Nov 4, 2009

From the Friends of the Library

(FWIW I've E-mailed the Council, suspecting that the cuts would be made, and suggested that the Monday to Thursday hours all be 1 - 8 PM, to allow people to go after work)
My name is Jennifer Johnson-Fong, I volunteer as the Vice President on the board of Friends of The Seattle Public Library.  If you have reported about The Seattle Public Library budget in the past thank you and I hope you can support the Friends again as Seattle City Council makes their final decisions on the proposed 2010 Library budget.  If you haven’t reported before or the Friends haven’t contacted you in the past, I hope you’ll help get an important message out to your neighborhood.
 The Friends of The Seattle Public Library want to see Option A pass by the Seattle City Council.  I would so appreciate your support in this email campaign. 
 Here is the message:

 SUBJECT:  1.2 M Restoration of Library Funds

TEXT: Dear Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden, and Rasmussen
Please join fellow Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata and vote for Option A– restoring the 330 weekly service hours to keep our libraries open normal hours in 2010.
 OPTIONAL:  I use the XYZ neighborhood branch for XYZ. OR Share a more personal message about why your neighborhood branch is important to you.

The email message is simple and straightforward, but needs to reach as many in your neighborhood as possible.  Any additional support you can give to the email campaign beyond your news service either by emailing list servs, posting on Facebook, Twittering, or just emailing Seattle friends and family would be greatly appreciated.
 As you may know your neighborhood branch Library’s hours will drastically change if the Mayor’s proposed 2010 budget passes.  The proposed budget eliminates 17,160 public service hours per year and would impact your neighborhood directly with the closure of your neighborhood branch on Friday and Sunday plus a reduction in hours – all year round.  Your neighborhood branch would be open after six only twice a week.  Among many other services, hour changes will impact story times, nighttime classes, community meeting room availability and homework help programs.  Your neighborhood’s access to The Library’s free public computers and free Wi-Fi will be another lost resource that many community members without a computer or internet access depend on.

The good news is that Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata are committed to preserving the hours of operations at all neighborhood branches of The Seattle Public Library.  On November 2ndSeattle City Councimembers began discussing four options to partially restore the 5% reduction in the endorsed library budget.  None of the options will prevent another one week furlough in 2010, but the best choice, Option A, does preserve Library hours in your neighborhood branch at their current level and prevents the loss of 27 library staff positions.  The Friends have launched this final email campaign targeted at Councilmembers Clark, Conlin, Drago, Godden and Rasmussen to urge them to join Councilmembers Burgess, Harrell and Licata in preserving our present neighborhood Library hours.

Please let me know if I can provide you with any other information.  I have included additional background information below on the proposed 2010 budget’s impact on The Seattle Public Library and neighborhood branches.

Thank you,
Jennifer Johnson-Fong
Vice President, Friends of The Seattle Public Library
Member, Advocacy Committee
Survey:  Friends Neighborhood Library Usage survey

Sarel Rowe
Advocacy Chair, Friends of The Seattle Public Library

Background Information

 The Seattle Public Library is a City Department with an Operations Budget funded by the City of Seattle’s General Fund and a Capital Budget funded by the Real Estate Excise Tax or REET.  The operations budget funds collections and staff, while the capital budget funds building maintenance.  This year Seattle City Council specifically asked Mayor Nickels to preserve funding for The Seattle Public Library Collections budget and thus the collections budget is not decreasing or increasing this year.

 The Seattle Public Library hours at 21 neighborhood branches are going to change drastically if the proposed budget is approved.  The City Council is now reviewing Mayor Greg Nickels' proposed 2010 budget, which includes $2.8 million in cuts to the Library budget. Proposed cuts include a reduction in branch operating hours and a one-week closure of the entire Library system. The proposed hours reduction would mean that 21 Library locations would be closed on Fridays and Sundays, plus operate on reduced hours - all yearA proposed change to the hours at Central Library, Douglass-Truth, Lake City, Ballard, Rainier Beach and Southwest branches attempts to compensate the displaced patrons who use the 21 neighborhood branches impacted by the proposed 2010 City Budget.  Overall, the Library would lose about 23 percent of its open hours compared with 2009. 

The 21 neighborhood branches are Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Columbia. Delridge, Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood, High Point, International District / Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark,Magnolia, Montlake, NewHolly, Northeast, Northgate, Queen Anne, South Park, UniversityWallingford and West Seattle.  If the Mayor’s proposed 2010 budget is adopted the hours for these branches would be:

Monday, Tuesday:
 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Thursday:
 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  The proposed budget will impact all of our communities and neighbors who are relying on our libraries for computer access, job search resources, educational support, gathering spaces, and librarian assistance. In 2008, more than 13 million customers visited the Library and so far this year, visits are up another 8 percent. Circulation of books and other items was up 20 percent in 2008; this year it is up an additional 11 percent.
  2010 Proposed Budget Information about the Operations Budget (collections and hours) and Capital (major building maintenance) on The Seattle Public Library’s website:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Miller Park Neighborhood Association for getting the word out to your neighborhood. And thank you Mr. Taylor for already emailing!

Best wishes,
Friends of The Seattle Public Library