2013 Annual Meeting

On Sunday, October 6th, 2013, The Friends of The Seattle Public Library will hold its 72nd Annual meeting from 2-4 p.m. at the Queen Anne Library, 400 W Garfield (there is free on street parking surrounding the library). In addition to presenting an update on the activities and accomplishments of the Friends during the past year, the membership will elect new officers and board members.
The Friends 2013 Annual Members Meeting will also include a panel discussion in which local booksellers talk about the future of bookstores and libraries and their evolving roles in our community. The conversation will be moderated by Seattle City Librarian Marcellus Turner. If you would like more information on the 2013 Annual Meeting or to learn more about the Friends of the Seattle Public Library, please visit our website at http://www.friendsofspl.org or contact Alice Springer, at alice@friendsofspl.org.

Statement of Friends Activities

From revenues raised in 2012 by the Book Sales, FriendShop and other sources, the Friends made grants to the Library and contributed to the Libraries Yes! levy campaign as well as GiveBig to Books. These revenues also funded the Friends’ advocacy and community education activities. Find more financial info

2012 Grant Results

In 2012, $60,000 in grants made by the Friends to the Library supported the Summer Reading Program, Youth Programming and Staff Training. In addition, $50,000 in 2010 grants supported the Library’s Digital Media Lab project.
Find more about how the Library used these grants


Lazerwood: Technology and Craftsmanship in the Heart of Seattle

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah from Lazerwood Industries about the Northwest’s knack for Imagetechnology and the spirit of craftsmanship and innovation that comes with the sector. Lazerwood emphasizes the natural treatment of wood with electronic forms and celebrates in the creative cross-sections.

The FriendShop at The Seattle Public Library – Central Branch is featuring Lazerwood as a local company throughout the month of June! We’ve got an array of wood iPhone cases just in time for graduation and Father’s Day gifts!


What makes wood aImages an artistic material so special? How do you see this natural resource working in conjunction with technology?

We chose to work with wood because we wanted to add natural warmth to our digital life. Wood is amazingly durable, ages well and is sustainable; all factors that contributed to our choice.

Could you describe the process of lazer and hand treatment in creating your phone case designs?

We source all our wood from a mill in North Carolina and hand treat each sheet of veneer with stain. The veneer is then cut down to a size that will fit in our laser cutter, which looks like a large sawdust spewing printer. The laser cutter is networked to a computer which allows us to cut as much or as little as we want. All packaging and fulfillment is also done on site so our quality and attention to detail is something we keep very hands on.
What qualities makes Lazerwood a “Seattle” born-and-bred company? Does Northwest culture inform your creative design at all?

We love being apart of the PacNW culture that encourages small and local businesses. Our entire region benefits from the supportive climate for creatives and in turn,  Seattle is a city which drives culture for the entire coast and beyond. We wouldn’t want to run our business anywhere else.

What are some of Lazerwood’s dream collaborations or artist partnerships?

We are just coming back from our first convention in New York and are humbled by the number of people who wanted to work with us. We are planning on a collaboration with Rex Ray as well as some artist in New York who we are still negotiating with. Very exciting stuff! Stay tuned. We also have plans to expand our product line to include lamps and clocks, which we are super excited about.


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager, jessiemayf@gmail.com

A Need to Create: The Jewelry of Shannon Tipple-Leen



Shannon Tipple-Leen is an artist undaunted by the idea of play. To describe her creative process is to watch someone comfortable and welcoming of continuing education and discovery. Her design motto, “a need to create” manifests itself as “a need to play,” as one sifts through her collection’s fascinating array of buttons– both new and vintage. When stringing buttons or “little paintings” into a bracelet, one suddenly finds an art form that closely resembles self-portraiture. There is a button and design for everyone, and Shannon’s varied color palettes, motifs, and varying degrees of complexity delivers the goods.

Shannon speaks with the Friends of the Seattle Public Library about her creative process, inspiration, and love for casual Northwest style in art and fashion.

