Comic book author urges Council to consider teens

library-0072John Lustig, of Last Kiss Comics, spoke to City Council on April 2o addressing library use and teens.   He remarked,  “Publishing in general is down except for one aspect of the book business—which is exploding—largely fueled by teen and young adult readers.  I’m talking about graphic novels—or really, really thick comic books. In seven years, sales have increased 500 percent and last year were estimated at $375 million. Graphic novels are now a major attraction in libraries and bookstores. How major?  A few years ago, my daughter and her friends learned Japanese primarily so that they could read Japanese graphic novels.  Today, hundreds of these books have been translated and published and are more popular than ever. And kids are devouring them. But times are tough.  That means–for many kids—there’s only one place where they can find these books. Whether it’s graphic novels or Harry Potter or Moby Dick, it’s the library that’s going to keep our kids excited and reading. ”  See what John said about his testimony and what others are saying about it at the last kiss blog.

Yes, teens are going to libraries. In 2007 the  American Libraries Association, through Harris Interactive, polled 1262 youth aged 8-18. Among respondents, 78% had a library card and 78% said they use the library to borrow books and other materials for personal use.  And yes, teens are feeling the economic challenges. 53 percent say they’re choosing activities that cost less money, 50 percent say they talk about the economy with their friends, and 14 percent of kids ages 15 to 17 say they contribute money to their family budget, according to a new survey by Junior Achievement.

But libraries are popular among all age groups. According to Harris Interactive, 2/3rds of America currently has a library card and almost all Americans (92%) say they view their local library as an important education resource. Seven in ten agreed their local library is a pillar of the community (72%), a community center (71%), a family destination (70%), and a cultural center (69%).

Thank you to everyone that testified or contacted elected officials this Spring to express support for libraries. Your voice made a difference.


Earth Day Everyday with the Friends and The Seattle Public Library

Yesterday, April 22nd, was Earth Day. But what can you do the rest of the year to stay green? Did you know you’re helping the earth when you use The Seattle Public Library? How’s that? Sightline Daily’s “Save The Library, Save The Planet” article mentions the book Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet which gives good cause to feel good about being a library patron. According to the book’s author Eric Sorenson, “one typical library prevents 250 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year just from the paper it doesn’t use.”

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library are happy to add some vibrant green to your life. The Friends has been helping Library patrons carry their books for years, but last year the Friends decided it was time to switch from plastic bags to a low cost, reusable bag. All branches and the FriendShop are selling the lovely bag pictured above for $1.00. Made of recycled plastic bottles and imprinted with the Friends of The Seattle Public Library logo, this large yet lightweight tote can carry a load. Fill it up with books and go!

Other recycled items are a plenty at the FriendShop. Come and find recycled Golden Book purses, book journals, typewriter key charms and more. The bowls and vases pictured above are from Roost and are created by Vietnamese craftspeople who use traditional bamboo weaving techniques to create colorful pieces out of recycled, printed paper. Stop by the shop to rediscover the many new uses of past loves.

Of course, one of the biggest green things the Friends do is recycle about 250,000 books and others items at our twice yearly Book Sale back into the community.


The Friends just finished the big spring sale last weekend, but we will have a table at Magnuson Park Spring Celebration this Saturday, April 25th, from 10 am – 4 pm. Stop by and check out our $1.00 book selection. And don’t forget, donating books to the Friends Book Sale is a great way to recycle too!

Supporters Share Stories


As people across the city are learning of the library’s budget challenges, stories of the library’s community importance are coming forward. In these hard economic times anyone walking into a branch library can see more people using the computers or plugging in their laptops. In fact all aspects of library service are up at least 10% over last year. Friends of The Library members who participated in the petition drive that wrapped up on Sunday, April 19, heard many stories about the particular ways patrons use their libraries. In this testimony,  library supporter and freelance artist, Kevin Wildermuth, tells Councilmembers how the library is important in his life and the lives of people he met outside Douglass Truth.

“I’m a freelance photographer and web designer working out of my home not far from the Douglass-Truth branch. I rely on the library for many of the books that I read to stay competitive in my business. They are expensive and it’s helpful to have access to those that I don’t buy.

I am concerned about the library budget and that’s why I’m here today and why I was on the sidewalk in front of my library last week collecting signatures for this petition. I was gratified with how easy it was. Everyone signed without hesitation, few refused, and I collected 47 signatures within an hour and a half. People from all walks of life really appreciate and rely on their libraries. I’d say we consider it an essential government service.

I talked to mothers with small children, a city attorney, high school students, job-seeekers, all kinds of people. One patron said that the library system was key to his faith in government. One woman told me that she believes money spent on libraries is leveraged to help people more than almost anything the government does.

