News & Stories

Support the Library with a #GivingTuesday gift!

Support the Library with a Giving Tuesday gift!

Don’t wait to make a gift to The Seattle Public Library Foundation. Thanks to our Board of Directors, all donations for Giving Tuesday will be matched – up to $50,000!

That means your gift now through Giving Tuesday will have DOUBLE the impact. The Library is an essential part of our community that people rely on, and generous supporters like you help enhance our Library above and beyond what public support alone provides.

Make a Giving Tuesday gift today!

Aging in Place Series Launched for Older Adults

Chances are, you or someone you know are planning for the future. This October and November, the Library’s Older Adult Program will host a three-part series to learn about Aging in Place. The Library’s Older Adult Program is made possible by a grant from The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

Aging in Place: Virtual Villages
Tuesday, October 26th at 6:30 pm

A virtual village is not a place. Rather, it is a set of resources that enable you to remain where you want to live, more comfortably, for as long as possible.

Register for Aging in Place: Virtual Villages

Aging in Place: Homesharing
Tuesday November 9th at 6:30 pm

Homesharing is a model that increases affordable housing options, creates opportunities to earn additional income, combats social isolation and loneliness, and supports intentional roommate matching.

Register for Aging in Place: Homesharing

Aging in Place: Universal Design
Tuesday, November 16th at 6:30 pm

What is universal design? How do we look at accessibility in our living spaces as we consider our current and future needs? Barry Long, a local accessibility-focused realtor, will describe some of the most common examples of universal design in housing and suggest ways for you to evaluate your current home.

Register for Aging in Place: Universal Design

Better together with Your Next Job

North Seattle resident Dorothy Darrow credits the Library’s Your Next Job program with rejuvenating her job search as she seeks employment until she retires. (Photo credit: Lynsi Burton)

Dorothy Darrow worked as a part-time freelance production designer, laying out catalogs and ads for businesses.

But when the pandemic-induced economic crisis hit, “everything pretty much dried up” in terms of work, she says. She plans to retire in a few years and needs income until that time.

She learned about Your Next Job in The Seattle Times and turned to the Library for help.

Your Next Job started as The Seattle Public Library’s response to economic conditions and grew into a joint effort with Sno-Isle Libraries and the King County Library System to help job seekers throughout the region.

While various organizations in the area help people with different aspects of employment challenges, the Library saw the need for a “one-stop shop” – and one that would help people in need of technological support in several different languages.

“Getting people resources and information is what libraries are about,” says Marion Scichilone, assistant managing librarian at Central Library. “It just seemed like a very appropriate thing to do.”

So they trained Library staff and contracted multilingual navigators to listen to job-seekers’ needs and either refer them to the appropriate Library services or link them with partner organizations that can offer more specialized assistance, such as Seattle Jobs Initiative or Puget Sound Welcome Back Center.

“Any resource that a patron doesn’t have access to, we can be that bridge to get them connected to what they need,” says Meira Jough, program manager for adult basic education and workforce development.

Another powerful partnership is the one with Building Our Bridge, a group of Seattle Housing Authority residents who contract with organizations to provide multilingual technology training. They’re uniquely positioned to help immigrants and refugees who call in with the digital skills often required in job-seeking.

They provide service in Vietnamese, Oromo, Somali, Amharic, Korean, Arabic, and Tigrinya. Library staff cover English, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.

Between June and December, 265 patrons received Your Next Job services.

As for Darrow, she’s still looking for steady work, but Your Next Job connected her with contacts who could advise her on job training – and it boosted her morale as she secured job interviews.

“I was able to give myself encouragement to get out looking again,” she says.

To make an appointment with Your Next Job, visit or call 206-386-4636.

This story appeared in our 2020 Report to Donors. Read the full report here, complete with stories of donor impact and financial information.

Bringing homework help home

The Library contracted with to bring homework tutoring and academic coaching to kids at home while after-school in-person tutoring is on hold.

The Lake City Branch was one of the busiest Homework Help sites in the city. So when branches closed at the onset of the pandemic, the students who relied on it felt its absence.

“I can’t tell you how many requests I got for Homework Help from students missing it,” says Nancy Garrett, teen services librarian at the Lake City Branch.

