Library Supporters Testify

At the April 13th, 10:30 am Special Budget meeting of City Council, Seattle’s Department of Finance was presenting potential changes to the 2009-2010 allocation of Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Revenues. The potential impact to The Seattle Public Library is a two thirds reduction to the capital budget. The Library’s capital budget pays for major maintenance. The Friends are very concerned about the effects of the severe capital budget cuts being considered.

The media was there in full force and their coverage of the meeting included mentions of the effects of these considered cuts on The Seattle Public Library. The testimony of 6 Library supporters caught the attention of the KIRO 7, KING5/KONG 16, and KUOW. Mimi Winslow and Tom Seery, patrons of The Seattle Public Library, Annie Searle, board member of The Seattle Public Library Foundation, and Deborah Prince and Sarel Rowe, board members of Friends of The Seattle Public Library, all spoke eloquently about preserving funding for The Library. Jennifer Johnson-Fong, also a board member of the Friends, presented petitions asking City Council to preserve library funding signed by 64 Greenwood library patrons and 68 Queen Anne library patrons. Their testimony even inspired a Capitol Hill advocate to speak out for The Library.

“Today,” read the testimony of Annie Searle, board member of The Seattle Public Library Foundation:

Annie Searle Speaking to City Council
Annie Searle Speaking to City Council

“I am a board member of The Seattle Public Library Foundation. I have been using The Seattle Public Library for 32 years I use Northeast, Green Lake and University libraries.

“I would like to ask you not to cut The Library budget any further if possible, although I realize the complexities of the challenges that you have here.

“Attendance is up 20% in the libraries. The libraries are overflowing with people, using the computers trying to find positions doing job searches, creating new resumes for themselves and trying to become part of the economic stimulus themselves. And again please stick to the commitment that 70% of Seattle citizens showed when they passed the Libraries for All Bond measure. We’ve done such a wonderful job to get the libraries to this point it would be a shame to cut back on services.”

Check back for more testimonies this week.

Related links:

Budget meeting on Seattle Channel 21

Annie Searle’s blog

Seattle Times: “Mayor Nickels’ spending cuts hit Seattle facilities” by Emily Heffter

Seattle Times: “Seattle Mayor to cut millions from city budget” by Emily Heffter

KUOW: “Seattle Mayor Unveils Latest Budget Cuts” Deborah Wong reporter

PhinneyWood blog: “Library patrons sign petition against funding cuts”

QueenAnneView blog: “Support the library”

“Signatures sent to City Council”

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