News & Stories

2017 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship Winners

The Seattle Public Library Foundation congratulates Duncan King, Ankitha Doddanari and Kristin Hayman, recipients of the 2017 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage scholarship.

Duncan King
$5,000 scholarship
“Kneeling for a Nation: How One Team’s Participation in a Nationwide Movement Developed Into a Force for Local Civic Change”

Duncan is attending Indiana University.

Ankitha Doddanari
$2,500 scholarship
“Seattle’s Forgotten Heroine of Unionization: Alice Lord”

Ankitha is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley.

Kristin Hayman
$2,500 scholarship
“John Singer & Paul Barwick’s Selfless Pursuit of Marriage Equality”

Kristin graduated from Redmond High School, Class of 2013. Attended Gonzaga University, 2013-2015 and is now at Providence College planning to graduate in 2018.

Loud in the Library!

Shhh is something you rarely hear nowadays in the Library’s children’s areas. We encourage young children to explore and learn through play in our libraries. But many young parents still feel uncomfortable bringing babies and toddlers to the library. And some immigrant families don’t know children of all ages are welcome.

To remedy that problem, CiKeithia Pugh, the Library’s Early Learning Program manager, partnered with the Nurse-Family Partnership of King County to bring the first-time moms they work with into the Library. She hosts “Loud in the Library” events for parents and babies to get them comfortable coming to the library.

A recent “Loud in the Library” event at Rainier Beach Branch included sharing stories and early literacy tips plus time for free play, snacks, and socializing. One of the moms, a certified instructor of Zumbini (movement classes for babies and toddlers), led the group in a few dances.

CiKeithia’s innovative work connecting young children and their parents with the Library is made possible by support from donors to The Seattle Public Library Foundation. It’s one more way gifts to the Foundation help ensure the long-term vitality of The Seattle Public Library.


A day in the life of a book!

Ever wonder how books travel around the city to reach you?  Enjoy this short video about the day in the life of a library book. if you give $100 or more during GiveBIG you can see the incredible book sorting machine in action!

Losing a Good Friend

The Seattle Public Library Foundation joins with many other organizations in the city to mourn the loss of Dan McConnell.  Dan was a member of the Library Foundation board since 2013 and served on the executive committee as secretary from 2014 to 2016.  He was also a member of the Donor Relations and Communications committee. His warmth, humor, and wise counsel will be missed by all of us.

Dan was one of the Northwest’s best known and most active public relations strategists. His experience included extensive work in strategic planning, sports and event marketing, media relations and crisis communications. As the former managing director of DDB Public Relations, a worldwide marketing communications agency, he built both a national and international reputation and has worked with more than 300 companies, organizations and individuals — including Microsoft, McDonald’s, ABC Sports, the White House, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Olympics.

As an active member of the Library Foundation board, Dan was always ready to use his wide network of contacts to help connect the Library with key stakeholders in the community.  He was also extremely  generous in providing his time and expertise to develop the Foundation’s communications and event planning.


Welcome Seattle Reads Author Angela Flournoy

The Seattle Public Library is excited to host Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House, this year’s selection for Seattle Reads, May 8-11.

The Turner House was a finalist for the National Book Award, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and named a New York Times Notable Book of 2015.


For a full schedule of events click here.

Harriet Bullitt Donates Edward Curtis’ ‘The North American Indian’ to the Library

Philanthropist Harriet Bullitt has donated her rare collection of Edward S. Curtis’ “The North American Indian” to The Seattle Public Library.

Curtis (1868-1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and Native American peoples.

“The North American Indian” is a collection of 20 informational books and 20 books of large images, written and photographed by Curtis and his collaborators over the course of nearly 30 years, detailing the traditions and customs of more than 80 of North America’s native nations.

“I treasure this collection, which was given to me by my mother,” Bullitt said. “The Seattle Public Library is the perfect place for it. I am absolutely thrilled to know this incredibly important body of work will be well preserved and appreciated for generations to come. I believe everyone should have a chance to see it.”

Curtis felt a deep sense of purpose in documenting the cultural customs of Native American tribes, which he believed were facing extinction, in the early 20th century. Each published set was accompanied by 20 large portfolios containing over 2,200 photogravure prints of the people, places and customs Curtis came to know. The set is considered a remarkable publishing feat and an invaluable historic and artistic resource. There were 222 complete sets published and it is unknown how many exist today. Most known sets can be found in libraries and museums.

