Longer hours at The Seattle Public Library beginning Feb. 23
Book-loving Seattle residents will soon have more time to spend in their public libraries thanks to a 2006 budget increase.
Starting later this month, the Library will add hours on Thursday evenings and more than double service hours to the public on Sunday.
"The people of Seattle love their libraries, which are among the most popular and valued of our city services," said City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs. "We thank our elected officials for identifying libraries as a priority."
During the recent city budget process, city officials added funds to help restore cuts made to libraries starting in 2001, when less prosperous economic times forced citywide budgetary belt-tightening.
Under the new hours, all Library locations will be open until 8 p.m. on Thursday beginning Feb. 23. Currently, all locations close at 6 p.m.
In addition, all branches now open Sunday will open at noon instead of 1 p.m. beginning Feb. 26. These locations include the Ballard, Capitol Hill, Columbia, Lake City, North East, Rainier Beach and West Seattle branches. The Douglass-Truth Branch, currently under construction, will also open at noon on Sunday when it reopens to the public later this year.
Also, five branches currently without service on Sunday will be open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. starting Feb. 26. These locations include the Beacon Hill, Broadview, Green Lake, Greenwood and High Point branches. The future Northgate and South Park branches also will be open Sunday once those buildings are completed.
The Central Library, currently open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, will be open noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday beginning Feb. 26.
More than 6 million people used the Central Library and branches in 2005. Nearly 80 percent of Seattle residents have library cards. A national survey recently ranked Seattle as the most literate city in the country, partly due to the city's strong library system. The Seattle Public Library circulated 7.5 million books and materials last year.
Jacobs said Library patrons were tireless advocates for extending library hours. "Citizens wrote letters, emailed and spoke up at public meetings to express the need for more hours," she said.
"With expanded hours, branch staff will be able to hold more story times, computers will be more readily available, students will have more time to finish homework assignments, community groups will have access to library meeting rooms more days of the week and much more," she said.
To help celebrate the new Sunday hours, the Friends of The Seattle Public Library will host refreshment tables from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Green Lake, Greenwood and High Point branches. Friends of the Library representatives also will have thank you cards patrons can send to city officials.
In addition to the $961,000 for increased Library hours, the council also added $1.5 million to the Library's operating budget to help restore funding for the Library's collections.
For more information contact:
Andra Addison, communications director
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