The Friends pair with Connecticut foundation to provide books for local classrooms

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library have paired with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation’s Books for Teachers program.  The Fisher Foundation provides the Friends with a grant to provide qualifying teachers with vouchers for books that they can spend at our Book Sales.  Each teacher can spend up to $100 on books for their classrooms!  To qualify, teachers must work at a school where the majority of students are in need.

So far, the program has been a huge success.  The Friends  have provided more than 10,000 books free of charge to Seattle public school teachers at the 2010 Book Sales. We hope to be able to continue working with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to fill many more local classrooms with books!  Here is some feedback from happy teachers:

“I left with over 119 books!!!  WOW!!!…I came back to school and added them to the classroom library.”

“My students LOVED the books!  They cheered when Joan dropped off the vouchers, and cheered again when I showed them the pile of books on Monday morning.  They have been enjoying browsing and reading in their reading classes, their silent reading times, or even in their spare time.  I love that I was able to get all kinds of genres and all reading levels for my very diverse group of learners!”

“Thank you and thank you to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.  I went on Saturday and spent a bit over four hours searching for picture books for my Kindergarteners.  Those four hours were the best hours of my weekend since I knew deep inside I was giving up my personal time to make a huge difference.  It was fun to meet my colleagues there and talk to them across isles when a title of a book crossed my mind.  What I’m tying to say is that we not only got a chance to increase our personal classroom library, but a school wide one.”

And here are some quotes for happy students:

“I love Books!  Like you do!  Reading is fun!  I read a lot!  So I can get smarter!”

“My favorite book is the itsy bitsy spider and the snarly hissopus…All of them are great…so nice, cool, Fabilicious.”

Thanks to the Renee B. Fisher Foundation and to Friends Board Members Joan and Omar for this wonderful program.


How the Library Supports Early Literacy

The Seattle Public Library provides four Early Literacy programs and activities that help teach children the foundation of reading. 

These four programs are:early literacy_girl with bag

  • Raising a Reader
  • Play and Learn Groups
  • Weekly Story Time
  • Picture Book Collections

Raising a Reader:

  • A take-home book bag program created to facilitate the development of early literacy skills
  • Served 330 children in 2009

Play and Learn Groups:

  • Drop-in play groups for caregivers with children from infants to 5 years old in order to promote early learning
  • Served over 3,300 children, parents, and caregivers between October 2008 and June 2009

Story Time:

  • Story time for baby, toddler, and preschool children provided by children’s librarians and paid early childhood educators in a variety of languages including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish
  • 1,410 Story Time programs in 2009
  • 54,330 total attendance in 2009


Picture book Collections:

  • Continually enhanced collections of picture and board books for infants and toddlers that facilitate access to books for use in implementing the six early literacy skills
  • Book collections at selected branches are available in several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian.
  • Begin With Books kits for families and child care centers, as well as online collections for 24/7 access

Sign Up For Summer Reading at Seattle Public Library!

It is time to sign up for the Summer Reading Program at Seattle Public Library!  Summer Reading runs from June 1 to August 29 and is available for all ages!  Sign up at your local branch or online at  This year, the goal is for the city to read 148,000 books!  Keep track of the books you read and help to meet the goal!   

Summer reading is a great way to keep kids engaged with reading and learning all summer.  In addition, kids that complete their Summer Reading goal will win a free paperback book and a pass for their family to the Burke Museum. 

Summer Reading also involves lots of fun activities at all the library branches.  There will be over 700 free programs!  Check event calendars at to find a fun program for your family.

For complete information on the Summer Reading Program visit the Library’s website.

Seattle: America’s most literate city—again

It happened in 2005, it happened in 2006 and it almost happened in 2008. At the close of 2009 the title of America’s most literate city was awarded to Seattle once again. The Seattle Times reported this honor on Dec 23 when most of us were deep in holiday activity. This year, as we brace for the likely reduction in hours at many neighborhood branch libraries, we reflect on why Seattle so consistently wins this honor and how it benefits our community.

Dr. John W Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, author of the most literate city survey, notes that top ranking cities also tend to perform highly in other quality of life measures including: most active singles scenes, safest, most walkable, and healthiest.

“Most literate cities” are  ranked by measuring 6 different factors: publications, newspapers, libraries, booksellers, internet resources and education. Each factor is examined in several ways. Library services are measured 4 different ways:

1. Number of branch libraries per 10,000 library service population
2. Volumes held in the library per capita of library service population
3. Number of circulations per capita of library service population
4. Number of library professional staff per 10,000 library service population

Please join us in keeping The Seattle Public Library strong. A strong library makes a difference in our personal lives, in our community and neighborhoods, and in our city’s well being.