Library Mid-Year 2011 Budget Reduction: $150,000

On March 30, 2011, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn directed all city departments to identify 3 percent cuts to their current budgets, a pre-emptive savings measure to address approximately $17 million in anticipated reduced state and federal funds. Although departments planned for 3 percent in cuts, the mayor was given discretion to decide how much to cut from each department.

The Mayor’s Office announced today that The Seattle Public Library will need to cut $150,000 from its current 2011 budget to address mid-year city revenue shortfalls (a 3% cut to the Library budget would have been approximately $1.43 million).

This cut preserves current Library operating hours, but reduces the budget for books and materials to $5.05 million: nearly $2 million below what the Library’s funding level was four years ago. The Library has taken five significant cuts since 2009, restructuring and reducing public service hours and management positions, reducing the collections budget, instituting materials loan changes, and restructuring and reducing support services, including human resources, financial services, information technology, and communications. The Library has also implemented pay cuts through furloughs and COLA reductions. The 2011 Library furlough – the third annual such cost-cutting measure – will take place the week of August 29-September 5.

The Library will learn of proposed cuts for 2012 later in September, when the Mayor submits the city budget to the City Council.

There are two ways you can support the Library this weekend:


GiveBIG for Books

The Seattle Foundation is organizing the biggest-ever “giving day” called GiveBIG to raise money for local nonprofits on June 23rd.

Show your support for the Library by donating to the Seattle Public Library Foundation.

We’re calling the day GiveBIG For Books because it will  help offset the anticipated mid-year city budget cut to Library collections.  Rally your friends and urge them to support the Library– the first $10,000 donated will be matched by Jodi Green and Mike Halperin, generous supporters of the Library Foundation.

To donate, visit the Seattle Foundation website.

The Friends Have a New Website!

For the past few months, members of the Friends Communications Committee have been hard at work designing and developing a new website. By replacing the old website, we hope to present a fresh new face for the Friends, make it easier to browse and find information, and to initiate an online membership option and volunteer forms. The new website will also have more photos, video, and charts, our events Calendar and Friends’ current news and events, as well as downloadable documents (like our publication, the Bookmark): all of which makes it easier for us to share the myriad ways the Friends are helping The Seattle Public Library.

Image via

To build our site, the Friends partnered with consulting group Visualscope, a local web design company. They were instrumental in helping us create a website that was exactly everything that we wanted. Thank you to all the folks at Visualscope!

Check us out at, and be sure to tell us what you think!

Time for Summer Reading!

It is time again for Summer Reading at Seattle Public Library!  There are great programs for all ages this year, so take the time to stop by your local branch and sign up.  This year the goal is for patrons to read 150,000 books by the end of the summer!

Adult Program: For adults this year there is a chance to win a great prize:  a Nook e-reader!  Just read 3 books by the end of August and fill out a review sheet at your local branch to enter the drawing.  For more information visit the Adult Summer Reading Website.

Teen Program: It is Steampunk Summer!  Teens in Seattle are reading and hiding the books Leviathan and Boneshaker all over the city.  Get involved via the Teen Summer Reading Website and the Push to Talk blog.

Summer Reading For Children:  Come into a branch of the Seattle Public Library to sign up and get a reading log.  Read 10 books to recieve a prize book and get your name on the Wall of Fame.  To learn more check out the Children’s Summer Reading site.

For all ages there are fun and intersting programs and events in all the libraries this summer.  Visit the Seattle Public Library calendar of events to find something in your neighborhood.

The Friends Welcome Marcellus Turner

Marcellus Turner, the executive director of the Jefferson County Public Library, has been named as the city’s new top librarian.

Turner, who topped two other finalists for the job, will take over in August.

He replaces former City Librarian Susan Hildreth, who was appointed to head the Institute for Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C.

Turner will oversee Seattle’s main downtown library and 26 branch libraries.  He will be paid $150,000 a year.

“Seattle has one of the top public library systems in the nation,” said Turner, who worked for the Tacoma Public Library as a department supervisor in 2000.  He said he is excited about returning to the Pacific Northwest.

Library Board President Marie McCaffrey said Turner impressed the board with his leadership skills and energy for leading the library into a bold new chapter. She said the board was also impressed with how he handled difficult budget decisions in his Colorado library system.

Turner has more than 20 years of experience in library services.  At Jefferson County, he oversees a $27 million budget and a staff of 250 and serves a population of 548,000 people.

As head of Seattle Public Library Turner will oversee a $50 million budget and 640 employees.

Before joining the Jefferson County Public Library, he was assistant executive director of the Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Ill and worked at the Atlantic City Free Public Library in Atlantic City, N.J.

He holds a masters degree in library science from the University of Tennessee.

The other finalists for the job were Charles M. Brown, director of Charlotte Mecklenburg  Library in Charlott, N.C. and Nancy Ledeboer, director of Pima County Public Library in Tucson, Ariz.