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February 20, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 05/11/2006

The Seattle Public Library receives Excellence Award from Wallace Foundation

The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library has received an Excellence Award of $1.5 million from the Wallace Foundation in New York. The grant will be used to create an endowment for multicultural programming at the Library.

The Seattle Public Library Foundation will raise funds to match the grant over the next three years to help build the endowment for the Library's expanding cultural programs.

Rory MacPherson, senior program officer for the Wallace Foundation, will present the Excellence Award to the Library at a special event Monday May 15. The Wallace Foundation Excellence Awards were created to recognize organizations that have effectively built participation in the arts with imaginative efforts to broaden, deepen or diversify their audiences.

MacPherson said The Seattle Public Library has been a leader in developing programs that engage people in literature through reading and discussion, such as the widely emulated community reading project called "Seattle Reads."

"The goal of the Wallace Foundation Excellence Award is to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with local constituencies and to draw national attention to the importance of participation building to the health and growth of the arts field," MacPherson said. "The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage people more deeply in the arts part of their organization's DNA."

Deborah L. Jacobs, city librarian for The Seattle Public Library, said the Wallace Foundation is one of the most prestigious funding organizations in the country and she was thrilled when she received news of the award. "With this grant, the Library will be able to expand programming beyond the literary arts to include music, dance and other art forms, as well increase programs and outreach to the cultural communities of Seattle," she said.

Jacobs said The Seattle Public Library has made great strides in raising awareness of Library services to immigrants and refugees the last several years - one of the organization's top priorities.

"The Seattle Public Library encourages everyone to become lifelong Library users," Jacobs said. "We know we must be innovative in reaching immigrants who are not familiar with the American public Library. Our cultural programs give them a reason to come to the Library and learn more about what we have to offer."

In 2005 the Library presented 19 programs for Seattle's Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking communities. Evaluations from these programs revealed that 25 percent had never been to the Library before and nearly half had never attended a Library program.

With the Wallace grant, the Library plans to collaborate with other cultural organizations in the city to present high quality programs, exhibits and discussions; include more presenters and works from various cultures and ethnicities in programming; and integrate more multicultural programs in the Library's ongoing arts programming.

The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its three current objectives are: Strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; enhancing out-of-school learning opportunities; and expanding participation in arts and culture. More information and research on these and other related topics can be found at The Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center at or by calling (212) 251-9800.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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