After a search for online alternatives, the Library contracted with, which provides one-on-one academic coaching via the internet. Library staff said they picked over other possibilities because it offered help in multiple languages and provided a voice option in addition to text-based chat.

“It gives options to connect in a way that (users) feel most comfortable with,” says Emely Perez, a teen and adult services librarian at the South Park Branch.

After activating the service in October, with options for Vietnamese and Spanish language tutoring, the next important task was to promote it to those it could help.

Perez has plugged on Spanish-speaking radio station El Rey, 1360 AM, and contacted community partners who could help spread the word, such as local schools, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, and Villa Comunitaria. Ayan Adem, interim K-5 program manager, appeared in a segment on a Somali-speaking radio station.

Garrett has promoted the service to Northeast Seattle organizations – such as the Lake City Collective, Literacy Source, Seattle Housing Authority, and the North Seattle Family Center – and even to adults who may want to use’s adult option to study for a citizenship test or get job search help.

The goal is to communicate the availability of to prioritized communities throughout the city where children and families are experiencing increased barriers to education due to the pandemic. Youth and families need the Library’s support more than ever, says Josie Watanabe, public service programs manager. provided more than 2,700 tutoring sessions through the Library between October and December 2020, according to statistics provided by – mostly serving secondary grade students.

In-person Homework Help will resume eventually; students and volunteers alike miss the essential in-person connection they used to share, Watanabe says. But fills a vital role during the era of physical distancing.

“I’m so grateful that we were able to pivot to,” Garrett says. “It was really important to the community.”

If you or someone you know could use the help of a tutor, visit

This story appeared in our 2020 Report to Donors. Read the full report here, complete with stories of donor impact and financial information.

Ensuring every child has a home library

The Seattle Public Library distributed 42,600 books to Seattle youth and families with the greatest barriers to book access.

The branch closures necessitated by stay-home orders in the spring of 2020 cut off the primary access to books for thousands of families in Seattle – especially in summer, when students are encouraged to keep reading, yet the Library couldn’t distribute free books in person at Summer of Learning events.

“We were hearing from our community partners that families wanted and needed books for their children and teens,” says Lauren Mayer, a children’s services librarian at Central Library.

So the Foundation supported the purchase of 42,600 books that the Library distributed to youth and families throughout Seattle. They disseminated most of the books through the donor-supported Summer of Learning program.

Librarians leveraged service agencies’ continued contact with neighbors to get books in the hands of kids and teens.

“These are the kids I would have seen just walk into the Library,” says Wendy Israel, a teen services librarian at Beacon Hill who helped with the effort. “I’m very happy we can get these books to them.”

The focus of the book distribution was different in 2020, as well. Whereas previous efforts directed at least 50 percent of the giveaway books to prioritized audiences, this year’s aim was to give 100 percent of the books to those with barriers to book access.

Books were distributed to partners such as YouthCare, Seattle Indian Health Board, Yesler Terrace affordable housing community, and Boys and Girls Clubs – more than 100 partners in all.

Librarians sought to curate books reflective of their audiences, as well, featuring characters and authors of color and representing LGBTQ-identifying people.

“Having young people read about individuals, places, and situations that are similar to theirs helps them to see that they are not alone in the struggles they face,” says one employee at YouthCare, which houses teens and young adults experiencing housing instability.

Mayer is thankful for the chance to continue serving kids and teens and especially grateful to the donors and librarians who helped make it happen.

“We’re just so grateful to the Foundation for their support,” she says. “It’s because of that support, and the hard work of our community partner organizations and Library staff, that books are getting out to youth and families even in difficult times.”

This story appeared in our 2020 Report to Donors. Read the full report here, complete with stories of donor impact and financial information.

The ‘Inside Your Library: Collections’ reading list from Helen Gutierrez and Justo Gonzalez

Click here to view the full program.

The Foundation hosted its latest episode of “Inside Your Library” June 23 with featured guest Helen Gutierrez, Collection Services Manager at the Seattle Public Library.

Helen spoke with Foundation Board Member Justo Gonzalez about discovering libraries and literature as Mexican-Americans and some of their favorite titles – as well as the origins of Peak Picks and some inner workings at the Library.

We’ve put together a book list of the titles discussed by Helen and Justo so you can check them out yourself. And, if you missed it, view the program here!

