Seattle - like the rest of the nation - continues to face incredible budget challenges in the current economic downturn.
As a result, important basic services must be cut citywide.
What makes all the proposed reductions more challenging is that in a time of economic crisis libraries provide critical resources to the community. Patrons turn to our libraries for resources to search for jobs and improve employment skills, and for all kinds of materials, computer access and free literary and educational programs.
More than 14 million customers visited the Library in 2009, up 7 percent over 2008. Circulation of books and materials rose 20 percent in 2008 and an additional 6 percent in 2009.
In proposing the cuts, the Library Board was guided by the following strategic priorities:
- Ensure full Library service is available seven days a week citywide
- Maintain the Central Library's capacity to provide systemwide support and its unique role in providing public programming and services
- Make reductions sustainable and strategic to maximize capacity to respond to increasing customer demand and efficiency of staffing
- Anticipate reductions beyond 2010 to manage impacts on employees and the public
- End of list
The Library selected the seven-day-a-week branches to ensure full Library service is available seven days a week citywide. These branches are among the largest, are served by public transit, have large meeting rooms and a significant number of public computers, and have work areas capable of handling more books and other items. Most also have on-site parking.
Effect on Library staff
Expected earnings of each Library employee will be cut approximately 1.9 percent due to the one-week closure.