City honors outgoing chief librarian after ten years of Seattle Public Library service

(Image: Seattle Public Library)

The City of Seattle is honoring a decade of service from the Seattle Public Library’s chief librarian and executive director Marcellus Turner as he is stepping down from the position.

The Seattle City Council honored Turner on Monday with a proclamation recognizing his contributions to the city’s literary culture.

“Turner led the Seattle Public Library during two successful levies in 2012 and 2019. He prioritized equality by eliminating overdue fines and allowing people without proof of residence access to library materials,” the announcement of the proclamation reads. “Additionally, Turner led pioneering programs such as adding wi-fi hotspots to circulation so more households have access to the internet, and installing a social worker at the Central Library to better serve Seattle’s homelessness communities.” Continue reading

Seattle rolls out instant digital library cards to help fill socially distant days with reading

(Image: SPL)

I just finished Netflix. Now what should I watch?

It’s a good line. How about you read something? The Seattle Public Library can help. It’s not a visit to Harvard Ave but residents can now sign up for new Instant Digital Library Cards:

Seattle residents who do not have a Library card from The Seattle Public Library can now sign up for an instant digital Library card, which gives immediate access to e-books and e-audiobooks through the Library’s OverDrive digital collection.

Launched Thursday, March 26, the service is available at

“We are working hard to find new ways to support Seattle residents during this unprecedented public health crisis,” library Circulation Services Manager Bo Kinney said. “Whether you’re a parent looking for a just-right chapter book, a telecommuter brushing up on skills or a senior who wants a light read after a heavy day of news, we have resources for you.” Continue reading

Library levy — at a bargain table price of only $43 per Seattleite per year — heads for August ballot

With a final price tag of $219 million, the Seattle City Council has finalized the Seattle Library levy proposal for the August ballot.

CHS wrote here about the core seven-year property tax proposal that will replace an expiring levy and will provide about 25% of the system’s budget.

“From story time to summer learning programs to adult learning classes, our libraries advance equity, education and opportunity for all who call Seattle home,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement to CHS about the levy. “If we are going to build a city of the future, then we must build the libraries of the future, too. By renewing our shared investments in The Seattle Public Library, we can lift up the places where communities come together, open up doors to learning, and make Seattle a more equitable place to live.” Continue reading

With focus on equity and access, here’s the book on Seattle’s $200M+ library levy proposal

The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday evening on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan for hiking the Seattle Public Library levy up to over $213.3 million in property taxes over the next seven years.

The new proposal, which first needs to be approved — and possibly modified — by the City Council before before voters get to weigh in in early August, would replace the city’s 2012 levy of $123 million, which was fairly easily approved by voters and expires at the end of this year.

“While Seattle’s voters have historically supported our library system, I don’t take their support for granted,” said  Debora Juarez, who chairs the council’s Select Committee on the Library Levy.

The money under the mayor’s plan would increase access to all of the Seattle Public Library’s 26 branches, sustain and raise investments in technology, expand literature purchases, and continue maintenance. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle’s ‘Libraries for All’ plan

From Mayor Jenny Durkan

From story time to summer learning programs to adult learning classes, The Seattle Public Libraryadvances equity, education, and opportunity for all who call Seattle home. We are lucky to have 27 safe, welcoming locations throughout Seattle for residents of all ages and backgrounds. And we know that when we invest in libraries, we invest in opening doors to opportunity and equity.

In 2018 alone, The Seattle Public Library locations:

  • Hosted more than five million visitors;
  • Circulated almost 12 million items;
  • Helped more than 13,000 people through adult learning programs like English as a Second Language, Adult Education Tutoring, and Ready to Work;

  • Helped more than 45,000 kids who participated in last year’s Summer of Learning; and,

  • Hosted more than 1,100 homework help sessions.

