Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Up Close and Personal at the South Park Branch Library March 20, 2010

Shawna Murphy

“I feel so personal about the South Park library,” Shawna Murphy told us.  “In this library, the staff know me and my family. The  level of service is just unbelievable. We’re all on a first name basis at my branch!”  Talk to anyone from this close-knit neighborhood and you’ll probably hear about two things: the pending closure of the South Park Bridge and reduced hours at the South Park Branch library. “Without the bridge out of the neighborhood the community will depend even more on our small library branch,” Murphy pointed out.

“Our library always has a lot going on,” Murphy, a mother and child care provider explained. ” The older kids in the neighborhood use our library as an afterschool hang out. Our kids section is in the front ¼ of the library so it’s the focal point.  And the computers are always jam-packed with neighbors of all ages, it is almost like the library functions as the South Park Computer Lab. ”

Murphy and her small  child care group have been attending Story Time since the South Park branch opened three years ago, but reduced library service hours are impacting that routine.  “Our branch had to change the time of this offering,” Murphy said, “so story time is now offered at 11:15 instead of 10:15.  This new time frame will be a bit of a challenge because it will be cutting into our lunch & nap time and the children will not be at their best.”

In addition, the closure of the South Park branch twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, cuts into Murphy’s personal routine. “Sunday was my personal day to go to the library, without the kids,” she confided.

When faced with dramatic budget cuts, the Seattle Public Library Board tried to equitably spread 7 day a week library service across the city.  Unfortunately, some of the neighborhoods where library service was reduced were in communities, such as South Park, where the library is greatly needed.  Driving to the next closest open library is sometimes difficult or impossible for families, and some report that it takes them two bus rides to find an open library.

Please help these communities by speaking out for restored library hours. Questions?


Seattle City Council Passes Option C Funding for The Seattle Public Library November 12, 2009

council_header08Today, November 12, 2009, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to increase the General Subfund (GSF) support for library services by $860,000 in 2010.  As described in the Seattle City Council’s green sheet Tab 94, Action 1, Option C, Version 1, “[$860,000] would restore 140 of the library operating hours that would be eliminated per the 2010 Proposed Budget.  Increasing GSF support for library services by $860,000 would also allow the Library Board to reinstate some of the 27 staff positions (18.8 FTE [Full Time]) that would be eliminated under the 2010 Proposed Budget.”

The new operating hours for The Seattle Public Library will look like this with Option C as per the Seattle City Council’s green sheet Tab 94, Action 1, Option C, Version 1


  • Hours remain at the current seven day, 62 hour weekly schedule

Ballard, Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Douglass-Truth, Greenwood, Lake City, Northeast, Rainier Beach, Southwest and West Seattle:

  • Open 7 Days per week (60 hours per week): 
  • Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 8 pm;
  • Friday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm;
  • Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm

Columbia, Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, High Point, International District/Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, University and Wallingford:

  • Open 5 Days per week (35 hours per week, closed Friday and Sunday): 
  • Monday – Tuesday, 1 pm – 8 pm;
  • Wednesday – Thursday, 11 am – 6 pm;
  • Friday:  CLOSED;
  • Saturday 10 am – 6 pm;
  • Sunday:  CLOSED

Seattle Neighborhood Blogs Take Up the Final Call to Action to Save Neighborhood Branch Library Hours November 7, 2009

Neighborhood blogs across Seattle are supporting the Friends of The Seattle Public Library!  Thanks to the Laurelhurst BlogRainier Valley PostWallyhoodMiller Park, Beacon Hill Blog, My Green Lake and Wedgewood Blog for getting your communities involved in this final email campaign and thanks to Blogging Georgetown, Capitol Hill Seattle, Fremont Universe, Greenwood, Magnolia Voice, PhinneyWood, Queen Anne View and West Seattle Blog for their earlier support.

