This upcoming week, The Seattle Public Library joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide to celebrate the many ways libraries build strong communities by providing critical resources, programs and expertise. 

April 7 – April 13 is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and communities. Libraries are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools and campuses. They have public spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together and connect.

Library programs encourage community members to meet to discuss civic issues, work together using new technologies like 3D printing or learn alongside one another in English language classes. Library staff also partner with other civic and service organizations to actively engage with the people they serve, always striving to make sure their community’s core needs are being met.

The Seattle Public Library, one of the top-rated libraries in the nation, helps strengthen Seattle's access to information. Residents have shown enthusiastic support for the Library’s efforts with the 2012 passing of a $123 million Library levy. The seven-year levy has funded more open hours, more materials, improved access to technology and improved building maintenance through 2019.

"Libraries are cornerstones of democracy, promoting the free exchange of information and ideas for all," said Marcellus Turner, Executive Director and Chief Librarian. "They also foster civic engagement by keeping people informed and aware of community events and issues."

The Library’s collection of almost 2 million items for children, teens and adults includes books, audiobooks, large print books, music on CDs, movies on DVDs, magazines and newspapers. The Library also has free digital resources available 24/7, including e-books, movies and music, audiobooks, online classes, news publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Seattle Times and more—all ready to access with or download to your computer, tablet, smartphone or other portable device. This collection is well-loved by patrons; the circulation of physical and digital materials at the Library reached over 10 million in 2018.

In addition to offering free Wi-Fi access at all 27 Library locations, the Library lends SPL HotSpots—Wi-Fi hotspots that can be checked out for 21 days and can connect up to 15 devices.

The Library also offers a number of resources available outside of its buildings. The wildly-popular Museum Pass program enables cardholders to check out free passes to local museums and cultural spots. You can go to the zoo, attend the theater, pet a starfish and even rent a boat for free! Throughout the spring and summer, the Library does outreach at community events and festivals to bring books and information about Library services. The Library also uses pedal power and customized bicycle trailers with the Books on Bikes program to bring services to popular community events around Seattle.

All of these services are available when you pick up your free Library card. You'll find more to do at the Library, too – including author readings, hands-on skills classes, film screenings, story times for children and adults, opera previews, language groups and more, There's something happening at your Library every day.

Libraries also offer something unique to their communities: the expertise of librarians. Librarians are information experts who help patrons sort through overwhelming volumes of information and guide patrons through the use of unfamiliar technologies, both of which are critical in the digital age. Librarians at The Seattle Public Library are ready to help you with reference questions, book recommendations, technology assistance and more at any of our 27 locations. If you can’t make it to a branch for assistance, call 206-386-4636 or Ask Us online to get help from a librarian.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.