With the 2012 Library Levy set to expire at the end of this year, we must act to sustain and enhance our libraries. If we are going to build a city of the future, we need to build libraries of the future. Continue reading

Seattle Public Library collection will feature city’s great, new music

Constant Lovers at Pettirosso on February 15th 2016

CiB4zppVIAAZ5nmThe Seattle Public Library is creating a special curated collection to make one of the city’s great art forms available to all:

The Seattle Public Library’s PlayBack is an online collection that showcases and shares current local music for free. Seattle’s musical culture is known for its originality, passion and creativity, as our local artists continue to demonstrate. PlayBack helps new audiences discover a wealth of today’s local music. PlayBack’s jury of music community leaders and Library staff selects a diverse array of musical styles to create a soundtrack for Seattle. We make 100 albums available for free download and streaming each year. Anyone can stream the albums for free, and The Seattle Public Library cardholders can download and keep anything in the PlayBack collection.

SPL’s PlayBack jury will select the albums added to the collection through open calls for submission twice per year. “Local musicians and bands are encouraged to submit sample tracks for consideration,” the announcement of the program reads.

SPL PlayBack’s Jury

  • Tim Lennon – Executive Director, Vera Project; City of Seattle Music Commissioner
  • Larry Mizell, Jr., – KEXP DJ and host of Street Sounds; Office of Arts and Culture Digital Media Specialist; Columnist for The Stranger
  • Liz Riley Tollefson – Founder and Contributor, Three Imaginary Girls
  • Kreg Hasegawa – Adult Librarian, The Seattle Public Library, Music Enthusiast and Project Lead
  • Meira Jough – Program Coordinator, The Seattle Public Library, Music Enthusiast

SPL says up to 50 albums will be selected to add to the collection in each submission period. Selected artists will sign a license agreement and receive an honorarium of $200 for sharing the music through PlayBack. Artists can choose between a 5-year license term or a lifetime license term.

The first ever submission period for the program ends May 23rd. You can learn more on the artist information page. Meanwhile, there is an informational happy hour Wednesday evening at Capitol Hill’s Cloud Room to learn more.

UPDATE: These songs won’t make the cut:

Capitol Hill

  1. Oasis – Champagne Supernova (Remastered)
  2. Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
  3. Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious
  4. Lady Lamb – Billions of Eyes
  5. Rihanna – Right Now
  6. Brandi Carlile – The Things I Regret
  7. Beyoncé – Standing on the Sun Remix
  8. Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good
  9. Neon Indian – Annie
  10. Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun

City Council Notes | Jayapal endorses Sawant for District 3, Pre-K implementation plan, Council weighs in on U.S. Pacific trade deal

Jayapal celebrates on last November's Election Night (Image: Pramila for State Senate)

Jayapal celebrates on last November’s Election Night (Image: Pramila for State Senate)

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • On Monday, State Sen. Pramila Jayapal announced her endorsement for City Council member Kshama Sawant, who’s running for the Capitol Hill-centered District 3 position this year. In a statement, Jayapal underscored Sawant’s ability to work collaboratively as the three other District 3 candidates have dinged Sawant in various ways for being too adversarial:

“I was proud to work with Kshama to fight for a $15 minimum wage. She combines a principled approach, a willingness to listen, and the ability to move critical legislation that affects our most vulnerable communities,” Jayapal said.

Jayapal is backing a measure in the senate to raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years. She represents the 37th District, which includes Central Area neighborhoods south of Madison St. down to Renton and overlaps with part of Council District 3.

