Sundays Are Special… at the International District Branch

2013 is a great year for Seattle readers: for the first time in at least a century, all locations of The Seattle Public Library will be open on Sundays. 15 branches have new Sunday hours, and we’re celebrating at each location with the Check-Out Challenge, refreshments, and craft activities. We stopped by the International District/Chinatown branch on Sunday, March 10, to join in the fun.

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The party was in full swing by the time we arrived, with dozens of patrons browsing the shelves, enjoying snacks and drinks, and getting their Check-Out Challenge game cards stamped. At the craft table, volunteers helped kids and parents make colorful creations out of felt, googly eyes, and glitter glue. The kids also got pencils, stickers, and other goodies. And, of course, the Friends were on hand with our new limited-edition book bags.

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Here are just a few of the things you can do at the Sunday celebrations:

Check-Out Challenge

Pick up a free Check-Out Challenge game card at your local branch. Then, visit any library location on Sundays between Jan. 6 and May 5 to get your card stamped. Once you’ve collected 15 stamps, you can enter a prize drawing for a chance to win a book lover’s gift basket and lunch with the city librarian!

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Apply for a New Library Card

Lost your library card (or haven’t signed up for one yet)? The Library’s new card designs feature six iconic images of Seattle. We especially like the kid-friendly illustrated card.

Take Home a Tote

Special limited-edition canvas tote bags, featuring a commemoratively styled icon of your Library branch, are available for $15 (cash only). Look for the Friends of The Seattle Public Library table and take home one of these handy bags. They make wonderful gifts for out-of-town readers, too!

See all the upcoming neighborhood branch Sunday events and plan a visit to help us celebrate!



Beacon Hill Library Helps Neighborhood Attract National Attention

Patrons entering the popular Beacon Hill branch Library

Beacon Hill is one of America’s top neighborhoods according to the American Planners Association (APA) .  Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012 exemplify “exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners  play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and creating jobs,”  the APA writes in their October 1 announcement of the award. Beacon Hill was chosen specifically because of its “ethnic and architectural diversity, scenic vistas, history and amenities.” Lyle Bicknell of the Seattle Department of Planning and Developement cited Beacon Hill Library and the Beacon Hill Light Rail station as important components driving the decision in his comments to KOMO radio news.

The Beacon Hill branch Library, situated half a block from the Light Rail station, offers Homework help 4-8 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday,  Beginning ESL classes, Toddler, Family and Preschool Storytimes, and Bi-Lingual Play and Learn groups that strengthen and reflect the diverse community. In addition the Library hosts large groups in its spacious meeting room, presents one time programs such as Health Care Counseling  for Mandarin, Cantonese and English speakers, and hosts the Beacon Hill Resource Center maintained by Beacon Hill Merchants.

Washington artist Miles Pepper’s kinetic boat sculpture rises above the entry to Beacon Hill branch Library.

The Beacon Hill Branch Library garnered two of its own national awards in 2005 and 2003. It was one of 100 most “noteworthy personalities, places  and extraordinary objects in the world of innovative design,”  according to Metropolitan Home in 2005 just one year after it opened. In 2003, Seattle Design Commission recognized it for Design Excellence citing “bold, modern design.”

In a Friends of The Seattle Public Library profile of Beacon Hill patron Tess Martin she notes, ” Beacon Hill is very diverse, and there are few places where all the different populations can mingle. The library is a great place for that.” Users on Yelp give consistently high ratings to Beacon Hill branch citing great staff, wide and diverse collections, ample parking, and user friendly modern design. Libraries contribute to the quality of our lives and they anchor our neighborhoods. Congratulations to the Beacon Hill branch library for its role in bringing national recognition to Beacon Hill Neighborhood.

Giggles and Competition at the Global Reading Challenge

If you’re a parent of a fourth or fifth grader you may be anxiously awaiting the final round of a very special city-wide competition, The Global Reading Challenge (GRC).  The GRC, an annual contest, drew teams from over 45 schools to the 2012 semifinals on February 22nd. Ten teams that advanced, including Alki, Northgate, Graham Hill, Loyal Heights, and Greenwood, that had never before reached the final round (woo hoo!), will compete in an exciting night-time showdown in the Seattle Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium on March 27 at 7 p.m. Will you be there?

The GRC, dubbed Battle of the Books, quizzes teams about elements from  ten assigned books. As Joan Abrevaya, Friends of The Seattle Public Library board member and volunteer for The Seattle Public Library, says about her four years of deepening involvement with GRC,  “One of the things that I love is talking to the kids and listening to their excitement and focus on the marvelous thing called reading.  They are as involved in reading these 10 books and answering questions as they are about sports.”

The teams, some with catchy names like, “The Title Waves,” prepare in different ways sometimes with a teacher, a librarian or volunteer. Parents help too, when they can, but many of the contestants come from families where parents are too busy to take on support.  But all children take this competition seriously. As Abrevaya notes, “One parent said that her daughter had a “play date” with some friends, during which they quizzed each other in preparation for the semi-finals.”

The winner of the March 27 contest will advance to face Canadian teams in a videoconferenced international final in early April. “There are tears at every session,” Abrevaya says, “when teams do not win but as Mary [Mary Palmer, children’s librarian and organizer] tells the kids: ‘You are already winners. You have read great books and had a great time.'”

Spend Your Lunch Hour with Nancy Pearl on Monday, December 12th!

Library Journal’s 2011 Librarian of the Year and literary tastemaking author Nancy Pearl will be appearing at the FriendShop, located on the third floor of Central Library, on Monday, December 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Nancy will be signing copies of her books as well as the recently released 2012 Friends of the Seattle Public Library Calendar.

Nancy is the author of Book Lust and a half-dozen other titles that provide book recommendations for every type of reader. She developed “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” a program that has inspired similar “One City One Book” campaigns across the country. Nancy is a frequent contributor to NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Monday’s signing provides an opportunity to meet a bone fide library legend.

While at the FriendShop pick up a copy of the 2012 Friends planner, which features Nancy on its cover, to plan next year’s reading. The shop also features a wide variety of unique gifts for book-lovers and others with discriminating tastes on your holiday shopping list. All proceeds from sales at the FriendShop support The Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday!

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library

Sounds of Vietnam – Folk Music to Make You Smile!

Back by popular demand, Canadian duo Khac Chi performs traditional Vietnamese folk music with lively new arrangements, light-hearted humor and creative stage antics.  We’re sure that this year’s shows will delight young and old from ages  4 – adult again.  You can see them perform at 4 different locations this week:

  • Central Library:  Microsoft Auditorium, 2 p.m. Friday, August 20
  • Rainier Beach Branch:  11 a.m. Saturday, August 21
  • Beacon Hill Branch:   3 p.m. Saturday, August 21
  • Lake City Branch:  2 p.m. Saturday, August 22

Clown Around

Join the Burke Museum at Seattle Public Libraries this summer for this interactive game with familiar storybook characters, real museum specimens, puppets, and prizes.

Children who read 10 books over the summer can win a FREE pass to the Burke Museum.  Take your reading logs!!!

The Burke Museum is a sponsor of the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

  • Northeast Branch:  4 p.m. Wednesday, July 28
  • Central Library: 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 5