Under the plan, 21 branch libraries would reduce operating hours to seven hours per day, five days a week, closing Friday and Sunday. Friends of Seattle Public Library is petitioning against the proposed Sunday and Friday closures at neighborhood libraries.
The Northeast Library branch and the University Branch are included in the list of libraries that could potentially be closed both Sunday and Friday and have reduced operating hours if the proposed budget is adopted by Seattle City Council in November.
According to The Seattle Public Library, “Early estimates show the reduced hours may result in the loss of approximately 27 positions, or the equivalent of 18.8 regular full-time employees. Expected earnings of each Library employee will be cut approximately 1.9 percent due to the one-week closure.”
The reduction in hours would cut $1.2 million for the library’s budget. SPL has also proposed a week-long furlough. Mayor Nickels asked the library to identify approximately 5 percent in cuts — about $2.6 million.
The proposed budget would impact many communities and neighbors who rely on the city libraries for computer access, job search resources, adult and kids programs, gathering spaces for all ages, and much more.
Friends of SPL is asking community members to send a letter or email to the Mayor and City Council as it is the easiest and has the biggest impact. Here is contact information. The Friends of SPL blog also has extensive contact information.
Other ways to get involved immediately are:
*Saturday, October 24 1-3pm meet the Friends of SPL at NE Library as they gather signatures and pass out information on the potential consequences of the proposed 2010 budget Monday
*October 25 5:30 p.m. special hearing at City Council Chambers (600 4th Avenue). Library supporters can make brief remarks in support of prioritizing library funding petition.
*Sign the Friends of the Library petition
*Join Facebook Friends of the Library Cause group
*Join the Friends mailing list
*Take the Friends of the Library surveySarel Rowe, advocacy chair of The Friends of the Seattle Public Library says, “We need people who will stand up and speak for two minutes in support of the library. One night at a hearing is a small investment if one considers that the risk is closures and reduced hours of our neighborhood branches. E-mails help alot but we must also have support at the hearings if we have any hope of blunting or avoiding these service cuts.
We need your e-mail help and attendance at the public budget hearings now!"