2020 Statistical & Financial Summaries

Facilities: Central Library, 26 neighborhood branches and Mobile Services

Staffing: 657 (part- and full-time)


Physical items*
Print 1.7 million
Media (CDs, DVDs, audiobooks) 677,000
(laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, Kill A Watt power meters)
Total physical circulation 2.36 million
Digital items
E-books and e-audiobooks 4.3 million
Streaming and downloadable media 2.1 million
Total digital circulation 6.4 million (34% increase)
Total Circulation 8.8 million
Holds placed
Physical items* 1.3 million
Digital items 2.8 million (32% increase)
Total Holds 4.1 million

*The numbers for physical circulation and holds placed are from Jan. 1 to March 13, 2020, and after Aug. 6, 2020, when Curbside Pickup Service launched. Equipment circulation numbers are from Jan. 1 to March 13, 2020, except for Wi-Fi hot spots, which circulated until March 13, 2020 and after Aug. 6, 2020.

Collection Size

Central Library 1.01 million
Branches and other 813,000
Total physical collection* 1.8 million
E-collection 716,500 (35% increase)
Total Collection 2.5 million

*No items were added to the physical collection between mid-March and late August 2020 due to our COVID-19-related building closures.

Patron Visits

In-building visits to Central Library and branches* 981,000
Curbside visits 140,000
Online visits (website and catalog visits) 9.4 million
Total Patron Visits 10.6 million

*The number for in-building patron visits is from Jan. 1 to March 13, 2020.

Social Media

Facebook fans 54,000
Twitter followers 22,000
Pinterest followers 2,400
Instagram followers 20,000
E-newsletter subscribers 240,000


Service Levels and Programs

Assisted Information questions answered  214,000
Database sessions  343,000
In-person Library classes, events or activities*        1,710
Attendance of in-person Library programs* 76,000
Virtual classes, events or activities 1,100+
Public computer and Wi-Fi sessions* 460,000
Volunteers* 430 volunteers; 3,940 hours

*The numbers for in-person classes, events or activities; public computer and Wi-Fi sessions; and volunteer activity are from Jan. 1 to March 13, 2020.  

Operating Budget 

Personnel $62.1 million
Books and materials $9.5 million
Maintenance, security and utilities $4 million
Equipment $1.1 million
Supplies $739,000
Other (City Central costs, software, training and programming support) $6.2 million
Total Operating Budget $83.6 million

*Our operating budget figures include gifts from The Seattle Public Library Foundation, which accounted for 4.8% of the budget in 2020. Note that the amount and conditions of Foundation grants are at the sole discretion of The Seattle Public Library Foundation’s independent Board of Directors.

Levy Promises Fulfilled