The 2019 Library Levy supplements city funding to support core Library services including open hours, collection development, technology services, children’s programming, and building maintenance. It also provides funds for seismic retrofit projects at three Carnegie libraries.
About the Levy
As The Seattle Public Library navigated the second year of a global pandemic, we directed levy resources where they were most needed to provide Seattle residents access to Library resources and services. Although we were unable to expand open hours as promised in the initial levy plan, we used levy funds to meet levy priorities of access, collections, technology, children’s programming and maintenance.
2021 Library Levy Priority Survey
In the fall of 2021, we conducted a public survey that asked Seattle residents about their perceptions of the Library, how Library use had shifted during COVID-19 and preferred Library hours. The survey, which was available online and in print at all Library locations, was offered in English, Amharic, Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Vietnamese.
The Library received more than 4,600 responses from Library users, which comprised a sample largely representative in race, age, and gender of demographics within the city of Seattle. Survey responses have helped the Library plan for expanding levy-supported hours, which we will introduce in 2022. Key findings from the survey are included in a two-page summary. Thanks to all of our patrons who took the time to fill out the survey and provide us valuable feedback!
Read the Library Levy Survey Summary
Lea el resumen de la encuesta sobre impuestos de la biblioteca en español
Đọc Tóm Tắt Khảo Sát Thu Thuế cho Thư Viện bằng tiếng Việt
2021 Levy Accomplishments
We promised to make Library resources and services accessible to patrons when they need them.
Reopened all 27 Library locations for in-building services and open hours restored to near pre-pandemic service levels.
Simplified online registration for Library cards, implemented autorenewal of physical items, and continued extending the time for patrons to pick up physical holds, a pandemic-era change.
Tested 24/7 holds pick up lockers at High Point and Rainier Beach branches.
Surveyed Seattle residents to find out how their Library use had shifted during the pandemic and their current preferences for Library hours. The survey, which was distributed in print and online in eight languages, received over 4,600 responses and provides guidance for future hours expansions.
2021 Levy Spending: $10.6 million
Provide More Books and Materials
We promised to provide a robust collection of books and materials.
Added 35,000+ titles and 99,000+ copies to the digital collection in 2021. Over 90,000 people checked out at least one digital book.
Added 237,000+ physical items, including 18,000+ copies of Peak Picks titles. Over 86,000 people checked out at least one physical item, including 26,000 who checked out a Peak Pick. As we reopened libraries and expanded hours, our physical circulation began to rebound.
Added 1,270 items to our digital local history and culture collections with additions to our Black Culture and History Collection, Covid-19 Community Collection, Earshot Jazz Collection, Northwest Photograph Collection and Seattle Historical Photograph Collection.
2021 Levy Spending: $5.8 million
Technology and Online Services
We promised to promote digital equity and improve our computer and online services.
Installed new WI-FI technology at all branches.
Loaned 1,335 hot spots in the community, including 235 with federal COVID funding.
Partnered with 24 community organizations including API Chaya, Casa Latina, Literacy Source and SHARE/Wheel.
2021 Levy Spending : $2.0 million
Programming for Children
We promised to provide additional early learning program for children 0-5.
Offered 95 virtual story times in English, Spanish and Mandarin, including 69 added to SPL Kids YouTube Channel in 2021. Viewed 14,000+ times.
Offered 45 early learning videos, including 25 added in 2021. Viewed 2,400+ times.
2021 Levy Spending: $ 200,000
We promised to maintain buildings for the next generation.
Completed design work for the Green Lake Branch earthquake retrofit.
Provided enhanced cleaning to ensure health and safety of patrons and staff.
Adapted facilities to support reopening and other pandemic-related changes.
2021 Levy Spending: $3.6 million