Stop by the FriendShop on Level 3 of the Seattle Public Library-Central Branch (5th Avenue entrance) to check out Shannon’s jewelry. Her work will be highlighted throughout the month of May as we all get used to the sunshine and need some new jewelry to model as the sweaters come off.


Your background is in photography. How did you make the transition from photography to jewelry? Do natural connections exist between the two forms?

About 10 years ago the shift to digital was making it harder and harder to get the chemicals and paper I wanted for my darkroom. Doing my work on the computer did not have the same satisfaction that the darkroom gave me. I also was finding it hard to get large chunks of time to go in the darkroom as I had a young child. I began looking for other outlets that could be more portable and jewelry was one of them.

I think for me my photography and my jewelry could not be more different. I was a strictly black & white photographer and now I cannot get enough color in my jewelry. In both of these fields though I take something that already exists and twist and manipulate it until it reflects me.

    Buttons are a strong feature of your design aesthetic. How do buttons speak to you and the wearer?

I have always loved miniatures. Buttons are like little paintings that you string together into a gallery showing. Putting one perfect little thing next to another connects them into a unit that is appreciated as a whole. They are also highly addictive to collect and I have the collection to prove it!

Where do you draw inspiration from as a Northwest artist?

I am inspired by the casual lifestyle we lead out here. I love clothes and jewelry that are easy to wear yet have an element of surprise or edge to them. I love that most of us live in gray and black and want a pop of color somewhere to set it off.

Swirl necklace web

How is playful design an important element of your creation process? 

My work is all playful design!  I am not a serious person and do not like to wear predictable or serious clothes and jewelry. I hope that part of me is reflected in the designs I make with my work. The buttons I choose need to be unique and sparkly – just like the women who wear them!

     How would you gift a piece from your collection to a friend?

I have made many pieces for friends over the years. I always consider their clothing style and colors first and then start putting buttons together. Often I have to sit with them for a few days before assembly to make sure it feels right. I am always so pleased when they are thrilled and I see them wear it regularly.

Do you have a favorite chic literary figure?

Scroll Peacock bracelet webBroken for You by Stephanie Kallos is high up on my favorite books of all time list.  Her character Wanda Schultz is an amazing artist and the journey her artwork takes her on captivated me the first time I read it.

Do you have any advice for local artists trying to elevate artistic hobbies into a business?

Find something you love to do and perfect it. It doesn’t have to be overnight – in my case it has been years. I see artists flip and flop from medium to medium never fully exploring any one thing. It is that exploration that brings great things. Also find other artists to talk to regularly. They will help you see things in your work you did not know where there.




You Can Find Us:


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager, jessiemayf@gmail.com

“Books for Teachers” by Matthew Hestad

Matthew Hestad, a 3rd grade teacher at Van Asselt Elementary, chats with us today about  Friends of the Seattle Public Library’s teacher voucher program. Since 2009, the Friends have received generous funding from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to provide classroom books in high-need (Title I) Seattle public schools. Through these grants, teachers receive $100 in vouchers to purchase books for their students. Our Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th will see 49 vouchers redeemed by teachers from 21 different schools!

Matthew Hestad in his classroom

This program puts books into the hands of students by one of the most important figures in a child’s lifetime of learning: the teacher. Here is Matthew’s story.

On the Friends’ Book Sales and “Books for Teachers”:

What drew me to the Friends’ voucher program was the need to get more books into the hands of my students. Every classroom has a leveled library in their classrooms where students can choose from a small variety of books at their own independent reading level and one of our most important reading genre’s is that of informational text or nonfiction. The Friends’ sales have given my students so many more choices of books that match their interest levels and this allows for a much broader range of excitement when reading informational text.

I am a teacher who loops between grade levels and have taught my students for the past three years beginning in first grade. Because of “Books for Teachers”, as my students’ reading abilities have increased, the Friends’ books have enabled my students to explore nonfiction and learn about topics that haven’t been able to read about previously.

When I leave the sale I always have received the maximum number of books that my voucher allows. I get there as early as possible and bring a very large suitcase on wheels. As I walk out the door my suitcase is filled with mostly nonfiction books from topics dear to my students hearts to books that I know as their reading abilities grow they will discover new and more developmentally enticing topics.

