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March 17, 2018

listen to spl voices

SPL Voices celebrates the history, meaning and impact of The Seattle Public Library in Seattle’s past and future. We partnered with StoryCorps to begin collecting personal stories and conversations from a variety of perspectives.

Jonathan Bridge & Herb Bridge

Herb Bridge talks with his son, Jonathan Bridge, about the importance of books and The Seattle Public Library, dating back to when Herb was a young boy. The Bridge family is a long-time supporter of the Library.


Jonathan Bridge & Herb Bridge


Herb Bridge: [00:00] Well, the library was right where it is now downtown; it was a Carnegie Library, and it was very gray and somber looking, kind of a fortress-like building. But one that was very welcoming to a youngster.

Jonathan Bridge: I remember that, too. It was a dark, big building, but it was in exactly the same spot. Now we are in our third iteration of The Seattle Public Library on the same location. I remember when library number two was built in 1959, which really wasn’t that long ago, at least in my life. We tore down the Carnegie Library and put up a new library in 1959, and then we just put up another one 10 years ago, which is an incredible edifice. And the library is, used to just be books. It’s not just books anymore. You know, we have the Internet, we have so many new ways of doing research, of learning, and this is the font of the place of learning.

HB: Books have always meant a great deal to me. Dad, Ben Bridge, was a collector of books and very, very interested in reading everything he could get his hands on. So books became very much a part of our lives, and they still are.

JB: They still are. Well, you know, Seattle is a place that has great affinity toward reading, toward learning. More so than just about any place in the country. And part of that comes from our weather, I’m afraid. (laughs) You know, the idea that it’s gray a lot, and you know, so you sit inside, and what do you do? You read. But a lot of it comes from a love of education and a love of learning, and you know, we’re a place of innovation. And where better to germinate that innovation, to plant the seeds of new ideas and inventions but in a library situation. And our library has always been central to Seattle. [02:33]



Produced by The Seattle Public Library with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national non-profit whose mission is to provide American of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.