The Seattle Public Library system to close Aug. 30 through Sept. 6 for budget cuts
The Seattle Public Library system will close Monday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 5 due to citywide budget cuts. Please note Monday, Sept. 6 is the Labor Day holiday and all libraries will be closed. Regular Library operations will resume Tuesday, Sept. 7.
All city departments have implemented cuts to help address a total $67 million gap in the 2010 city budget. The Library is funded from the city general fund.
The systemwide closure is one of a number of measures the Library is implementing to achieve $3 million in cuts for 2010. The closure will save approximately $650,000.
The closure will mean salary reductions for nearly 650 employees who will not be paid during that week. The remaining savings is being met through cuts to branch hours, management and administration, the budget for books and materials, staff computers and staff training.
Most Library services will be unavailable during the one-week closure and will have the following impacts:
- No materials will be due and no fines will be accrued.
- The last day to check out Library items before the closure is Sunday, Aug. 29. 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.
- No book drops will be open. The Central Library book drops will close at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29 and will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7. Book drops at branches that are open on Sundays will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7. Book drops at branches that are closed on Sundays will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7.
- 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.
- No Library computers will be available. Patrons will not be able to reserve a computer for the week the Library system is closed.
- No access to Wi-Fi.
- No book group kits will be sent, received or returned during the one-week closure. Kits will be sent to libraries as usual on the last Wednesday of the month, Aug. 25. Kits not available then will be sent as soon as possible after Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6.
- No programs or events in Library meeting rooms.
- No TeleCirc, the Library's telephone circulation service that provides patrons with information on their Library account.
- No Quick Information telephone service.
- No Text a Librarian, email a librarian or chat with a librarian.
- No mail will 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.
- No Mobile Services.
- No parking in library garages. The Central Library, Capitol Hill Branch and Ballard Branch garages will be closed.
Neighborhood Service Centers located at the Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill branches will provide assistance by appointment only. 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.
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 provide assistance to 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 new app for Web-enabled phones, called SPL Mobile.
- Online databases. Patrons will have access to more than 70 premium databases, including Britannica Online, ChiltonLibrary.com, Consumer Reports and Morningstar Investment Research Center.
- Downloadable media. Patrons will have access to more than 50,000 items in the digital collection, including 42,000 e-books and audiobooks, 3,000 downloadable music titles and 5,000 downloadable movie titles. There will be links to instructional videos on how to download digital media.
- Digital collections. Patrons will have access to three special collections that have been digitized: Photos from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Collection, the Northwest Art Collection and The Seattle Historical Photograph Collection.
- Adult blog Shelf Talk and teen blog Push to Talk.
- Library podcasts.
Aug. 30 through Sept. 5 was the week selected for the closure because general Library use at that time is not as high as other times during the year, school is not in session and there are fewer Library programs scheduled.
City Librarian Susan Hildreth said she 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," she said. "Without the closure, we would have had to cut more operating hours or further reduce the book budget." Hildreth 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," she said.
Hildreth 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," she said.
For more information contact:
Andra Addison, communications director
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