  • Mayor Ed Murray has said that implementing a universal pre-K program in Seattle would be the most important thing he’ll ever do as mayor. Earlier this month the mayor submitted that pre-K plan to Council, where it’s up for a public hearing this week. Last year, voters approved a 4-year levy to offer free pre-K schooling to a quarter of Seattle’s 3- and- 4-year-olds and make subsidies available for the rest. Included in the implementation plan up for consideration is a sliding fee schedule that offers free pre-school for those at or below 300% of the federal poverty line. Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 7.45.23 PMThe Wednesday meeting of the Council’s education committee will feature a presentation by researchers from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as a panel of pre-K experts that will include Dr. Debra Sullivan of Seattle Central College.
  • The City Librarian will present the annual library levy report to city council members on Tuesday. Part of a $2.5 million maintenance budget included safety improvements made to the Captiol Hill branch.
  • Now and then some City Council members like to use their position to weigh in on international issues (remember last year’s flare-up over Sawant’s letter on Gaza?). Council member Mike O’Brien has put forth a resolution to state the council’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement President Barack Obama is quietly hammering out with 11 other Pacific nations. Among the many reasons laid out in the resolution to oppose the TPP, one section argues that the TPP “threatens Seattle’s work force by forcing the U.S to waive ‘Buy American’ or ‘Buy Local’ requirements.” Council members will discuss the resolution during Thursday’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee meeting.

Design competition could put a well-crafted Little Free Library on your Capitol Hill corner

Finding one of Capitol Hill’s Little Free Libraries is a lovely little literary treat. What are they reading in Miller Park? What are they giving away?

Sometimes, the design of the free-book boxes also tells a story. A Seattle Little Free Library design competition benefiting non-profit Architects Without Borders will recognize the creativity and functionality of these neighborhood mini-repositories:

PrintClick here for the COMPETITION BRIEF
Click here to REGISTER




SEPTEMBER 6-7 & 13-14, 2014

Let Your Library Loose this Summer!

Get ready to design, build and steward a Little Free Library prototype that promotes community and literacy in Seattle’s neighborhoods!

Little Free Libraries are small-scale book shelters that function as “take-a-book, leave-a-book” gathering places. They provide a location where the free exchange of books, ideas, stories, and interests contribute to a shared experience valued by neighbors and visitors. All entry fees benefit Architects Without Borders – Seattle, a local non-profit that provides ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need.

(Image: Judy Solomon)

(Image: Judy Solomon)

Libraries on the Loose Jury:
Marcellus Turner – Seattle Public Libraries City Librarian
Audrey Barbakoff – Librarian at the Bainbridge Island Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library
Kimo Griggs – Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington
Lesley Bain – Principal of Framework Cultural Placemaking
Susan Jones – Principal of atelierjonesConsider what design can do to foster community and literacy in our local neighborhoods and let your library loose!

Individuals can register for $75, small businesses for $100. Kids under 18 can enter for free.

We’ll check in on the competition and any new Capitol Hill little library projects to watch for.

Happy 10th birthday to the Capitol Hill library

cap-hill_02Capitol Hill’s much-loved — and much-photographed, as you can see below — library turned 10 on Friday. Thanks to You can read a history of Capitol Hill’s libraries including this note on the creation of the Harvard Ave E:

The Henry Branch lent its last book on November 3, 2001, and the existing building was demolished. The renamed Capitol Hill Branch opened on May 31, 2003. (On February 23, 1999, the Library Board adopted a policy limiting the use of personal names to areas within libraries, rather than to libraries themselves. This policy impacted all new, rebuilt, or relocated branches.  With the exception of the Douglass-Truth Branch and the Madrona-Sally Goldmark Branch, The Seattle Public Library’s branch names indicate the neighborhoods in which they are built).  The 11,215-square-foot building was designed by Johnston Architects and Cutler Architects. The new building is more than twice the size of the old one and can hold 40,000 books.  It features large windows with wide window seats, community meeting rooms, and a large central reading room under a soaring ceiling with skylights, and a glass book tower.

Seattle Public Library Capitol Hill Branch, originally uploaded by brewbooks.

Meanwhile, Twice Sold Tales, another Harvard Ave destination for the bookish, celebrated an anniversary this week, too. Sunday, the book party ends, however — it’s the final day of business for the Hill’s Half Price Books outlet.

More images of the Capitol Hill library, below. Continue reading