Programs and Services to Support Cultural and Civic Engagement in 2018

Summary of Cultural and Civic Engagement Programs

Seattle Reads 

  • 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Seattle Reads, the first “one book, one city” reading program in the nation which we launched in 1998
  • Seattle Reads 2018 selection: Yaa Gyasi’s "Homegoing”
  • 1,100 + people attended Seattle Reads events related to the book
  • 92 percent of participants rated the program an 8 out of 10 or higher

Peak Picks

  • 40,970 people checked out nearly 200,000 Peak Picks books – popular titles with no wait


  • 18,000 people visited Central Library exhibits: "Living Cultures," "Beyond the Frame: Protecting the x̌ʷəlč: Indigenous Stewardship of the Salish Sea," "Edward S. Curtis: Images from the North American Indian," and "This Is Our Home, Where We Belong"; 750 attended related programs
  • The Central Library organized the kickoff of yәhaw̓, a year-long, Indigenous-led arts project that culminated in a major exhibition at Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s ARTS at King Street Station in 2019
  • We hosted an exhibit on the Klondike Gold Rush at the Fremont Branch in conjunction with the Fremont Historical Society
  • The traveling exhibit "Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn!" explored how the increasingly popular field of graphic medicine uses comics to tell personal stories of illness and health
  • "Sketches from Outside the Margins" was an exhibit of comics that tell the stories of patients at the Seattle/King County Clinic

Other key 2018 initiatives

  • The Children’s Museum and Woodland Park Zoo were added to the Library’s popular Museum Pass program
  • The Washington Center for the Book, a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and Washington State Library, helped designate Hugo House as Washington's first literary landmark
  • At a symposium called "Beyond the Frame­ - To Be Native," scholars, historians, Native American community leaders and students examined the work of Edward S. Curtis and moved beyond the frame of his work to explore concepts of authenticity in art, tribal sovereignty, environmental activism and Indigenous ways of knowing
  • We worked with a Native Advisory Council to present programming on Indigenous sovereignty and environmental equity throughout the year
  • We held a community discussion on the opioid epidemic featuring local experts giving presentations followed by a Q&A session
  • Booktoberfest, our annual celebration of books, beer and good cheer, returned for its fourth year
  • We continue to work with local organizations and community members to offer programming centering LGBTQ patrons, communities and allies, including: Library staff at Pride Month events, rainbow and drag queen story times, discussions on LGBTQ issues and resources for further learning
  • We celebrated Seattle Bird Week by partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center and other local organizations to host nature writing classes, bird sketching and more
  • Legendary Children, an evening of art, dance, music and other performances by queer and transgender artists, was presented for the fifth time in partnership with Seattle Art Museum and curated with queer and transgender people of color