News & Stories

Books and Brews!

This October, the Library visits your favorite bars and pubs for Booktoberfest, our annual celebration of books, beer and good cheer. Join us in venues across the city for bookish happy hours, librarian-hosted trivia nights, spooky stories in bars and libraries, Karaoke, Books a la Carte and Literary Fortune Telling! Your gifts to the Foundation help bring these Library programs out into the community!

Click here for more information.

Rhythm in Colors

“Rhythm in Colors” highlights our city’s storied past with jazz as a historic black art form that has influenced the world and animated our cultural landscape. Seattle jazz culture boasts a sweeping arc of talent including award-winning musicians and music education programs.

The exhibit features oral interviews of jazz musicians and advocates who have participated in the Library’s ongoing Seattle Jazz Archive project.  The Library has interviewed 13 individuals and will continue to add more interviews during the year. Rhythm in Colors also includes digital videos produced by Madeline Crowley, fully indexed transcripts and still photography of each interviewee.

The exhibit also explores how jazz educators have helped bring jazz into schools with opportunities for students to learn and participate, making Seattle a leader in youth jazz programs.

Bring your smartphones to the exhibit and you’ll be able to listen to audio clips of the oral interviews in the Library’s collection, see performances and access additional materials about jazz in Seattle.

Programs are scheduled for July and will include performances, a film screening and presentations.  Go to for more information.

A very special thank you to Gary Kunis and you our donors for making this impactful exhibit possible.

The Barbara and Fred Guptill Meeting Room

We had a wonderful opportunity to dedicate a new named space in the Northeast Library for Barbara and Fred Guptill. The Guptill’s will forever be remembered as two library lovers who used the gift of reading to change the lives of those around them. Thank you Guptill family!

Fred and Barbara Guptill loved books. Their generous bequest to the Seattle Public Library was the last act in rich careers that centered on the role of libraries in empowering a literate populace.

Fred Guptill was born on July 14, 1930 in Seattle, as an only child of Fred Linden Guptill and Mildred Louise Carpenter Guptill. He was raised in Seattle, graduating from Lincoln High School and the University of Washington where he received his Master of Arts degree in History. He did a stint in the Navy and spent his career as a teacher and librarian for Seattle Public Schools. Fred loved to play bridge and was a master of the art. He also loved chess; one of his fondest memories was playing chess with John Wayne on one of the actor’s visits to Seattle. Fred also enjoyed traveling, history and art. Fred died on December 5, 2013.

Barbara Jane Guptill was born in Bonners Ferry, Idaho on May 30, 1931 to Lee and Enid Williams. She was the youngest of five children. She graduated from the College of Idaho in 1952. Barbara moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where she received her Master of Library and Information Sciences degree. She began working for the Seattle Public Library system in 1955. During her long career, she headed the adult-education department and then the Government Research Assistance Library before she became the director of downtown library services before her retirement in 1991. Barbara remained engaged in Seattle affairs post retirement, serving as Co-President of the League of Women Voters. Barbara died on March 31, 2003.

Fred and Barbara were married on Sept. 5, 1955. Fittingly, they met in the stacks of Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington where they learned of their shared love for books and each other.

International Public Library Fundraising Conference


The Seattle Public Library Foundation is pleased to announce the first-ever International Public Library Fundraising Conference to be held July 23-25, 2017 at the Central Library in downtown Seattle, Washington.

This is a fantastic opportunity for public library development professionals to get together and explore common areas of interest, network with others who successfully raise money for their libraries and hear from other fundraising experts.

We have an information-packed agenda with sessions that cover important fundraising topics, such as effective direct mail and digital fundraising strategies, proper messaging in today’s political climate, how to turn fundraising challenges into successes, and much more.

In addition to the fundraising topics led by library development leaders, we’re excited to have some inspiring keynote speakers, such as…

Deborah Jacobs, Director, Global Libraries Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Deborah oversees the Gates Foundation’s work toward improving people’s lives in developing and transitioning countries by providing them with public access to information and communications technology in public libraries.


