortfall in 09 revenues and that the reductions needed to balance the budget for this year will likely have to be sustained in 2010.  “It’s a grim story,” Councilmember Godden has just said in summary.


40 million dollar shortfall

Hearings have begun now and Councilmember Jean Godden just announced that they’re anticipating a 40 million dollar shortfall. She is urging citizens to come forward and share priorities to help Council make these hard budget reduction decisions.


Signing up and getting started

ianne-006Spring budget hearings are about to begin. Pat is signing in to talk about libraries as an adjunct to education. Seven library friends have signed in to speak to council. Twelve people are joining us, tonite, to show support for library funds.

Public Hearings are fascinating. If you’ve never attended one please consider doing so in the Fall.  The upcoming April meetings at Council Chambers offer another glimpse. Those meetings will be a good and easy way to see what civic discussion is all about in Seattle. Those meetings are at 10:30 am on April 6, 13, and 20. RSVP to if you can attend.


Voices of Support arriving at Council Chambers, March 26

ianne-001Lines started forming in the foyer of Council Chambers at 3 pm. At this writing, 4:30, most of the voices of support for the library have arrived and look forward to telling Councilmembers how the library is an essential service in these hard times. To pass the time what else does a friend of the library do but…. read. What’s Mary reading? What the What.


Support the Library!

Budget Committee
Budget Committee

The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers to listen to citizens talk about their priorities for city government, including programs and services that they would like to see preserved in this hard economic climate. City Council is looking at potential deep cuts to the new 2009/2010 budget.

Libraries are busier than ever serving the growing number of families and individuals looking for critical resources, computer access, and budget relief.  Strong libraries need strong community support. Please join us at a public hearing.

If you can’t join us in Council Chambers on March 26, consider coming to one of three April meetings scheduled for additional citizen input: April 6, 13, and 20 at approx 10:30 a.m. RSVP to:

If it’s impossible to come to Council Chambers in support of the library, please email your councilmembers with library support.

Councilmember emails:,,,,,,,,

Stay tuned to this blog for up to the minute library budget information. We’ll be blogging live from council chambers on March 26.