The classroom library, with books from the Friends’ book sales.

It’s amazing to be able to choose books for my students. We know each other well and as I browse titles or topics my students’ faces are constantly jumping into my head. “Oh, a book on tornadoes… Ben will hold this book and need it close to him for days. A book about Egypt… Susan will need this for her project. Wow, book #3 from the 39 Clues series is what Ra’Janae was looking for but our library was out of. Tarik will need to read the Gail Gibbons book entitled “Bats”.

I leave the book sale with 100 books and once back in the classroom, in front of my students, and causing great anticipation and excitement, will open the suitcase and begin pulling the many books out for students to see. My student’s excitement is explosive and contagious as they peruse titles and genres. The books immediately get sorted and labeled into different categories like reptiles, fish, weather, insects and of course a favorite… the human body. They go by topic, author, genre etc and are always available.


Thank you, Matthew, for this personal insight into the program. Teachers throughout the Seattle area will be utilizing the Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th to restock the shelves of their library classrooms. Come join them in one of the city’s biggest used book sales of the year! All proceeds directly benefit the Seattle Public Library.


9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

Saturday, April 6th 9:00am-5:00pm

Sunday, April 7th 9:00am-4:00pm


Awake to Spring! New Art at the FriendShop


It is spring indeed in Seattle when the rough rain storm can be followed by the lightest kiss of sunlight, only a short time later to fall back into old habits and dampen the city again. Over and over, we see the pattern, though so do the now chirping birds, the bImageursting rhododendron buds, those sounds and smells that seem freshened by the bursts of warm sunlight.

Today is spring’s day, and Kathy Johnson is spring’s painter. Kathy is a local painter and owner of Studio by the Sound. As a textile designer, architectural color consultant, and painter, the many forms of art in which Kathy has explored in life only deepens her mastery of color and pattern. Image

As a Northwest painter, her work captures the daily life we all value in passing. From the ferry to the marketplace to the lone dahlia garden, Kathy transforms the everyday to the heavenly. We are lucky to have so fine an artist retelling our stories!

The FriendShop at the Central Seattle Public Library was delighted to chat with Kathy about her artistic process, vision, and her opinions on the intersect between art and literature. We will be celebrating Kathy’s vision all March at the FriendShop! Her art transferred to notecards, tiles, and trivets are available throughout the month.

   All proceeds from sales go to the Seattle Public Library.

Now, let’s hear from Kathy!


– Could you give the Friends a look at your creative process as you embark on creating a new piece?

(VIEW: YouTube video of the process of a painting)

I usually start with a very small “thumbnail” sketch – which REALLY is small.  About 3”x2”.  Small sketches like this help the artist figure out composition, values and sometimes color.

Then a more complete drawing is done – and then transferred to a piece of watercolor paper.

In the example I’m showing here, I painted a ‘resist’ liquid on those areas that needed to remain white (or protected) while I did background color washes.

Once the background was complete, I removed the resist and could paint those items (barn & flowers) that were painted directly against the background.

Gradually theImage brightest flowers were painted and then on to filling in the foliage, adjusting values along the way.

This particular painting was a commissioned piece of someone’s very large dahlia garden.

 – Do you have any local spots that you draw influence from?

Since I live in west Seattle, several local landscapes here have been my subject matter – along with the tulip fields of Skagit Valley and the lavender farms in Sequim.

 – As an architectural color consultant (a woman of many hats, indeed!), how does your eye for shades, texture, and light play a part in evaluating a building or design project?

The biggest factor in working as a color consultant is the experience of mixing colors (for paintings) on a regular basis.  Understanding how colors are mixed helps you put colors together in a harmonious way.  Light is also a huge part of color – whether artificial, natural, morning, evening, etc.  Colors shift with light changes.

 – What advice would you give for an amateur artist looking to begin painting or retaking up a lost hobby?

