For Seattle, a Problem With Circulation

The City of Seattle is booming and the city coffers swell with an additional $35 million in the general fund.

Too bad so little of it seems to be going to the local public library.

The opinion page of the Seattle PI has a look at the long waiting times for popular materials at the Seattle Public Library. In a way, Seattle PL is a victim of their own success. Following the construction of four new branches, a total renovation of the main library, and improvements at 23 other libraries; well, circulation jumped 83%.

So perhaps, the article contends, the funding should jump a little too.


This happens a lot and is happening at my library now.

We are doing a big renovation and expansion and the city is very clear: you get this money now, then that's it. No more.

City officials look at money in terms of one-time expenditures or ongoing ones. The first kind is ok since they don't have to change their whole budget to accommodate it. In fact, the two are usually separate budgets.

But ongoing expenses like new staff are a headache because they need to be paid for repeatedly out of a pool of money that grows rather slowly.

Hard problem to fix.