Pam Sandlian-Smith, Director Anythink Libraries, Adams County, Colorado

Pam is responsible for bringing Anythink Libraries from being the least funded system in Colorado to one of the most recognized library brands in the nation.

We also plan to host a sample exchange – where organizations can share materials, dashboards and annual plans – anything you are proud of and think others could benefit from. Plus, there will be time to socialize, take a walking tour of Seattle and maybe even check out a library or two!

Here’s a detailed schedule so you can plan your day of learning, networking, and site-seeing:

Sunday, July 23
1:30-2:30 pm Registration
2:30-2:45 pm Welcome/Ice-Breakers Jonna Ward, CEO, Seattle Public Library Foundation
Marcellus Turner, City Librarian, Seattle Public Library
2:45-3:40 pm Kick-off Session Strategy: Positioning and the Powerful Role of Marketing and Communications

Kristi Pearson, Executive Director, Friends of Hennepin County Library Foundation
Adam Breininger, Senior Development Director, Friends of the Hennepin County Library
Brent Buechler, Vice President, Calgary Public Library Foundation

3:45-5:00 pm Library Tours Introduction to the Building Followed by Tours
5:15 pm + Cocktail Social Hour Welcome to SPL

Ross Baker, Board President, Seattle Public Library Foundation
Marcellus Turner, City Librarian

Monday, July 24
8:00-8:55 am Breakfast at Library Informal Conversations
9:00-10:00 am AM Session 1 Joint Fundraising Campaigns With Your Library

Jennifer Shin, Director of Development, Seattle Public Library Foundation

10:00-10:15 am Break
10:15-10:55 am AM Session 2 Friends & Foundations

Sue Hall, Consultant, Library Strategies/Friends of the St. Paul Library

11:05 am-12:05 pm AM Session 3 Events: Signature Events, Engaging New Audiences and Stewarding Your Donors

Kristi Pearson, Executive Director, Friends of Hennepin County Library Foundation
Adam Breininger, Senior Development Director, Friends of the Hennepin County Library
Francesca Rodriquez, Foundation Officer, Madison Public Library Foundation

12:05-12:15 pm Break
12:15-1:00 pm Keynote/Lunch Transforming Libraries & Visionary Leadership

Pam Sandlian-Smith, Director, Anythink Libraries

1:10-2:00 pm PM Session 1 Segmentation Strategies in Direct Mail/Digital Marketing Strategies (Case Studies)

Deniz Isler, Vice President, Strategy & Marketing, Carl Bloom Associates
Christina McPhillips, Vice President, Business Development, Carl Bloom Associates

2:00-2:15 pm Break
2:15-3:30 pm PM Session 2 Major Capital Campaign – Case Study from Calgary and Billings

Paul McIntyre Royston, President/CEO & Brent Buechler, Vice President, Calgary Public Library Foundation
Leslie Modrow, Development Director, Billings Public Library Foundation

3:30-3:45 pm Break
3:45-4:45 pm PM Session 3 Round Table Topics: Advocacy, Foundation Start Ups, Board Relations, Library Relations, Planned Giving, Strategic Planning

Table Captains

4:45-5:00 pm Close Day, Set Stage for Tuesday
Tuesday, July 25
8:00-8:55 am Breakfast at Library Informal Conversations: Launch day, Housekeeping, Keynote Introduction
9:00-9:40 am Keynote Transforming Libraries – Local to International Perspective

Deborah Jacobs, Director of Global Initiatives, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

9:45-10:30 am AM Session 1 Donor Retention – Why it Matters So Much

Deniz Isler, Vice President, Strategy & Planning, Carl Bloom Associates

11:00-11:10 am Break
11:10-11:55 am AM Session 2 Planned Giving

Cindy Sharek, Director of Major Gifts, King County Library System Foundation
Christina McPhillips, Vice President, Business Development, Carl Bloom Associates

11:55 am-12:00 pm Wrap up/Send Off Now What? Ready to Meet Again in Calgary

Jonna Ward, CEO, Seattle Public Library Foundation

We look forward to seeing you this summer in Downtown Seattle!

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.