About the 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 -- which runs through 2019 -- addresses four focus areas identified by the community. Those are outlined below.

Keep Libraries Open

We promised to keep libraries open when patrons need them.

2017 Accomplishments

  • Retained more than 6,000 new open hours systemwide
  • Open 52 weeks a year
  • All locations open on Sundays
  • 7-day service at Columbia and Northgate branches
  • Added Friday hours at High Point, International District/Chinatown, South Park and University branches
  • Offered more than 1,500 outreach events to bring Library services to every Seattle community

2017 Levy Spending: $4.2 million

Leveraging Levy Investments
Hosted solar eclipse viewing parties and gave out more than 7,500 free eclipse glasses with donations from The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

Provide More Books and Materials

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

2017 Accomplishments

  • Increased variety and depth of the physical collection by adding more than 41,000 new titles to print books, audiobooks, DVDs and CDs
  • Added 25,000+ titles to our digital collection 
  • Bought 31,000+ more copies of popular materials to shorten wait times
  • Launched Peak Picks, no hold, no wait collection of popular books systemwide
  • Added Kanopy streaming movie service
  • Implemented "floating collections" for DVDs, CDs and most books to reduce transit time and improve collection variety at branches

2017 Levy Spending: $3.1 million

Leveraging Levy Investments
Created and produced a children's alphabet book in Somali with local families, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Housing Authority and the Somali Family Safety Task Force funded in part by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.


Improve Computer and Online Services

We promised to improve computer and online services.

2017 Accomplishments

  • Offered 300+ technology classes to teach patrons how to use email, the internet and spot fake news
  • Replaced 353 public computers with new models
  • Installed new scanning, printing and copying equipment in all branches
  • Completed design and testing of new website for public use in early 2018

2017 Levy Spending: $1.7 million

Leveraging Levy Investments
Added 72 laptops and 18 iPads at nine branches for in-building use with grants provided by Google through The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

Maintain Buildings

We promised to maintain buildings for the next generation.

2017 Accomplishments

  • Completed 12,000+ work orders to keep Library buildings clean, efficient and in good working order
  • Refurbished the Beacon Hill, Greenwood and High Point branches and initiated plans for Lake City and South Park branch projects
  • Performed carpet cleaning, high dusting, window washing and upholstery cleaning at all locations
  • Completed exterior repairs at Fremont Branch
  • Completed safety improvements at the Central Library

2017 Levy Spending: $6.7 million

Leveraging Levy Investments
Began construction on Central Library Level 3 floor replacement and restroom additions with real estate excise tax funds.

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