Happy New Year! I am pleased to start the new year by reflecting on the significant accomplishments we have made over the past year and sharing our expectations for 2014.
We are working to implement the Library levy that voters passed in 2012 to increase open hours, add more books and materials in print and electronic formats, upgrade our computers and online services and enhance our building maintenance.
We started 2013 by adding Sunday hours at 15 branch libraries, which meant that for the first time in at least a century, all locations of The Seattle Public Library were open on Sundays. With the hours expansion, we are seeing more people who are able to use the libraries, especially at the Columbia and Northgate branches, where we extended service from five days to seven days.
We've made significant additions to our print and digital collections and we've doubled the number of items that patrons may place on hold from 25 to 50. We replaced all our Internet computers and nearly all our printers for the public. We improved the parking lots at the Southwest and Columbia branches.
During the year, I had the pleasure of meeting many, many Library supporters at the well-attended "Sundays are Special" celebrations that we held at branches with new Sunday hours. Patrons enjoyed visiting the branches on Sundays to collect stamps and play the Check-Out Challenge for the chance to win prizes. We also celebrated with five new Library card designs that captured our excitement.
Lately I have been holding "Community Conversations" at branches already open on Sundays where I've been updating patrons on our progress and asking them for feedback on my five service priorities: youth and early learning; technology and access; community engagement; Seattle culture and history; and re-imagined spaces to use our libraries in ways that better meet the needs of patrons.
We signed up a record number of children in 2013 for our 94th year of the Summer Reading Program and promoted the program in an innovative way by breaking the book domino world record. A video of the record-setting event has been viewed more than a half-million times. We responded to patron usage patterns and demographics by expanding the children's section at the Northeast Branch.
Over the coming year, we plan to continue to add to our collections, upgrade our Wi-Fi system, enhance self-checkout and plan for improvements to the website. I also am looking forward to improving our already strong Summer Reading Program and inviting you all to help us celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Central Library in May.
I've described our achievements over the past year, but none of it would happen without our wonderful staff and the steady support of our volunteers, donors, The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Friends of The Seattle Public Library.
We're looking forward to a wonderful year. I'll see you at the Library.
The Seattle Public Library