Happy New Year! Here's to good wishes for your 2013.
2012 was an eventful year for The Seattle Public Library and we are looking forward to a busy and productive 2013.
Thanks to the passage last August of the seven-year, $122 million levy, we will begin restoring and improving core services that were reduced due to previous budget year cuts. These enhancements include increased hours, more books and materials in both print and electronic formats, upgrading our computers across the system and enhanced building maintenance and asset protection. We have also clarified priorities for 2013 and made progress on the goals in our Strategic Plan.
Expanded open hours
In January, we made good on your request and our commitment to increase hours. For the first time in at least a century, all 27 Library locations are now open on Sundays. That's something to celebrate. And we are!
Each branch with new hours will host a special Sunday celebration. We started celebrating Jan. 6 at the Columbia Branch and our last celebration will be May 5 at the Delridge Branch. Please check our website for dates of the celebrations at the other 13 branches. Each celebration features a children's craft activity, refreshments and an opportunity to participate in the Check- Out Sundays Challenge for prizes, including lunch with me. I will attend many of the celebrations and I hope to see you, too.
We also expanded hours at the busy Columbia and Northgate branches, which are now open seven days a week.
More levy improvements
On the collections front, we increased our holds limits from 25 to 50 so that you now have a chance to read every book that you want, all at once. As the year continues, we'll buy more copies of popular materials and new titles and increase our electronic materials and resources.
Improvements to technology will include replacing all public Internet computers in the Library system and adding "digital media workstations" in selected locations so patrons can create digital content, graphics and video right at the Library.
Because our physical libraries are one of our most valued assets, maintenance improvements will continue so our libraries are here for many generations.
To mark our excitement, we also are launching five new Library card designs that feature Seattle icons.
Strategic Plan accomplishments
The Strategic Plan that the Library Board adopted in 2011 continues to provide the framework for all that we do. We have:
- Realigned our management structure to support our increased services in 2013.
- Expanded our personal readers' advisory program and added video book talks to the Library's YouTube channel and partnered with the Mayor's Office to support reading in grades K-3, all in an effort to meet our goal of fueling Seattle's passion for reading.
- Enhanced our efforts with parent education and training, homework help, college readiness and civic engagement with the "Living Voters' Guide" to support personal growth and learning.
- Invested more money in electronic books and resources while maintaining a healthy print collection budget and integrated our holdings and circulation capabilities into one format to provide a seamless patron experience in gaining access to our resources.
- Provided access to more than 3,200 locally produced KEXP radio station live music recordings and collaborated with 10 area museums to offer free passes to their museums.
We also have adopted several more service priorities that will guide our work in 2013.
- Support of early learning and the joy of reading through our collections and resources, services, programs and partnerships.
- Enhancing technology to provide discoverability and increased access to collections and materials, enhanced informational assistance, services and experiences.
- Engaging and connecting with our communities through programming, outreach, user instruction, partnerships, and collaboration that connects the Library and the user in meaningful ways.
- Capturing and cultivating a rich recorded history of Seattle, making our unique heritage available to our communities.
- Considering new ways to use Library spaces, in keeping with the changing needs of Library users, services, programming, and user interests.
Of course, much thanks goes to our wonderful staff for delivering on our promise to offer great Library services and programs every chance at every location.
We also appreciate the wonderful support of our volunteers, donors and members of The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Friends of The Seattle Public Library. We certainly benefit from your collaboration, support and advocacy.
In closing and on behalf of The Seattle Public Library's Board of Trustees and staff, it is our pleasure to serve you and meet your Library and informational needs. Our primary goal continues to be increasing opportunities for the Library to make a difference in your life.
We look forward to a wonderful 2013. I'll see you at the Library.
The Seattle Public Library