Seattle librarians don't take closures quietly


While Seattle public libraries have closed for the week in an attempt to save money and prevent layoffs, Seattle public librarians have taken their ire to the street. Picketing librarians believe that City Council should come up with the money to keep the libraries open and staffed. More here at KOMO. Not only are the libraries closed, but all services, including database access and bookdrops are unavailable, according to the library website. The libraries will reopen on September 2, but are scheduled for another week-long closure in December.


Being from Seattle, I do indeed find it painful not to be able to use my local branch or the databases. However, if the choice really is between closure and layoffs, I will take the closure. Other choices might be worse: materials budget cuts (already made), reduced salary and benefit levels (ouch!), branch closures (just when SPL is successfully putting branches in underserved areas). But the real problems are not within the library's budget; they come from the city's priorities: too much focus on downtown development, not enough on neighborhood services. The city has given away millions to real estate tycoons that should have been invested in social capital instead.

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