We are having a busy and productive 2013.
Thanks to the passage in August 2012 of the seven-year, $123 million levy, we have started to restore and improve core services that were reduced due to previous budget cuts. These enhancements include increased hours, more books and materials in both print and electronic formats, upgrading our computers and enhanced building maintenance.
It is a good start, and beginning in September I will be hosting "community conversations" across the city to report on our progress and to talk with you further about current and future Library services. I particularly want to hear from you about five key service areas: youth and early learning; technology access; community engagement; Seattle culture and history; and re-imagined spaces.
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. We celebrated with a special Sunday celebration at each of the 15 branches with new hours. Each celebration featured a children's craft activity, refreshments and an opportunity to participate in the Check-Out Sundays Challenge for prizes, including lunch with me. Prize winners will be announced soon!
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 among our most valued assets, maintenance improvements will continue so our libraries are here for many generations.
To mark our excitement, we also launched five new Library card designs that feature Seattle icons.
Five key service areas
We also have adopted several more service priorities to guide our work.
- 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.
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
- Expanded our personal reading recommendation service, 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.
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.
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.
I'll see you at the Library.
The Seattle Public Library