From Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner

From fun Booktoberfest celebrations to free Homework Help for kids, fall is on at the Library.

Executive Director and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner
Executive Director and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner

Fall greetings from The Seattle Public Library! As the days become shorter and leaves change color, it’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book, try your hand at a new skill or be inspired at an author event. I’ve highlighted some of the Library’s popular fall activities and new initiatives you’ll want to know about.

But first, a quick note of thanks for your overwhelming support of the 2019 Library Levy – which received an overwhelmingly positive “yes” vote of 76 percent when it passed in August. The seven-year, $219.1 million levy kicks into gear in early 2020, and Library staff are busy working to ensure successful implementation of new levy-funded resources and services, such as the elimination of overdue fines and the addition of branch hours.

Back to School for All

Public libraries are often described as “the People’s University” and we have a variety of programs to keep you learning this fall!

  • Learn a skill: A sibling to our Your Next Five book recommendation service, our Your Next Skill service will send you a personalized plan for learning that new hobby or interest.
  • Find a job: All fall, you can drop by the Central Library on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for job-hunting assistance from a specialist. Or if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you can find start-up coaching at several events.
  • Write your story: Every fall, through our Seattle Writes program, the Library hosts dozens of free writing workshops by celebrated local authors on topics from scene-writing to character development to story pitches.
  • Booktoberfest: Our annual Booktoberfest series is an annual celebration of good books and beer that takes place in locations from brewpubs to the historic Smith Tower.
  • Music and arts: This fall you can get a free taste of the opera, attend a concert by bands featured in the Library’s Playback program, or attend readings by authors of some of this fall’s anticipated reads, from Aarti Shahani’s “ Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares” to Paula Becker’s “ A House on Stilts.”
  • Books, books, books: Responding to our readers’ hunger for popular titles, in addition to our Peak Picks collection, we’ve added more than 15,000 copies of popular materials in 2019.

Homework Help and More

As families get used to the school routine, our branch librarians offer many resources to help students succeed in school and become curious, eager learners.

  • Homework Help: Students can receive one-on-one tutoring in a variety of subjects through our Homework Help program, which is offered at 11 library branches on weekday afternoons.
  • Learning Buddies: In October, our Learning Buddies program kicks off, which matches teen mentors with elementary kids in an after-school program at five branches.
  • Story times for all: Fall story times are in full swing, from bilingual story times to Kaleidoscope Play & Learn programs that introduce children to preschool skills.

Equity and Community Engagement

The Library continues to make progress on our commitment to breaking down barriers and creating equitable access to Library services. Here are some highlights:

  • Supporting incarcerated parents: Inmates at the King County Correctional Facility now have more access to books through a partnership with the Library. As part of the partnership, a pilot project, “Read to Me!” gives incarcerated parents an opportunity to connect with their children by recording a special story for them. The videos are created with support and training from the Library. The project was recently featured in this Seattle P-I article.
  • Library Card Sign-Up Month in many languages: September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and we’re highlighting all the services and materials we offer in languages ranging from Vietnamese to Chinese to Spanish.
  • Redesigned South Park Branch: We reopened our redesigned and beautiful South Park Branch in June, which features flexible spaces for all ages, the addition of in-library laptops and tablets for public use and more. Come visit!
  • The Space Needle: A 21st Century view: Opening on Oct. 7, this exhibit highlights the history, impact and symbolism of an iconic structure that shaped the identity of Seattle during the 1962 World’s Fair and beyond. Find it through Oct. 27 in in the Level 8 gallery at the Central Library.

Finally, some news you should be aware of: Public libraries are facing new restrictions in providing their patrons access to the e-books that they love. Read my statement on the issue; consider sharing your views on social media through the #ebooksforall hashtag; and know that we will continue to advocate for the resources and services important to our patrons.

Executive Director and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner Signature

Marcellus Turner, Executive Director and Chief Librarian

If you have a question or need help, Ask Us or call 206-386-4636.