On Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Mayor Durkan announced the new “Libraries for All” plan.
Guided by community input and in collaboration with The Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees, this plan would make seven years of investments in critical areas to:
– Maintain Existing Services: The plan would fully fund current SPL services, including free access to libraries, which see more than five million annual visits by Seattle residents.
– Increase Library Hours: System-wide, The Seattle Public Library would receive an additional 5,000 hours. All 26 SPL neighborhood branches would be open for an additional hour on Sunday. Seven libraries around Seattle would receive expanded hours, including: the Delridge, Green Lake, High Point, International District/Chinatown, NewHolly, South Park, and Wallingford locations.
– Eliminate Overdue Fines: Higher average balances and blocked accounts occur in greater numbers in lower-income and historically underserved neighborhoods. The plan would invest $8 million over the next seven years to provide fine-free access to books, materials, and resources for all residents and correct a historic inequity.
– Help Close the Digital Divide and Promote Digital Equity: To promote digital equity, the plan would invest $4 million to maintain high-speed internet at library facilities. The proposal also includes $5.3 million to provide internet access through programs such as short-term check outs of WiFi hotspots – for residents who may otherwise have no access. This includes providing internet access at low income housing developments, and longer-term access at permitted villages for people experiencing homelessness.
– Support Safer Buildings through Seismic Upgrades: Three SPL locations have been deemed high-risk unreinforced masonry buildings. To make them safer, we would invest $13.8 million in seismic retrofits for the Columbia, Green Lake, and University branches.
Mayor Jenny Durkan