Bullitt’s set of “The North American Indian” will become the second complete set in the Library’s Special Collections. The Library will be able to create public displays with the books, as well as the information and images contained within them. With two sets in its possession, the Library may also consider loaning portions of its first complete set to other Northwest institutions to leverage the reach of the collection.

The Library’s Special Collections staff also plans to make the new set an important part of the Curtis150 sesquicentennial celebration of Curtis’ life’s work in 2018. Throughout the year, images from the collection will be on display in the Level 8 Gallery of the Central Library. The Curtis150 celebration is a multi-institution project that includes the Library, Seattle Art Museum, the University of Washington, American Friends Service Committee’s Seattle Indian Program, The Edward Curtis Foundation and more.


Norcliffe Challenge Completed!

We did it!  Thanks to more than 500 generous donors, The Seattle Public Library Foundation completed the Norcliffe Challenge—raising $3.5 million for the Library’s Program Endowment for Children and Teens!

In 2014 The Norcliffe Foundation promised that if the Library Foundation could raise $3.5 million for that endowment by December 31, 2016, they would donate an additional $1 million to help fund the many children’s programs the Library offers.  The community responded generously to the challenge and by the end of the year, more than 500 donors made a gift to the campaign.

The Library Foundation sends a special thanks to The Ginger and Barry Ackerley Foundation for their long-term involvement and support.  In 2002, a $1 million gift from the Ackerley family created the Program Endowment for Children and Teens.  And another generous gift from them capped off this campaign a few weeks ago!

This is a wonderful accomplishment for our Library and the community. Completing this challenge goes a long way toward the Library having stable, predictable funding for children’s learning programs year after year.

Microsoft Grants New Software Licenses to the Library

In 2016, Microsoft made a generous donation of computer software licenses to the Library through The Seattle Public Library Foundation. The grant will allow the 625 public computers throughout the Library to be upgraded to Windows 10 and Office 2016. It will also improve the Library’s internal computer operations, making its systems faster, more stable, and more secure.

Use of the Library’s public computers is projected to reach more than 1.2 million sessions in 2017. With these upgrades, patrons will be able to learn and use the full functionality of Microsoft computers and the latest Office products — skills that are necessary to be part of today’s workforce.
Our thanks to Microsoft for this amazing gift that will empower so many people in our community!

You Make the Gift, We Send the Card!

card and notebookThe Seattle Public Library Foundation offers you an easy way for share your love for books and lifelong learning by making a contribution to the Library in honor of a friend or loved one. It’s a great gift that will warm the heart of someone dear to you and help make the Library a richer resource for everyone in our community.

Simply use our safe and secure online form to make your tribute gifts. We’ll send a personalized holiday card acknowledging your thoughtful donation to each recipient. Make a donation of $100 or more per recipient and we’ll send them a card plus a matching pocket notebook, perfect for keeping track of books read and titles you want to read next!

Cards and notebooks will be mailed in mid-December unless otherwise requested.

New Community Resource Specialist

Like most urban public libraries, The Seattle Public Library serves a number of patrons whose needs go beyond books and materials.  Our Library staff are trained to provide excellent reference and customer service, but are not thoroughly knowledgeable about the wide array of social service agencies that can help patrons with complex needs related to housing, employment, legal matters, financial literacy, immigration, health and mental health care, and substance abuse.

To address the need for information about social services and provide meaningful support to our patrons and staff, the Foundation is funding a two-year pilot project to place a Community Resource Specialist at the Central Library.  In order to find an individual with the right experience for the job, the Library contracted with the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), one of the community’s largest and most respected agencies serving vulnerable populations.

Hallie Cronos, a DESC employee, currently works 30 hours a week at the Central Library meeting with patrons who need help with basic services, housing, health care, and employment.  She keeps regular office hours on Level 5 and provides referrals to patrons dealing with personal challenges.  She also works with Library staff and security staff to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere throughout the building.

Since beginning work at Central in April, Hallie has assisted more than 200 patrons, providing them with information and referrals that helped them move forward with their lives.