Pick up a brush and START!  The hardest part is often simply starting…..even if that first brush stroke isn’t perfect, it’s a beginning.  Once you start, you are moving forward.  Take a class.  Practice, practice, practice.  Also check out art museums & galleries – or simply visit a new place for inspiration.  Ideas come from everywhere.

 – Do you see painting and literature as art forms intersecting?

I appreciate authors who can tell a story with a minimum amount of words…. their books are well-edited.  In the same way, I try to create paintings that are pared down to a minimum amount of detail in order to convey a mood of the scene.  I’d like to give the audience a new way of seeing – and if they need more detail, their imagination can fill in!

All Photos Copyrighted- Kathy Johnson, Studio by the Sound ***

You Can Find Us:

The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch
(on Level 3, Fifth Avenue side)
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Tel: 206.733.9015

We are also happy to assist with sales by phone.

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager, jessiemayf@gmail.com


Cha cha changes…

Meet our mascot-Neato Bandito!
Meet our mascot-Neato Bandito!

Hello from the Book Sale!

The past few months have been quite a whirlwind. We moved to a new home in October and immediately hit the ground running to prepare for our Holiday Sale. As soon as the sale was over, we jumped into training on a software system that will help us improve the process for our online sales. We’ve also been settling into the new space, meeting lots of fabulous volunteers and fine tuning our operations. Now that the New Year is well upon us, we’d like to catch our breath and check in.

This is a period of considerable change for the Friends Book Sale. We see this as a positive. As challenging as it can sometimes be, change is an evitable and crucial part of growth. It presents new possibilities for individuals and organizations alike. It allows us to come up for air and see things with a fresh perspective. As we adapt to change, it allows us to reacquaint ourselves with the resiliency, creativity and enthusiasm that is inherent in the human spirit. These qualities are ultimately reflected in the organizations that we serve.

Our new facility is located on the corner of 9th & Lenora, just above the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.  Because we will be holding our sales off-site at various locations in Seattle, it gives the Friends an opportunity to connect with more communities and neighborhoods throughout the city. We believe this will help us extend our reach in a meaningful way and enhance our ability to carry out the mission of the organization. We look forward to the new relationships and partnerships that we will inevitably build along the way. We are presently scouting venues and finalizing plans for our 2013 sales. We’re also hard at work with our online sales, which we believe will increase significantly in the months ahead.

We are excited about the year ahead and we hope that you’re excited too. If you haven’t dropped in to see our new digs, we hope you will pay us a visit soon. We’d love to give you a tour and show you what we’re up to. We are also always on the hunt for volunteers­- new and returning- to help us out with book sorting and other activities. We’re upbeat and friendly. We’d love for you to hang out with us.  There is much work to be done but the days, weeks and months ahead are full of promise, fun and possibility.

Attic Journals Arrive at the FriendShop!


The Friends of the Seattle Public Library chatted with Attic Journals’ creator, Michelle Sanders, to see how this Portland, OR business transformed a hobby into a successful small business. With insights and tips on how to make what you love, what you do, Michelle shares with the Friends the wonder that can come from rediscovering the worth in an old, well-worn book.

Attic Journals found its beginning in the humble stacks of tattered books at a San Luis Obispo garage sale. Intently looking for an original gift for a friend, Michelle grabbed a well-worn book from the stacks, returned home, and re-purposed the book for her friend in the form of a journal. Inspiration had struck!

Attic Journals are available at the FriendShop at the Seattle Public Library-Central Branch NOW! Come find your inspiration.



Attic Journals was born from a garage sale find and a spark of creativity. How did Attic Journals expand from DIY project to a business?

In 2005, a year after AJ started, I felt the winds of change moving inside of me. I ended my job on the coast of California and moved to a retreat center near Yosemite for a year. With that transition, I went from working about 70+ hours a week, to about 20. So, with all of this new found free time (and, if I’m honest, fear that at some point my savings would run out), I started taking Attic Journals more seriously.

