Up Close and Personal at the South Park Branch Library

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? advocacy@friendsofspl.org


Vote by email

Neighborhoods are just getting settled into their new and rennovated branch libraries and usage is skyrocketing. Funding cuts coming now,  just as the library is completing it’s ten year growth and expansion, Libraries For All, would hit hard.

The Libraries For All project that Seattle passed in 1998 was the largest capital bond in the United States at the time.  It guided the rennovation of existing libraries, built a new Central library and added service to some neighborhoods. That kind of public investment and support drew national attention and created a library system with International recognition. The Ballard, Beacon Hill, Douglass-Truth, South Park, Northgate, and Montlake branches and Central library have garnered many community and architectural awards.

Seattle, we voted with our pocketbooks and now we’re voting with our feet. Visits to Central library are up 211% since 2003. Now we need to vote by email in order to protect our investment. Please help Friends of The Seattle Public Library tell elected officials that library collections need their support.  The Mayor has proposed funding that is 2.2 million dollars short of the library’s need. Please ask City Council to increase the mayor’s proposed collections budget to bring it nearer the amount the library must have to meet growing neighborhood demand. Councilmember emails: jean.godden@seattle.gov, richard.conlin@seattle.gov, nick.licata@seattle.gov, jan.drago@seattle.gov, sally.clark@seattle.gov, tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, richard.mciver@seattle.gov