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October 22, 2016

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Leaders & Organizations : City Librarian

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Message from the City Librarian

As we dig in to an exciting new year here at The Seattle Public Library, I wanted to reflect on some of our significant 2015 accomplishments and give you a taste of what is to come in 2016.

The Library was, once again, named a 5-star Library by the Index of Public Library Service. I am proud to say it was the sixth year in a row the Library has earned that designation.

We have been host to extremely popular and important talks and readings with authors, activists and scholars, including Kevin PowellOrhan Pamuk, Erica Jong, Manuel Pastor, and Phill Wilson. If you missed any of these events, be sure to check out our podcasts page where we provide audio recordings of many Library events.

We have hosted panel discussions about the history of civil rights in Seattle, the environmental social justice movement of Northwest Native Americans, the impact of gun violence on a community and the obstacles that face LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.

We made physical space improvements to the Rainier Beach Branch and improved exterior access to the West Seattle Branch. And we went outside of our branches to find patrons where they are with programs like Books On Bikes, Booktoberfest and our Open Air pop-up library.

We continued to offer community services that help close the opportunity gap and the digital divide, such as: enrollment assistance for Affordable Care Act healthcare, tax filing assistance, application assistance for Section 8 housing, tech help, computer science workshops and so much more.

We introduced a number of service offerings and enhancements in 2015, including, but certainly not limited to:


This was the final year of our five-year strategic plan, which set a wonderful foundation for the way we respond to the changing needs of our community. We will now build on that foundation with five key Service Priorities: Youth and Family Learning, Technology and Access, Seattle Culture and History, Community Engagement and Re-imagined Spaces. You can learn more about these service priorities on our website.

Looking ahead

In 2016, we are delighted to be celebrating our 125th anniversary as a Library system, otherwise known as our Quasquicentennial! This will also mark our fourth year of implementing the seven-year levy voters approved in 2012 to expand service hours, provide more books and materials, improve digital and online services, and maintain our 27 branches.

We have many exciting service upgrades, programs and events planned for 2016 that you won’t want to miss, including a four-week exhibit of Shakespeare’s First Folio this spring.

We are also excited to begin work on:

  • Delivering enhanced features to our online catalog
  • Improving the user experience of our website on all devices
  • Continuing and expanding the work we have done on our Wi-Fi Hotspot program, bringing the total number of devices to 775


None of these achievements would have been possible without the hard work of our world class staff; the thoughtful deliberation and leadership of our Library Board; the steady support of our volunteers, donors, The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Friends of The Seattle Public Library; and the passionate engagement of our patrons.

And now, to usher you into the New Year in true Library style, don’t miss A Year of Reading, monthly book picks and related works selected by librarians for each month of 2016!

Marcellus Turner, city librarian


Marcellus Turner, city librarian

Contact Your City Librarian


1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA

From the City Librarian:


Sept. 25, 2015
Message regarding the proposed rebranding