West Seattle BranchWallingford BranchUniversity BranchSouth Park BranchBeacon Hill Branch

Your past emails have made a difference!  Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell, and Licata are committed to preserving the current hours of operations at all neighborhood branches of The Seattle Public Library.  We have launched this final e-mail campaign targeted at Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, McIver, and Rasmussen to urge them to join Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell, and Licata in preserving our present neighborhood Library hours.  Please send the email outlined below today:



SUBJECT:  $1.2 Million Restoration of Library Funds

TEXT: Dear Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, McIver, and Rasmussen,

Please join fellow Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata and vote for Option A to restore the 330 weekly service hours to keep our libraries open normal hours in 2010.

OPTIONAL:  I use the XYZ neighborhood branch for XYZ. OR Share a more personal message about why your neighborhood branch is important to you.

On Nov. 2, Seattle City Councilmembers began discussing four options to partially restore the 5% reduction in the endorsed Library budget. None of the options will prevent another one week furlough in 2010, but the best choice, Option A, does preserve Library hours in your neighborhood branch at their current level and prevents the loss of 27 Library staff positions.

The proposed hours reduction would mean that Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Columbia, Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood, High Point, International District / Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northeast, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, University, Wallingford and West Seattle would be closed on Fridays and Sundays, plus operate at reduced hours – all year.

Thank you Seattle Neighborhood Blogs and their readers for all your support and dedication to your neighborhood library branches.  Please ask your Seattle friends and family to join you in this final email campaign to save neighborhood branch library hours.

Columbia BranchMadronna Sally Goldmark Branch

MontlakeQueen Anne BranchNortheast BranchInternational District Chinatown Branch

Capitol Hill BranchNorthgate BranchNewHolly BranchMagnolia BranchHigh Point BranchBeacon Hill BranchDelridge BranchGreen Lake BranchGreenwood BranchFremont Branch


Call to Action! Please email undecided Councilmembers now to save library hours November 3, 2009

Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell, and Licata are championing a restoration of 1.2 million dollars to the 2010 budget which will keep our libraries open next year with the same operating hours we enjoy this year.

Unfortunately none of the options Council put forward will stop our libraries from closing for a one week furlough, but we think a one week closure is more than enough.

We want no further cuts to hours but we need your help convincing undecided Councilmembers to vote for Option A, restoration of many hours the mayor’s budget caused our libraries to cut in 2010.  Join the final call to action in support of neighborhood library branch hours

Please send this email message and urge friends and family to send it too.



SUBJECT:  $1.2 Million Restoration of Library Funds

TEXT: Dear Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, McIver, and Rasmussen,

Please join fellow Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata and vote for Option A to restore the 330 weekly service hours to keep our libraries open normal hours in 2010.

OPTIONAL:  I use the XYZ neighborhood branch for XYZ. OR Share a more personal message about why your neighborhood branch is important to you.


Start Reserving Books to Tide You Over During the Furlough August 13, 2009

A friendly reminder that that all branches of The Seattle Public Library will be closed Monday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 6 due to citywide budget cuts.  The Library will also be closed on Monday, Sept. 7 for  the Labor Day holiday, so regular Library operations will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 8.  Click here for more information about the closure.

Here are suggestions from the Friends’ Board meeting in August in case you need books to read during the furlough.  You can click on the links below to get to the SPL site to reserve copies of these books.

Olive picture

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout.  This novel features 13 interconnected stories, elegantly and sparingly told, of life in rural Maine.  Olive Kitteridge is a retired schoolteacher who provides a common thread in all of the stories, and we see how her choices in life play out as she moves from middle age to old age.

disreputable historyThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart.  Nancy Pearl recently recommended this young adult novel on a radio show, and I wasn’t able to write down the title while driving, so was delighted that another board member brought it in to our meeting.  Frankie attends a private boarding school and finds intrigue in infiltrating an all-male secret society called the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds.  Can our heroine turn the tables on her male high school classmates who underestimate her and the other girls at school?  Read it and find out!

the help

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.   A college graduate and aspiring writer returns to her hometown of Jackson Mississippi in the 1960s and decides to write down the stories of the black women who provide the domestic “help” in many of the white households.  The three narrators must deal with the fears and repercussions (and sense of pride) that result from publishing stories that challenge the prevailing concepts of race, class, family and gender roles.

loving frank

Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan.  This historical novel explores the relationship of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress Mamah Borthwick Cheney, a scholar in her own right.  The board member who recommended this especially enjoyed the lively discussion held at one of the branch library book groups, and commented that “Librarians run the best book groups!”   For more information about upcoming book group meetings at various branches, click here.


