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Community Conversations Recap: Lake City Branch - Nov. 16

What are we hearing at the City Librarian's Community Conversations?


Background: City Librarian Marcellus Turner has invited Library patrons to join him at informal meetings in libraries across the city to talk about service improvements. The seventh of 12 Community Conversations was held at the Lake City Branch from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.


Recap: Turner first shared information about increased Library hours, collections, technology and building maintenance made possible by the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. He also discussed the Library's five current service priorities: youth and learning, technology and access, community engagement, Seattle culture and history and "re-imagined spaces," which he described as redesigning service areas to accommodate changing patron needs. Turner spent the majority of time listening to suggestions and answering questions from the public. He reserved the last 15 minutes for getting input on the five service priorities. Outlined below is the Q&A in brief, followed by highlights of the service priority discussion.

Questions and Answers:


How does the Library align its work with Seattle Public Schools goals for children and youth?


The Library works with Seattle Public Schools in several ways to support improved educational outcomes for students. At a neighborhood level, children and teen services librarians work with schools to support teachers, enroll students in the Summer Reading Program and encourage use of Library resources. At a citywide level, we work collaboratively with the superintendent and director of student instruction to support learning at every level.


We also are currently running two pilot projects at the Sanislo and Roxhill elementary schools in West Seattle. Key elements include:

  • Creating a loaned collection of The Seattle Public Library books and materials that will support the Common Core State Standards and serve the needs of emergent readers.
  • Establishing Raising a Reader programs in Head Start and kindergarten classrooms in both schools.
  • Adding books and materials to each school’s collection as a reward for students in grades K-4 who sign up for the Library's Summer Reading Program and read at least five books.


In addition, the Library offers the Global Reading Challenge, a battle of the books program for fourth- and fifth-graders enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. The program encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading. After reading 10 books, children participate in semi-final and city final rounds of a "Quiz Bowl" game to determine Seattle's champion team. In 2014, the program will be at 48 schools.

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library also provides annual grants to teachers for classroom books in high need (Title 1) Seattle Public Schools. Teachers receive $100 in vouchers to buy books for their students at the Friends book sales. So far, over 300 teachers from 31 schools have received more than 20,000 books. These book vouchers are made possible through a grant from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation. If you would like more information about how to receive a voucher for the next book sale, contact friends@spl.org


I am really enjoying the book I am reading about Lawrence of Arabia, but the maps inside the front and back covers are taped down and they are an essential reference while reading this book. Is there some way I can look at them? 


In preparing some books for circulation, a plastic sheet is used to protect the dust jacket, which is taped top and bottom to the front and back boards of hardcover books. This process sometimes obscures information printed on the inside covers of some books. We apologize if this was the case in your copy of Lawrence of Arabia.


Can we partner with KCLS to allow Seattle residents to place holds and have more access to books in the King County system? 


The current agreement is based on balanced reciprocal use between the two library systems. The last study revealed an inequity in use at an added cost to the King County Library System. Seattle residents do not pay for KCLS services and resources. The reciprocal use agreement will be reviewed again in 2014. It will not include reciprocal borrowing of e-books due to contract and licensing restrictions with vendors.


Do you still charge for interlibrary loans?


Yes. We recently evaluated the fee structure for interlibrary loans. The average cost for one interlibrary loan transaction is in the $20-$30 range. Consequently, we continue to charge $5 for interlibrary loans to cover a portion of this cost.


Bibliocommons (the Library catalog) is better than it used to be, but it still needs improvement. On occasion, I use juvenile nonfiction books as reference or for a simple introduction into a subject, but it isn’t always easy to locate these books. Is there a way to indicate in Bibliocommons if juvenile nonfiction is shelved in children’s or adult’s areas?


All juvenile nonfiction works are interfiled with the adult nonfiction with the exception of Folk and Fairy Tales (398) and Easy Nonfiction (ENF). These are shelved in the children’s section. Easy nonfiction materials are shelved next to picture books as they follow a similar format. Books assigned to the Easy Nonfiction Collection are designated as “Easy Nonfiction” in the catalog. All other juvenile nonfiction materials are identified “Children’s Nonfiction” in the catalog. Books categorized as Folk and Fairy Tales are designated as “Folk and Fairy Tales” in the catalog. Also, librarians are always happy to help you locate a book.


The Lake City Branch is co-located with the Department of Neighborhood Service Center and the garage. Does this building belong to the city? If there are problems in the garage or the elevator to the garage who can I ask?


Yes. The building belongs to the city of Seattle. If you encounter problems in the garage, please notify Library staff and they can contact the appropriate city staff or contractors.


It can be difficult to get individuals involved in emergency preparedness planning. The Library can help with this. Has the Library been involved in emergency preparedness planning?


The Library has worked with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for the past few years to deliver programming ranging from creating emergency kits to earthquake retrofitting. OEM arranges for the presenters, and the Library co-promotes these programs. Our next joint offering will be an Earthquake Home Retrofit Workshop at the Delridge Branch on Saturday, Dec. 7. We are currently working with OEM to develop the schedule of classes for 2014.


What is the Seattle Room’s and the Seattle Culture and History link to MOHAI?


The Seattle Public Library, and the Seattle Room in particular, have an excellent long-term relationship with MOHAI – the two currently collaborate on the popular History Café series (held at MOHAI and featuring Seattle Room staff member Bo Kinney.) In the past we have held joint classes on writing local history, researching in both collections and other topics. In addition, our two genealogy librarians in Special Collections – Mahina Oshie and John LaMont – were the featured speakers at the October 2013 History Café at MOHAI. You can look forward to future collaborations between our two organizations.


Many of the Library’s most popular events are held at the Central Library and in the evening. Is there a way to make these events more accessible by holding them during the day (for those who face transportation challenges at night) and through video streaming of events to the branches or online?


We have been exploring various technological ways to get our very popular author programs to a wider audience. We currently provide podcasts of the majority of our programs via our website and our catalog. Video streaming is something we are exploring, but there are several technological and legal hurdles to be overcome before we can even design a pilot of this idea.


Is possible to make the resources for grant writers found in the Foundation Center more widely available to patrons beyond the Central Library?


Unfortunately the Washington, D.C. – based Foundation Center does not permit out-of-library access to The Foundation Directory Online or Foundation Grants to Individuals Online. Both databases are available only at the Central Library, which is part of the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network.


Given the diversity of audiences in Seattle, have you considered recruiting University of Washington students to create new programs?


We currently work with many students at the UW and other local colleges and universities to create programs through the Capstone and directed fieldwork programs at the iSchool, the School of Education, the Evans Schools and other programs.

Five service priorities:

Participants identified Technology and Access and Re-imagined Spaces as two key service priorities. 


Suggestions around Technology and Access:

  • Continue to invest in keeping up with technological changes
  • Reduce wait times for e-books and downloadable audio books