People love their libraries. So I urge you to continue to preserve funding when you deliberate the budget in the fall so that we have the staff, the hours, and the acquisitions budget to serve these patrons and all the others that I did not get to talk to.”



Preserve library funds petitions presented to City Council

Library supporters: Anne, Jennifer,John, Susan, Ali, and Kevin
Library supporters: Anne, Jennifer,John, Susan, Ali, and Kevin

Much of the public testimony before Seattle City Council’s budget meeting , April 20, 2009, was about the importance of our libraries.  Friends of The Seattle Public Library Vice President, Jennifer Johnson-Fong, presented petitions signed by more than 800 library supporters at: Wallingford, Northeast, Ballard, Queen Anne, Douglass Truth, Central, and Lake City Libraries  as well as from independent booksellers and the Friends of The Seattle Public Library Book Sale.

She told Council, “All of us who collected signatures on these petitions heard from people who recognize the value of The Library, not just in these hard economic times, but as a steadfast, egalitarian neighborhood institution that anybody in Seattle can visit.

Branch  patrons, book lovers from the Friends Booksale and Independent bookstores, and Seattle neighborhood residents are thanking you all for your past support and urging you to continue to preserve Library funding as you begin to think ahead to the budget for 2010.”

Friends of The Seattle Public Library thank all of you that helped with this Spring Campaign drive or who signed our petitions for preserving library funds. Thanks to many of you that emailed your elected officials with library support. Thanks as well to booksellers that graciously hosted a petition. Each and every one of you made a difference for The Seattle Public Library by bringing attention to the important ways it stabilizes families, individuals, and neighborhoods.

Library supporters who came to the budget meeting today are patrons from: Queen Anne, Highpoint, West Seattle, Mt Baker, Northeast, Central, and Douglass Truth libraries. If you’d like to help Friends of The Seattle Public Library keep our library system strong and vibrant contact us at

Looking toward a lean 2010 budget

Last week’s announcements of budget reductions to the library’s capital and operations budget drew both sighs of relief and concerns for the future. Our mayor’s support of day to day hours ensures that people who are turning to the library now for computer access, budget relief, and needed resources will continue to enjoy the benefits of a strong library system. However, the announcement of a one week closure of the library system in August ’09 drew concerns from several citizens at today’s City Council budget meeting.

library-0091The  President of the Seattle Public Library Foundation, Susan Adkins,  said, “The Seattle Public Library has proven itself to be an incredibly important resource to the citizens of Seattle in the past six months. During this difficult economy the number of people using the Library has increased even more than the high numbers we have experienced since the rebuilding of Central and all the branches. Patrons are using our services to seek employment, get help with taxes, research opportunities for job training, and enjoy free programs and classes for children, teens, and all ages.

The Central Library and all the branches provided a warm safe haven during the severe snow events in December. Our doors remained open for students, stranded workers and homeless to find shelter.

Now the Library System is challenged, along with all city funded entities, by budget cuts for both 2009 and 2010. We are grateful to the mayor for preserving our branch hours in 2009 by restoring $500,000 to our budget. However we are very concerned about protecting brach hours in 2010.

It is quite likely that our City will continue to face economic challenges next year. Our staff needs to meet the growing and diverse needs of our customers. They count on our Library, they count on our staff, they count on our resources and they count on our open doors.”


The City Council cannot change or impact the Mayor’s budget reductions in ’09, but, in a discussion among councilmembers, Council determined that they can provide a forum for public comment and can consider current public feedback as they look ahead to the 2010 budget process. Today’s morning meeting was the last of three morning meetings scheduled by the Budget committee for public comment. A hearing for additional comment begins at 5:30 p.m. Wed, April 22, in City Council Chambers. Please show your support for  preservation of the library’s budget in 2010. Can you join us at the Wed evening hearing? RSVP

Libraries take impact of City budget cuts

Yesterday, April 17, Mayor Nickels unveiled his budget cuts which include a week long furlough for the Seattle Public Library staff and closure of the library for one week. These cuts are in addition to a 66% cut in the Library’s Capital budget announced on April 13.  There are no scheduled cuts to existing day to day hours other than the week long closure in August. Collections funding is unchanged. Our mayor’s support of day to day hours ensures that people turning to the library for resume help, computer use, and budget relief will continue to have access and needed resources.

Book Sale This Weekend!

booksale3Join us at the Spring Book Sale this weekend. Most books are $1.00 and there are over 200,000 to choose from. The Magnuson Park location gives you options in nature after you find your books.  Magnuson park also has a great offleash dog area.  Access our city wide petition to Preserve the Library Budget  and merchandise from the FriendShop at the Book Sale too! More Book Sale info.

Saturday April 18 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Magnuson Park 7400 Sand Point Way NE Hangar 30, Seattle. Take Metro #30, #74 or #75  and bring your own bags or boxes!