Support Seattle Public Libraries This Budget Season

The City Council is in the process of reviewing Mayor Mike McGinn’s proposed 2012 city budget. Despite financial challenges to the city, the Mayor has avoided directing additional funding cuts at libraries. Under the mayor’s proposed budget, The Seattle Public Library would be able to continue offering current levels of services and hours at all branch locations.

As the City Council reviews the Mayor’s budget, please show your support for funding libraries. You can do so in the following ways:

1) Email the City Council. You can contact the Council via this online form intended for 2012 budget feedback. Create your own message or use the sample letter at the bottom of this page.

2) Contact councilmembers individually. Make your support for libraries known to individual members of the City Councity. A list of phone numbers and email addresses for councilmembers can be found here.

3) Join the Friends at a public hearing. Show your support for libraries in person at a City Council Budget Committee Public Hearing. Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, October 26th at 5:30 p.m. Meetings take place on the second floor of City Hall, located at 600 Fourth Avenue. If you would like to stand up with the Friends, email advocacy@friendsofspl.org.

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Strong Libraries Rely On Strong Support

Mayor Nickels at Central
Mayor Nickels at Central

We’re lucky we live in a city with strong Council and Mayoral support for libraries. Our newly expanded library system is healthy and vibrant this year.  Library use is up 158% since the expansion. In neighborhoods across the city people are accessing a variety of resources: jobseeking info, computers and wi-fi, ESL classes, storytime, books, dvds, academic support. In hard economic times our libraries are needed more than ever to provide resources that families and individuals can no longer afford. 

Other cities are facing less support and worse economic circumstances. On November 7 the Philadelphia Enquirer reported the proposed closure of 11 of 54 branch libraries. In August, the mayor of Long Beach, California proposed closing the downtown library. Author Ray Bradbury, among others, is leading the outcry

The proposed Seattle City Budget  continues to experience new shortfalls. Wed, Thurs, and Friday of this week Councilmembers will discuss the rebalanced proposed City budget. Councilmembers Nick Licata, Richard Conlin, and Tim Burgess filed a “Green Sheet” requesting the addition of $800,000 to the library’s proposed collections budget in 2009 and 2010.  Friends of The Seattle Public Library support this increase. The increase brings the library’s collections budget nearer the library’s projected need for 2009. Please join us in emailing support this week. Your email can be very short and simple. For example:
Dear Councilmember,
I support Councilmember Licata’s proposed increase to the Library collections budget.
Thank you.

Councilmember E-mails: jean.godden@seattle.gov, tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, jan.drago@seattle.gov, richard.conlin@seattle.gov, nick.licata@seattle.gov, sally.clark@seattle.gov, richard.mciver@seattle.gov

Have a question or want to help advocacy in other ways? advocacy@splfriends.org