The Seattle Public Library was awarded a four-star rating by Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service for 2020. The Library ranked seventh overall in public libraries of similar size and was one of 262 “star libraries” that received either a three-star, four-star or five-star rating.

"Our staff’s commitment to serving their community is only equaled by our community’s love for its library, which is reflected in the Library’s consistently high rating,” said executive director and chief librarian Marcellus Turner. “We work hard to understand the needs of our neighbors and to serve them equitably and creatively.”

Ratings for the Library Journal's 2020 Index of Public Library Service are determined by seven key service statistics: in-person visits, electronic materials checked out, all materials checked out, program attendance, public internet computer use, Wi-Fi sessions and (new this year) electronic retrievals. The ratings for 2020 were based on 2018 data that libraries reported to the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Here are a few of the Library's key statistics for 2018.

  • 2 million people visited The Seattle Public Library online and at our 27 locations.
  • Library patrons checked out physical and digital items 11.9 million times, including a digital circulation of 3.9 million.
  • Wi-Fi hot spots, tablets, laptops and power meters were checked out 30,000 times.
  • Close to 305,000 people attended over 10,000 educational classes, workshops and author programs.
  • Our computers were used over 307,000 times.


Library Journal changed the way it calculated its rating for the 2020 Index, which may have contributed to The Seattle Public Library’s move from a five-star to four-star library in 2020. Regardless, the rating is significant: The Library is one of only 10 similarly sized libraries in the nation to receive a four- or five-star rating. 


Library Journal is the leading journal of the library profession. For more information, visit

The Seattle Public Library believes that the power of knowledge improves people's lives. We promote literacy and a love of reading as we bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.

Visit the Library’s Road to Reopening page to find out about our Curbside services and online programs while the Library is closed, or contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information during this challenging time.