This is a copy of my plea to the Seattle City Council, to keep the Central Library, and 21 branch libraries, open for the same number of hours they are now open, and to prevent, if possible, another weeklong "furlough" where the library system shuts down completely, some time in 2010. Too many people are getting hurt here. But this is just my personal plea.
TO: Members of the Seattle City Council
FROM: Anne Gilbert
RE: The Seattle City Semiannual Budget and the Seattle Public Library System
DATE: October 26, 2009
I am here, once again, on behalf of the Seattle Public Library System.
It has come to my attention that once again, even more drastic cuts in the budget of our library system are being contemplated for the coming year. These cuts will result in an approximate 25% reduction in hours for all libraries. It will:
Also result in another weeklong “furlough” for the entire library system
Closure of 21 of the 25 neighborhood branch libraries for two days, Fridays
And a resultant loss of access and services for the many people who need them
This is utterly unsupportable. As I’ve noted earlier, I’m a writer who frequently uses the library system for research and other purposes. I have a friend, also a writer, who, like many people at the moment, is looking for a job, and has not yet found one. She is one of the fortunate ¬¬– she has a computer at home. But I met one job-seeker downtown, who was not so fortunate. He was looking for a job, and the only other place he could go was WorkFirst. I know from experience, as he did, that there are far fewer computers in the WorkFirst branches, than there are in any branch library, or the central library, but there was nothing any of us could do about this. The WorkFirst offices often have less adequate or comprehensive job-search facilities than the Seattle Library system. In this economy, with so many out of work, and therefore unable to contribute to the budget through their taxes, it is a terrible thing to shorten hours and services, even on restricted budgets. For the sake of those job seekers, for the long-term sake of our budget, and the cultural future of this city, please do not cut the library’s budget any more than it already has been.