Library Funding Petition: Find It and Sign It! April 15, 2009


Friends of The Seattle Public Library may be coming to your neighborhood branch this week seeking signatures for a petition to preserve library funds. Look for representatives of our organization standing outside these libraries:  Northeast on April 16,  Wallingford and Lake City April 17,  Columbia, Beacon Hill and Capital Hill on April19.  You may also see us at Magnolia and Douglass-Truth. Would you like to help us petition to preserve library funds? Contact us at We’ll also have petitions at the Book Sale this weekend. You can also sign our petition at the following independent book sellers: Secret Garden Bookshop in Ballard, Queen Anne books,  Elliott Bay Books, Leisure Books in West Seattle, Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Wallingford and Left Bank Books in Pike Place Market. Thanks to everyone that has signed our petition to preserve library funds.  We hope to have at least 1,000 signatures to turn in to City Council on Monday, April 20.

We don’t know yet how the operations budget of the library may be affected by the City’s budget crisis.  The final public meeting on budget matters is April 20 at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. You’re welcome to join us. Please RSVP to Library supporters were mentioned in a KOMO report on the second of three budget meetings  at City Hall which we attended on April 13. Any reduction in library operating and collections funds will have a deep impact on our neighborhoods. Please join us in our efforts to preserve library funds.


The Newest Superheroes: Your Neighborhood Librarians April 9, 2009

 If there was any doubt that your neighborhood librarians should be given superhero status, take a look at this New York Times article about how the economic downturn is putting new stresses on libraries and librarians. Librarians are facing increased demands as “first responders” to patrons who are seeking help in filling out job applications and unemployment forms, using the library’s computers and free wi-fi access, looking for language and citizenship training, borrowing books and DVDs for free entertainment, and dealing with the emotional strains of making do with much less. Even Nancy Pearl’s beloved Librarian Action Figure might find it difficult to deal with all of these demands.

So how can you help? First of all, take the time to thank your neighborhood librarians – a kind word goes a long way. Second, consider volunteering at the Library – there are many different ways you can get involved. Third, email City Councilmembers and ask them to preserve funding for the Library:,,,,,,,,

If you’re looking for books that feature fictional librarians, here’s a list from the Library’s Shelf Talk blog. And although the following books don’t feature librarians, consider the book recommendations below from the Friends’ Board meeting in April. You can just click on the links below to get to the SPL site to reserve a copy of these books. Quoted book review excerpts are reprinted with permission from Booklist.

Bone [Vol. I], Out from Boneville, by Jeff Smith. “One of the most acclaimed new comics of recent years, Bone is a Tolkien-meets-Pogo fantasy about the Bone cousins, who leave their home, Boneville, for adventures in the outside world. . . . Smith, with his clean draftsmanship and flawless comic timing, has been compared to comics masters Walt Kelly (Pogo and Carl Barks (creator of Uncle Scrooge McDuck). Like Pogo Bone has a whimsy best appreciated by adults, yet kids can enjoy it, too . . .” — Gordon Flagg   This review was written in 1995, and there are many other volumes available.

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, by Muhammad Yunus with Karl Weber. Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, which lends small amounts of money to poorer individuals to help them start small businesses. This is an inspiring tale about the possibilities of “micro-lending”, and businesses that are helping people while still being profitable.

Why I Wake Early : New Poems, by Mary Oliver. This is a lovely collection of poems about nature and contemplative ideas, and encourages us to slow down and appreciate nature.

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. This is Verghese’s first book of fiction, and starts in a charity hospital in Ethiopia while spanning three continents and several generations. This garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

A Hand to Guide Me, Denzel Washington with Daniel Paisner. Actor Denzel Washington, a national spokesman for the Boys and Girls Club of America, has collected stories from over 70 celebrities (including himself) of how mentors made a difference in their lives. Contributors include Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinhem, Whoopie Goldberg, Bonnie Raitt, Cal Ripken, and more.

Readers, who are your favorite neighborhood superhero librarians?



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