It was in that time that I had a day off and went in to Fresno to check out the Tower District that I had heard a bit about. While there, I met Anne, the owner of Teazers, a tea shoppe in the Tower. We started talking about what it was for her to start her business and I shared my aspirations for my own. She invited me to come back that Friday to sell my journals at a street festival they were having and it all snow balled from there.

What are your criteria for choosing journal covers?

When I first started choosing covers, it was to appease my taste. I soon realized that I had a limited view of the consumer appetite. So began the tradition of “looking for friend’s books”. Before going out to hunt for books, I always pick 3-5 very different friends, colleagues, or acquaintances and try to pick journals I think would pique their interest. We still employ that tactic while also paying attention to trends, making sure to get a lot of the books that are tried and true, and seeking out the special requests of our customers and retailers.

Do you have a personal favorite that’s come through the shop?

I don’t remember the title of the book other than it was a volume about or by Shakespeare, but I remember the treasure that was inside of it. About five years ago, this book came thru our workshop and it was full of love letters from a man to the woman who owned the book. I loved it… I was falling in love with my now husband at the time and my romance radar was pretty high. Actually, a woman from Seattle bought that journal at Urban Craft Uprising and before I took her money, I made her read the letter that we had left inside. She swooned… I think I was testing her romance radar to see if she was suitable for that book…

How would you gift an Attic Journal to a friend?

Sometimes folks gift them because the title is just so right. Sometimes it’s because the library card is stamped with a particular date that holds meaning for the recipient. Sometimes it’s because that was the book that so and so had read to such and such every year since they were yay high. For us, we usually gift a journal to teachers… they seem to need more jot down places than the average folks and they certainly love the fact that they are books.


What do you imagine FriendShop customers using Attic Journals for?

Oh gosh! These books are used for alllllll sorts of things. I personally use mine for my to-do list, for a journal that I’m keeping of my daughter’s first years, and a contact log for our business. But I’ve heard of amazing uses from folks all around the country.

Here are a few of my favorites:

– A grandmother comes from Boston to visit her grandchildren in Seattle each winter. When she comes, she and the children pick out a new journal that they “dedicate” while she’s with them for the holidays. The night before she is to leave, she has the children draw her a picture, write her a note, or share something about their lives with the intention that they are sharing it with her… They then all tromp to the post office to mail the journals (unread) to Grandma’s house in Boston so that they’ll arrive soon after she does. She then reads them, writes a note to them and sends the journal back to them… these journals go back and forth like this all year until Grandma’s next visit.

– There’s a woman I met about four years ago that always buys our cookbook journals. She then uses them for dinner parties for guests to write their favorite recipes in… to share stories of the night… keep track of what was served and who was there.

– I also love the students who use these. One of the young women that I have mentored for the past five and a half years uses her journal to figure out her math homework. She doesn’t like doing all the scribbling and erasing on her actual assignment, so she figures it out in her journal and then writes it neatly onto her sheet to be turned in.

What value do you see in DIY projects and gifts?

Well, I suppose it’s the character comprised in each one. The supporting small, independent businesses.

Do you have any advice for FriendShop customers who may be pursuing creative DIY projects in the new year?

Do it because you love it. It’s only been in this last year that my husband and I started doing Attic Journals full time. I think that if I had started out with the attitude that this project had to sustain our lives, at some point it may have lost its magic for us. But what has kept us going this long is that we see the value in the work that we are doing. We’re supporting local schools and libraries. We’re helping people tell their story. And we’re relieving a bit of the world’s landfill burden.

What connection do you see between recycled materials, sustainability, and literature?

Well, I think there is a particular nexus where these three intersect. Because of the emotional appeal of books and our cultural history with book burning and banned books, people have a particular allegiance to keeping books alive in some capacity. A few years ago, a man told me that we were the humane society for books… and I’ve liked that idea. That we get to keep this nostalgia, resonance, and resource in circulation because it’s a beautiful part of our communal existence, feels pretty good.

You Can Find Us:

The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch
(on Level 3, Fifth Avenue side)
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Tel: 206.733.9015

We are also happy to assist with sales by phone.


To learn more:

Website: www.atticjournals.com


Twitter: atticjournals