About the Levy

2012 Library Levy
On Aug. 7, 2012, Seattle voters approved a seven-year, $123 million Library levy to supplement city funding and preserve the investment in the 1998 "Libraries for All" bond measure, which resulted in new and improved libraries across the city, including the world-renowned Central Library.

The levy addresses four focus areas identified by the community:

  • Keep libraries open when patrons need them
  • Provide more books and materials
  • Improve computer and online services
  • Maintain buildings

The 2012 Library Levy expires at the end of 2019. 

2019 Library Levy Renewal Proposal
On March 13, 2019, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Library Board President Jay Reich, and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner announced a proposed seven-year, $213.3 million 2019 Library Levy renewal to sustain and expand 2012 Levy funding for those same community priorities.

Keep Libraries Open

We promised to keep libraries open when patrons need them.

2018 Accomplishments

  • We held 1,700+ outreach events to bring Library services to every Seattle community
  • Retained 6,000+ new open hours systemwide
  • Open 52 weeks a year
  • All locations open on Sundays
  • 7-day service at Columbia and Northgate branches
  • Friday hours at High Point, International District/Chinatown, South Park and University branches

2018 Levy Spending: $4.1 million*

Leveraging Levy Investments
Restored borrowing privileges to 1,100 teens through Fresh Start, a fine forgiveness program supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.
 

Children using the Library
We held 1,700+ outreach events to bring Library services to every Seattle community.

Provide More Books and Materials

We promised to provide a robust collection of books and materials.

2018 Accomplishments

  • Patrons checked out (no holds, no wait) Peak Picks books nearly 200,000 times. Over 40,000 patrons checked out at least one title
  • Added 40,000+ titles to our digital collection 
  • Added 23,000+ new e-book and e-audiobook titles
  • Bought 30,000+ copies of popular materials to shorten wait times
  • Bought 19,000+ copies of Peak Picks titles
  • Used a "floating collection" model to reduce transit time and improve collection variety
  • Purchased overhead scanner to digitize oversize and bound materials from the Seattle Collection

2018 Levy Spending: $3.3 million*

Leveraging Levy Investments
Added metadata to items in the Seattle Historical Photograph and Historic Postcard collections with a grant from the Washington State Library to improve discovery of these materials.

 

Improve Computer and Online Services

We promised to improve computer and online services.

2018 Accomplishments

  • Completed new website optimized for accessibility and mobile use. First major redesign since 2003
  • Offered 400+ technology classes to teach patrons how to use email, the internet, software and other digital products
  • Replaced 38 levy-funded public computers and added 8 laptops
  • Added widescreen TVs to meeting rooms at 13 branches to improve audiovisual capability
  • Improved lighting, acoustics and audiovisual equipment in the Central Library Microsoft Auditorium

2018 Levy Spending: $2 million*

Leveraging Levy Investments
Negotiated new contract for popular Wi-Fi HotSpot program that increases the number of hotspots available for checkout and supports improved Wi-Fi access at city-sanctioned encampments with support of Cable Franchise Fees and General Fund.

 

Maintain Buildings

We promised to maintain buildings for the next generation.

2018 Accomplishments

  • Completed renovation of the heavily used Lake City Branch to make it a more enjoyable space to read, study and collaborate
  • Completed 17,000 work orders to keep 27 buildings clean, efficient and in good working order
  • Completed chimney and roof repairs at Queen Anne Branch
  • Completed window repairs at Fremont and University branches
  • Replaced loading dock door at Central Library
  • Performed carpet cleaning, high dusting, window washing and upholstery cleaning
    at all locations

2018 Levy Spending: $4.9 million*

Leveraging Levy Investments
Completed construction of new public restrooms and upgraded flooring on Level 3 of the Central Library with funds from real estate excise taxes.
 

Lake City Branch under construction
Completed renovation of the heavily used Lake City Branch to make it a more enjoyable space to read, study and collaborate.

*Preliminary year end financials.

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