November 23, 2017

Seattle Public Library Closes–For Two Weeks

By Walter Minkel

Budget cuts are forcing libraries to come up with creative ways to save
money. Due to a $1.8 million cut, the Seattle (WA) Public Library will close for
two weeks over the next six months. So don’t expect to check out or return books
there from August 26 through September 1 and December 17 through December
23.

During these times, there will be no access to the catalog, and the library
will not collect fines. All book drops will be closed, as will the library’s
meeting rooms, and there will be no library programs, such as storytimes. Even
the library’s Web site (www.spl.org) will be
offline.

Seattle City Librarian Deborah Jacobs says the two-week shutdown–scheduled
for two of the library’s traditionally slowest weeks–was the better of two bad
choices. “Temporarily closing will have the least impact on public service for
the long term,” she says. “Our other options involved significant year-round
cuts to operating hours, drastically cutting the book and technology budgets,
and laying off employees.”

The $1.8 million cut represents five percent of the library’s $34.7 million
budget. During the two-week closure, library employees will not be paid, nor
will they accrue vacation time or retirement benefits. The materials budget will
also be cut an equivalent amount.

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