The public has a deep appreciation for The Seattle Public Library and its services and a keen interest in keeping locations open and well stocked with a strong collection of books and other items, according to a recent Library survey.    

The Library conducted a survey from April 25 through May 25 to better understand the public’s satisfaction with current programs and services, and to gauge interest in potential future offerings. The survey was conducted via a questionnaire that anyone could complete and through a statistically significant survey of Seattle residents. A total of more than 26,000 responses were collected online, on paper and in telephone interviews.

The survey showed that the vast majority highly value the Library and believe it is welcoming to all. The Library is seen as critical to the health of Seattle and meeting the growing needs of a complex and diverse city. Nine out of 10 respondents believe the Library is an essential public service, worth the money invested in it, a critical educational resource and improves the overall quality of life in Seattle.

Two-thirds of Seattleites 18 and older reported using the Library in some way in the last six months. Half borrow physical materials on a regular basis and 40 percent use the Library online, such as checking out materials or placing items on hold electronically.

Seattle residents see the role of the Library, first and foremost, as providing both physical and online materials, followed by providing access to computers and the internet and serving high-needs communities.

In terms of funding priorities, residents expect libraries to be open, available and staffed when and where they’re needed and to provide a variety of popular current books and media. Other priorities include keeping branches safe and clean and providing up-to-date technology.

The survey, which was designed to guide the Library’s service planning and decision-making, gathered information around overall perceptions about the Library, levels of satisfaction with current programs, services, facilities and staff, and levels of interest around future service options.

It’s been eight years since the Library has surveyed Seattle residents to see how current operations align with public needs and expectations. Information from the 2010 Library survey led to enhancements in the collection of books and materials, more computer technology, expanded Library hours and more.

Executive Director and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner will discuss the survey results and ask people how the Library can better serve them and their neighborhoods at several Community Conversations later this year. The next Community Conversation will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S., 206-386-1908