The Library Levy that Seattle will vote on in August is, in part, a response to the hopes of thousands of Seattleites who made their opinions clear in feedback at community meetings and in online surveys between 2010 and January of this year. One message sent loud and clear was, “Please keep my library open!”
Passage of the levy will restore Sunday hours to every neighborhood library and stop the week long closures neighborhoods have experienced each year since 2009. Ironically, reduced hours began months after the successful rennovation of the library system was completed in late 2008 when the city failed to find or allocate ample funding to fully operate Seattle’s Libraries For All vision. Public demand was already surging by 2000 and has since grown by a phenomenal 45%. Passage of this levy will restore the vision of library excellence to our community and re-open our neighborhood libraries as voters intended.
Fifteen of our 26 neighborhood libraries currently operate only 35 hours a week now. In library feedback, patrons described the hardship working families experience in trying to access the library and talked about the sad impact on children through lost computer time, loss of story times and other programs, and lack of access to reference librarians or collections. For some, shortened hours have made the library impossible to get to anymore. Reactions have ranged between frustration and disheartenment.
Voters, you took the lead in establishing our strong expanded library system. Now the vision is at risk and the demand is not being met. Please join us in voting for library excellence and re-opening the library doors. Vote yes on the library levy in August!