Community Post

Library Seeks Public Input on Options for Improving Library Services

The Seattle Public Library will hold three community meetings in January to discuss improving Library services. The meetings will focus on options for enhancing its collection of books and materials, increasing operating hours, upgrading computers and online services and improving building maintenance. Strategies for stabilizing Library funding will be reviewed.

The community meetings are scheduled as follows:

10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 7, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Auditorium (206-386-4636)
Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave. S. (206-684-4711)
6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W. (206-684-4089).

“Our libraries provide essential educational resources for the residents of Seattle,” said Marcellus Turner, city librarian. “Every day we change lives – from building literacy skills at story times to providing in-depth resources and workshops for job seekers.”

At the community meetings, patrons will receive an overview of Library use and suggested options for improving customer service in the four essential service areas: collections, Library hours, computer access and building maintenance. Patrons will have an opportunity to comment on the different options, which grew out of last year’s process to develop the Library’s new Strategic Plan.

Patrons also will learn more about the Library budget and alternatives for helping stabilize funding to support Library services now and into the future. Budget reductions have resulted in resource and service cuts and a possible levy is being explored.

“With the 1998 Libraries for All building renewal program, we made sure our Library facilities were up-to-date and able to support Library programs and users,” Library Board President Marie McCaffrey said. “Now we are entering the next phase of bringing the Libraries for All vision to life – extending our reach through improved operating hours, books and materials available in different formats and expanded digital access.”

Turner and Library Board members will be present at the meetings to listen to the public. “The public drives everything we do and we want patrons to be involved in helping shape Library services, now and for the next generation,” Turner said.

Patrons are also welcome to comments online. For more information, visit and select “Libraries for All: A Plan for the Present, A Foundation for the Future,” or call 206-386-4636.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

10 thoughts on “Library Seeks Public Input on Options for Improving Library Services

  1. It would serve us better to close the libraries. Less than 4% of Seattlites use the library at all. Only 1.2% use the library in any year. Yet the libraries consume 17% of the non-essential budget. Close them.

  2. Wow, those are startling statistics. Where did you find them? You made me curious, since the library bonds and tax initiatives usually pass. I did a little research and found that, according to the community survey performed by Berk & Associates last year:

    Approximately 67% of Seattle residents are cardholders, and
    Approximately 34% of Seattle residentsare considered active cardholders.

  3. Whenever I go to either the downtown library or Douglass-Truth, they are crowded with people (and they are using the library materials and computers, not just hanging out).

  4. I admit I used the libraries more when I had children living with me, but now and then when I want to research something out of the ordinary, I really do appreciate them. They are great and as far as I can tell the downtown location and Douglass-Truth locations are busy. Once when my internet access went down, I went into the Sally Goldmark branch in Madrona and did not find it to be that friendly. I was the only patron,and the staff seemed uncomfortable with my being there and strictly enforced the one hour internet use policy. No one else was waiting. I don’t know how other branches handle this since internet is not one of my main uses of the library. One hour on the internet is not generally adequate to finish many real tasks. I know that they can only provide so much space for computer terminals, but I wonder how those dependent of the libraries for internet access ever complete job applications or anything else in one hour. Since so much communication takes place on the internet I think that this is an issue.

    When traveling, I always depend on libraries as a source of information and internet.

  5. Can you cite your source for those statistics? Not to sound harsh, but they seem so far off what I believe that they sound made up, including the percentage of city budget that goes to libraries.

    Seattle libraries are kept quite busy, and Seattle is fairly famous as a big town for readers. Here are some statistics on library use in 2010: and here is some more information that seems to be in line with what Cascadia Girl said:

  6. Only 4% of humans with measurable brain waves think Grumbo is anything but an idiot, and only 1.2% think he’s worth the electrons he wastes on the Internet, yet 17% of people actually read his comments.

    (See, I can make up statistics also. Gumbo, move to Alabama)

  7. For what it is worth, all Seattle Public Library cardholders can use library internet for 90 minutes each day.

  8. @Knees:

    Ha! Point taken. However, debunking is important. Wouldn’t you agree?