Seattle Library Closure

Hallway of Books by Faeryboots. From our Flickr pool.

Hallway of Books by Faeryboots. From our Flickr pool.

In case you are not quite the bibliophile that I am and haven’t already heard, all Seattle Public Library (SPL) branches will be closed Monday, August 31st through Monday, September 7th, due to budget cuts. The official statement is HERE. And when they say closed, they mean closed: no book drops will be open; the online catalog will be down (excuse me while I go hyperventilate into a paper bag); neither TeleCirc nor the Information line will be available; no mail will be received; no book club books will be sent. For all intents and purposes, the library system will cease to exist.

On the bright side, no items will be due and no fines will accrue on past due items. Cold comfort.

It’s unfortunate that SPL has to shut down at a time when usage is way, way up. According to Friends of SPL, visits to SPL locations went from under 7M per year in 2004 to over 12M last year, and climbing. Visits were up 7% in May 2009, over May 2008, and circulation was up 11% for the same month. In addition to an increase in the number of requests and visits, the amount of material people check out is also up: 20% between 2007 and 2008. This trend is reflected in my own household: since beginning our Book Buying Abatement Program, in January 2007, nearly every book that enters our house is from the library, and we also borrow music, videos, and DVDs, instead of renting or purchasing. Apparently, we’re fairly typical.

If you have books on hold waiting for you or items due, take care of it before Monday, or Sunday if your local branch is closed Sundays. And if you happen to be down at the Southwest branch, the crazy woman weeping hysterically and refusing to leave Sunday evening… will be me.

2 Comments so far

  1. Sarah (unregistered) on August 28th, 2009 @ 8:04 am

    Holy typo, Batman!

    Seattle Libraries will be closed August 31st – September 7th. Not the 1st of August through the 7th of September.

  2. stan on August 28th, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    Heh. Fixed, thanks.

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