  1. Ijeomo Oluo – “Mediocre: the Dangerous Legacy of White Male America” and “So You Want to Talk About Race”
  2. Alejandro Ruiz – “The Food of Oaxaca”
  3. Victor Villaseñor – “Rain of Gold”
  4. Ryan Holiday – “Stillness is the Key,” “Ego is the Enemy,” and “The Obstacle is the Way”
  5. Marcus Aurelius – “Meditations”
  6. Michel de Montaigne – “On Solitude” (Contained in “The Complete Essays”)
  7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez“Love in the Time of Cholera”
  8. Isabel Allende – “House of the Spirits”
  9. Luis Alberto Urrea – “In Search of Snow” (not available at SPL), “Nobody’s Son,” “House of Broken Angels”
  10. Kirsten Valdez Quade – The Five Wounds”
  11. Jasmine Guillory – “The Wedding Date” and “The Proposal”
  12. S.C. Gwynne – “Empire of the Summer Moon”
  13. Jacob A. Riis – “How the Other Half Lives”
  14. Gabriela Garcia – “Of Women and Salt”
  15. Astrid Lindgren“The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking”
  16. Various Authors – Star Wars books
  17. JRR Tolkien – “Lord of the Rings”
  18. Betty Smith – “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
  19. Kimberly Brubacker Bradley – “The War that Saved My Life”
  20. Valeria Luiselli“Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions”

‘It just takes 1 person to speak up’: Scholarship winner celebrates activism of Tulalip leader

Having spent childhood summers with her grandparents in Haines, Alaska, among the Tlingit Indian Tribe, Julianna Folta grew up with an appreciation for indigenous cultures.

So when she learned about indigenous rights activist Deborah Parker while searching for inspiration for the Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship contest, she knew the Tulalip leader was the ideal figure for her to explore.

“It just felt like it clicked,” says Julianna, an 18-year-old junior at Cascadia College in Bothell. “It felt like the best person to write about, the person I most connected to.”

Julianna’s essay on Deborah “Tsi-Cy-Altsa” Parker earned her the first-place prize in the Foundation’s eighth-annual scholarship contest, winning $5,000 toward college tuition.

“She came from a background that was very humble and often beats down people from being able to rise up because of cycles of violence and abuse and systemic oppression,” Julianna says of Parker.

As a policy analyst for the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Parker took a particular interest in advocating for tribes’ rights to exercise criminal jurisdiction on their reservations; previously, non-native people accused of committing crimes on native land could not be prosecuted.

Her time on the national stage arrived just ahead of the 2013 re-authorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act, which was slated to include additional reforms, such as special protections for LGBTQ and immigrant survivors.

But indigenous women were left out.

A meeting with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in Washington, D.C. led to Parker becoming the face of the reform effort for Native American women. And, despite having never gone public with the violence she experienced, she told her story to the nation – which led to protections for indigenous women being included in the newly reauthorized law.

“Her strength and ability to fight and actively working towards promoting her community was really inspiring to me, as well as the fact that she took so many personal risks,” Julianna adds. “It just takes one person to speak up and evoke community action. It makes you feel less alone.”

Julianna grew up in Guam and Saipan before moving to the Seattle area as a teenager, where she attended Inglemoor High School in Kenmore. Running Start classes allowed her to earn enough college credit to enter Cascadia College as a junior.

She aims to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices. She is passionate about fostering sustainable and equitable food production and improving access to healthy food in low-income communities.

Writing about Parker allowed Julianna to learn about the inspiring and transformative figures around us, she says.

“I hope it inspires people to take a deeper look at the figures surrounding the area and the impact happening around the community,” Julianna says. “And it also makes you take a look at the injustices happening around us.”

Read Julianna’s essay about Deborah Parker.

Learn more about the Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship and the two runners-up.

Stim Bullitt scholarship winners celebrate trailblazers who shaped Washington

The Seattle Public Library Foundation is pleased to announce the three winners of the 2021 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship.

First-place winner Julianna Folta and runners-up Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce and Taylor Yingshi each won tuition support from the Foundation by writing essays on courageous Washingtonians who made their communities a better place by fighting for their ideals.

Running 8 years strong, the essay contest honors the legacy of the late Library supporter, community leader, and activist Stimson Bullitt, who believed that civic leadership could make a lasting positive impact on society. The contest challenges local high school and college students to write an essay about an individual or group from Washington state who demonstrated the courage to advance an important community issue at great personal, political, or professional risk.

