About the Library

Library News Releases

Header Image

Library News Release

Release Date: 01/22/2004

The Seattle Public Library system to close March 21 through March 27

The Seattle Public Library system will close Sunday, March 21 through Saturday, March 27, due to citywide budget cuts. Regular Library operations will resume Sunday, March 28.

The March Library closure, combined with the weeklong closure that occurred in August, saves approximately $1 million. The Library closures prevent the layoffs of about 23 staff, but reduce salaries for approximately 575 employees who are not paid, and do not accrue vacation or retirement benefits during those weeks.

In addition, the Library's book budget was cut and reductions to operating supplies and technology purchases were made. No Library services will be available during the one-week closure and will have the following impacts:

  • No materials will be due and no fines will be accrued.
  • Patrons have until 6 p.m. Saturday, March 20, to check out books and materials before the closure. Visit www.spl.org, or call 206-386-4636 for more information on Library locations and hours. Not all locations have Saturday hours and some branches are closed due to construction.
  • No branch book drops will be open. All book drops at branch locations will close at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 20, to ensure all materials have been checked in and processed before the closure. Books and materials may be returned inside Library facilities on Saturday, March 20. The book drops at the Temporary Central Library, 800 Pike St., will remain open during the closure.
  • No access to the online catalog. You will not be able to search the catalog or databases, place holds on materials, or check your Library record.
  • No access to the Web site (www.spl.org). No staff members will be working to maintain and troubleshoot problems on the site's more than 1,000 pages and equipment. This means on-line computer sign-ups, Libraries for All information, the online reference service ("Live Help") and other features will not be available.
  • No Library computers will be available. You will not be able to reserve a computer for the week the Library system is closed.
  • No programs or events in Library meeting rooms.
  • No Telecirc, the Library's automated telephone service.
  • No Quick Information telephone service.
  • No mail will be received during the closure. The Library will have the U.S. Post Office hold all mail until the Library reopens. There will not be staff available to accept deliveries.
  • No Mobile Services
  • No book club books will be sent, received or returned during the one-week closure. Titles will be boxed and sent to libraries Wednesday, March 31. Books should be available for pickup Thursday, April 1 and Friday, April 2. Contact your branch or the Washington Center for the Book at 206-386-4650, if you are part of a book group and have questions.
  • If you have book donations to make during the one-week closure, please contact the Friends Book Sale office at (206) 523-4053 or email book.sale@spl.org. No book donations will be collected at Library facilities during the closure.


The week for the budget-saving closure was selected because it is the same week all Library servers, including the server that runs the catalog system, will be moved to the new Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. The new Central Library is scheduled to open in late May.

The Library's $34 million operating budget is mainly allocated for personnel who provide direct public service (Library staff/open hours), books and materials, and fixed costs, such as telecommunication and Internet services and utilities.

The "Libraries for All" construction program is not affected by the reduction in the operating budget because it is funded through a 1998 voter-approved bond measure. Money from the bond measure cannot be used for Library operations. Currently, there are 18 active building projects under way.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

< Back To Index