Reminder: The Seattle Public Library is closed this week for budget cuts

The Seattle Public Library system will be closed Monday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Sept. 4 due to citywide budget cuts. All libraries will be closed for the Labor Day holiday Monday, Sept. 5. Regular Library operations will resume Tuesday, Sept. 6.

All city departments are implementing cuts to address a $67 million gap in the 2011 city budget. The Library is funded from the city general fund.

The week-long closure will help the Library achieve its $3.7 million budget reduction target for 2011. The closure will save approximately $650,000. The closure will mean salary reductions for nearly 640 employees who will not be paid during that week and who are taking cuts in their cost of living adjustments. In addition, the book budget has been reduced, positions have been eliminated and 2010 cuts to branch hours have continued this year. Fifteen branches are only open 35 hours a week.

Services unavailable:

Most Library services will be unavailable during the one-week closure and will have the following impacts:

No materials will be due and no fines will be charged.

No book drops will be open. The Central Library book drops will close at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 and will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Book drops at branches that are open on Sundays will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Book drops at branches that are closed on Sundays will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. The book drops will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Limited access to the online catalog. Patrons will be able to search the catalog and check their Library record but will not be able to place holds on items. No staff will be working to process the thousands of books and materials that customers normally put on hold. Please note there may be some disruption of service due to a software upgrade.

Limited access to the website (www.spl.org). The online calendar, databases, downloadable books and media, digital special collections, podcasts, SPL Mobile app and blogs will be available, but other online information and features will not be available. No staff members will be working to maintain the site or troubleshoot problems. Please note there may be some disruption of service due to a software upgrade.

No Library computers will be available. Patrons will not be able to reserve a computer for the week the Library system is closed.

No access to Wi-Fi.

No book group kits will be sent, received or returned during the one-week closure. Kits will be sent out after we open on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

No programs or events in Library meeting rooms.

No TeleCirc, the Library's telephone circulation service that provides patrons with information on their Library account.

No Quick Information telephone service.

No Text a Librarian, email a librarian or chat with a librarian.

No mail will be received during the closure. The Library will have the U.S. Post Office hold all mail until the Library reopens. There will not be staff available to accept deliveries.

No Mobile Services.

No parking in Library garages. The Central Library, Capitol Hill Branch, Montlake Branch, Greenwood Branch and Ballard Branch garages will be closed.

The Lake City Neighborhood Service Center and parking garage will remain open. It is co-located with the Lake City Branch, but has a separate entrance. The Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, which is co-located with the Ballard Branch, will stay open as well.

Some electronic services available

Some electronic resources will be available for patrons to access remotely during the closure. Patrons should understand that staff will not be available to help them use these online services. Please note there may be some disruption of service due to a software upgrade. The online services available by going to www.spl.org will include:

Calendar of Events. Patrons will be able to see information about upcoming Library programs.

SPL Mobile page. Patrons will be able to view information about using the Library's app for Web-enabled phones, called SPL Mobile.

Online databases. Patrons will have access to more than 75 premium databases, including Britannica Online, ChiltonLibrary.com, Mango Languages, Consumer Reports and Morningstar Investment Research Center.

Downloadable media. Patrons will have access to more than 92,000 items in the digital collection, including 83,000 e-books and audiobooks, 500,000 song titles and 5,000 downloadable movie titles. There will be links to instructional videos on how to download digital media.

Digital collections. Patrons will have access to special collections that have been digitized: Photos from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Collection, the Northwest Art Collection and The Seattle Historical Photograph Collection; the Seattle City Directory Collection; and the Century 21 Exposition Digital Collection.

Adult blog Shelf Talk and teen blog Push to Talk.

Library podcasts.

Online payment of fines/fees.

Aug. 29 through Sept. 4 was the week selected for the closure because general Library use at that time is not as high as other times during the year, school is not in session and there are fewer Library programs scheduled.

Library Interim Chief Executive Officer Lin Schnell said she understands how difficult the closure will be for patrons who depend on and need Library services, particularly during this prolonged recession.

"Unfortunately the Library has limited options when dealing with cuts of this magnitude," she said. "Without the closure, we would have had to cut more operating hours or further reduce the book budget." Schnell explained the majority of the Library's $50 million budget pays for direct public service - Library personnel to run the libraries. The remainder of the budget pays for books and materials, and fixed costs, such as telecommunication and Internet services and utilities. "There weren't any easy choices," she said.

Schnell encourages patrons to start planning now for the closure. "For those who aren't familiar with our digital collection, this is a good time to learn how to download books, movies and music, since they will be available during the closure," she said.

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