Each year, $10,000 is divided among three outstanding students and their essays are permanently cataloged in The Seattle Public Library’s Seattle Room.

We are grateful for the time and efforts of the local authors who judged the finalists: Kristen Millares Young, Jon Krakauer, and Jonathan Raban.

Winner Julianna Folta, who earned $5,000, wrote about Deborah “Tsi-Cy-Altsa” Parker, a Tulalip tribal leader who advocated for the protection of indigenous survivors in the federal Violence Against Women Act. Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce and Taylor Yingshi, who won $2,500 each, wrote about Nisqually tribal activist Billy Frank, Jr., and Seattle’s first elected official of color Wing Luke, respectively.

Congratulations to our winners!

Julianna Folta
Junior, Cascadia College
$5,000 scholarship
“Deborah ‘Tsi-Cy-Altsa’ Parker”



Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce
Ballard High School
Entering Western Washington University
$2,500 scholarship
“How a Nisqually Icon Freed the River”



Taylor Yingshi
Issaquah High School
Entering Columbia University
$2,500 scholarship
“The Flap of a Wing, the Overhaul of a City: Seattle’s First Asian-American Councilman”



Learn more about the Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship.

Book Bingo season is here!

The wait is over! Start your summer reading NOW with the 2021 Book Bingo!

Adult Book Bingo, created by a partnership between the Library and Seattle Arts and Lectures, employs a local artist to create a bingo board of reading challenges that can be returned to the Library for the chance to win prizes.

This year’s Adult Book Bingo was illustrated by Tessa Hulls, a local artist who is working on a graphic memoir set to debut in 2023.

“This year, Seattle Arts & Lectures and The Seattle Public Library wanted to center joy as well as a commitment to equity and inclusion in our category selections,” says Misha Stone, Reader Services librarian at The Seattle Public Library. “We are grateful to our passionate, engaged reading community!”

A Spanish Book Bingo is also available, with the help of Seattle Escribe, Washington state’s largest group of Spanish-speaking writers. Seattle Escribe contributed “transcreation,” which is a type of translation that not just provides literal translations but adapts text to Spanish-speaking culture and context.

Book Bingo categories include “speculative fiction,” “on your shelf,” and “Black joy.”

You have until Sept. 7 to achieve a bingo or even a blackout. Download your Book Bingo board – and find some book suggestions! – at

Kids take a stroll in the park with the Library

As part of the Earth Week StoryWalks, Herring’s House Park (Tualtwx), near the Duwamish Longhouse, featured a guided walk with the book, “We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade. (Photo by Warren Chin, SPL)

The Seattle Public Library teamed up with Seattle Parks & Recreation last month to celebrate a kid-friendly Earth Week with four StoryWalks® installed at four parks throughout Seattle.

The purpose was to offer a family-friendly activity in outdoor settings that fosters a connection between nature and literature.

Pages of children’s picture books were installed in displays throughout each park to create a guided walk as the story progresses, which makes the activity socially distant by nature. StoryWalks® encourage reading, imagination, fitness, and exploring your community.

“We brought StoryWalks® to Seattle because we knew that the community (would) find it an enjoyable and safe way to recreate,” says Lan Lum, a community naturalist at Seattle Parks & Recreation. “StoryWalks® have the potential to connect people to books, nature, and each other. They can provide meaningful shared experiences and spark conversations among families and friends.”

The book and park pairings were: Harlem Grown by Tony Hillery and Jessie Hartland at Genesee Park, The Storm Whale by Benji Davies at Magnuson Park, The Tin Forest, by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson at Northacres Park, and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade at Herring’s House Park (Tualtwx). The Herring’s House Park StoryWalk® was offered in partnership with the nearby Duwamish Longhouse.

Louisa Storer, Children’s Services librarian at the Broadview Branch, selected the four books to go with each park and the Foundation supported the purchase of the books used in each StoryWalk®. The four parks were chosen because they are in different areas of Seattle, are easily accessible by public transportation, and serve some of our most diverse and underserved communities.

The StoryWalks® were exhibited at the parks from April 21 to April 24. The Library and Seattle Parks & Recreation may work on future StoryWalks® together.

The StoryWalk® Project was originally created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.