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Library News Release

Release Date: 06/28/2012

The Seattle Public Library system to close Aug. 27 through Sept. 3 due to budget cuts

The Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library system will close Monday, Aug. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 2 due to citywide budget cuts. All libraries will be closed for the Labor Day holiday Monday, Sept. 3. Regular Library operations will resume Tuesday, Sept. 4.


City departments have made significant cuts to address a continuing budget shortfall. The Library is funded from the city general fund.


The systemwide closure will produce approximately $613,000 in savings. The Library closure will mean salary reductions for nearly 620 employees who will not be paid during that week. The closure week was selected because general Library use is not as high as other weeks of the year, school is not in session and there are fewer Library programs scheduled.


Services unavailable:

Most Library services will be unavailable during the one-week closure and will have the following impacts:


Materials will not be due and no fines will be charged.


The last day to check out Library items before the closure is Sunday, Aug. 26. The Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., will be open until 6 p.m. that day and another 11 branches will be open until 5 p.m. Visit www.spl.org or call 206-386-4636 for more information on Library locations and hours.


Book drops will not be open. The Central Library book drops will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 and will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4. 

  • Book drops at branches that are open on Sundays will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.  
  • Book drops at branches that are closed on Sundays will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4. 


Limited access to the online catalog. Patrons will be able to search the catalog and check their Library record but will not be able to place holds on items. No staff will be working to process the thousands of books and materials that customers normally put on hold.


Limited access to the website (www.spl.org). The online calendar, databases, downloadable books and media, digital special collections, podcasts, SPL Mobile app and blogs will be available, but other online information and features will not be available. No staff members will be working to maintain the site or troubleshoot problems.


Library computers will not be available. Patrons will not be able to reserve a computer for the week the Library system is closed.


No access to Wi-Fi.


Book group kits will not be sent, received or returned during the one-week closure. Kits will be sent out after we open on Tuesday, Sept. 4.


Programs or events will not be held in Library meeting rooms.


No TeleCirc, the Library's telephone circulation service that provides patrons with information on their Library account.


Quick Information telephone service will not be available.


Email a librarian or chat with a librarian will not be available.


Mail will not be received during the closure. The Library will have the U.S. Post Office hold all mail until the Library reopens. There will not be staff available to accept deliveries.


Mobile Services deliveries will not be made.


Parking in Library branch garages will not be available at the Capitol Hill, Montlake, Greenwood and Ballard branches. The Central Library parking garage will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 through Friday, Aug. 31 and closed Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3. 


The Lake City Neighborhood Service Center and parking garage will remain open.  It is co-located with the Lake City Branch, but has a separate entrance. The Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, which is co-located with the Ballard Branch, will stay open as well.


Some electronic services available


Some electronic resources will be available for patrons to access remotely during the closure. Patrons should understand that staff will not be available to help them use these online services. The online services available by going to www.spl.org will include:


  • Calendar of Events. Patrons will be able to see information about upcoming Library programs.
  • SPL Mobile page. Patrons will be able to view information about using the Library's app for Web-enabled phones, called SPL Mobile.
  • Online databases.  Patrons will have access to more than 95 premium databases, including Britannica Online, ChiltonLibrary.com, Mango Languages, Consumer Reports and Morningstar Investment Research Center.
  • Downloadable media. Patrons will have access to more than 34,000 items in the digital collection, including e-books and audiobooks, song titles and downloadable movie titles. There will be links to instructional videos on how to download digital media.
  • Digital collections.  Patrons will have access to special collections that have been digitized, including: photos from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Collection; the Northwest Art Collection and The Seattle Historical Photograph Collection; the Seattle City Directory Collection; and the Century 21 Exposition Digital Collection.
  • Adult blog Shelf Talk and teen blog Push to Talk.
  • Library podcasts.
  • Online payment of fines/fees.


City Librarian Marcellus Turner said he understands how difficult the closure will be for patrons who depend on and need Library services, particularly during this prolonged recession.


"Unfortunately the Library has limited options when dealing with cuts of this magnitude," he said. "Without the closure, we would have had to cut more operating hours or further reduce the book budget."  Turner explained the majority of the Library's $50 million budget pays for direct public service - Library personnel to run the libraries. The remainder of the budget pays for books and materials, and fixed costs, such as telecommunication and Internet services and utilities. "There weren't any easy choices," he said.


Turner encourages patrons to start planning now for the closure. "For those who aren't familiar with our digital collection, this is a good time to learn how to download books, movies and music, since they will be available during the closure," he said.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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