News & Stories

Thank You for Giving BIG!

A special thank you to all the amazing donors who participated in this year’s GiveBIG event!

Thanks to your support, we raised more than $270,000! These funds will support more than 40 Library initiatives, including youth & family learning programs, community engagement activities, collections, and so much more.

The Foundation also wishes to extend its appreciation to the members of our Board of Directors, who contributed generously to inspire donor contributions.

If you missed the opportunity to donate during GiveBIG,
you can make a gift anytime by clicking here!


Make a Splash With Summer of Learning


The Seattle Public Library plays a key role in providing learning activities and reading programs for children, teens and their families during the summer months. Last year, 11,352 youth and families benefited from 345 programs organized by branches across the Library system.

This year’s Summer of Learning, with a theme of “Make a Splash!” focuses on nature, the importance of water and the ways that local youth can act to make a positive impact in the community and on the environment.

Librarians, teaching artists and educators will facilitate hands-on STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs along with the Library’s traditional reading and literacy programs. (Fun fact: more 13,000 books were purchased and distributed as part of the program last year!)

Generous supporters like you make these programs available to families. For 2018, the Foundation has committed more than $385,000 to support program materials, books and staffing for summer learning programs.

Local youth also have played a key role in shaping this year’s program. Youth were hired to help create content for the children’s Summer Action Guide. The guide illustrates how youth can make a difference by participating in the Special Olympics (being held in Seattle this summer), as well as how youth are working to improve our community by taking on environmental stewardship projects, such as volunteering as a seal sitter.

To learn more about the Summer of Learning program, visit the newly redesigned Library website at

To support programs like this, click here.

Fresh Start Expanded to Help Teens!

The Seattle Public Library Foundation is sponsoring the expansion of initiative called Fresh Start, a program that helps youth ages 12-19 regain access to the Library’s resources by clearing fines and fees.

Many teens have blocked accounts due to late fines or lost items. The existing Fresh Start program provides for a one-time clearing of accumulated fines for overdue books. The new expansion will cover fees associated with lost or misplaced books.

“Like any parent, caregiver or teacher can attest to, sometimes teens can make mistakes, and things can happen,” said Jonna Ward, CEO of The Seattle Public Library Foundation. “This program helps remove access barriers by giving young people a second chance. The Library’s research has shown that when a youth account is restored, teens are twice as likely to use the Library. This is a great 2-for-1 program for our donors as well, who can support a teen while adding books to the collection.”

The average balance of a blocked account with a misplaced or lost book is $50, which many families are unable to pay. The Foundation hopes to support the reinstatement of more than 1,000 teen accounts by the end of 2018.

Donors can now make a direct contribution to the Fresh Start program!

Click here to make a gift!

Love the Lake City Library

The Lake City Library Branch is a truly unique place in the neighborhood—a safe, welcoming place for learning and coming together. We need your help to make it bigger and better.

The Lake City branch is one of the most heavily used libraries in the city with more than 220,000 patron visits last year. There is high demand for use of the Library’s public meeting rooms, computers and free WIFI. More students attend Lake City’s after-school Homework Help program often taking up most of the public seating.

In 2018, The Seattle Public Library will add a total of 1,600 square feet of public space to the Lake City Library. While the footprint of the building will not change, the additional public space will be achieved by condensing existing staff areas. The plan will:

  • Reconfigure the main entrance area into a flexible public space
  • Add comfortable seating and work spaces that support mobile devices
  • Add three new public meeting rooms
  • Provide a large play space in the Children’s area that can be used for Storytime
  • Create a lively teen area
  • Centrally locate all staff services to a single public service point
  • Add modular walls for meeting spaces to allow for maximum flexibility and capacity

An expanded Lake City Branch Library creates opportunities and improves the quality of life for everyone in the Lake City neighborhood.

Note on donor recognition: As of August 30, 2018, the donor recognition wall is currently in production and we are unable to make modifications. We regret that we can no longer add names to recognize the generosity of your gift. Fundraising for the campaign remains ongoing and all donors will receive our standard suite of donor benefits. Thank you for understanding.

Opportunities to name a space in the newly renovated Lake City Library are also available. Please contact Brian Lawrence at for more information.

Click here to contribute to the campaign!


Foundation Commits $4.5 million in Grants to Library

The Seattle Public Library Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce it has committed approximately $4,500,000 in grant commitments to The Seattle Public Library for 2018.

The grants will fund a wide variety of programs that support the community above-and-beyond what public funding provides. Highlights of the 2018 grants include:

  • $1,600,000 – Support for collections, including materials for children, teens, youth, adults, and special collections.
  • $914,000 – Funding for children and youth programs, such as Summer of Learning, Storytime, Homework Help, Learning Buddies, and more.
  • $798,000 – Support for community engagement programming, including activities to promote literacy and writing like Seattle Writes, humanities programs such as Seattle Reads and the Authors Series, and mobile services including the Bookmobile and Library visits to senior centers.
  • $550,000 – Funding for capital improvements, including support for the renovation of the Lake City Library Branch.
  • $342,000 – Support for access to Library services, including the Library to Business program, digital media learning programs, job and life skills trainings, and ESL and citizenship classes.
  • $59,000 – Support for Seattle Culture & History projects, including programs to conserve and protect and historical works.

“The board and staff of the Library Foundation express our heartfelt appreciation to the 6,000 donors who make these programs possible for our neighbors,” said Grace Nordhoff, board president for 2018 and 2019.

The Foundation relies on private contributions from individuals, corporations, and organizations to support these innovative programs.

If you would like to contribute to an area of service, click here.

Since inception, The Seattle Public Library Foundation has raised more than $150 million to ensure the long-term vitality of The Seattle Public Library. It is one of the leading public library foundations in the country, with more than $70 million in assets under management.



Jeff Guddat named CFO of the Year

Jeff Guddat, who has served as The Seattle Public Library Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer since 2010, was selected as the Nonprofit CFO of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Guddat was nominated by the Foundation’s board treasurer, Irene Yamamoto, who praised Guddat’s contribution to the organization’s success.

“Jeff combines a strong passion for our mission with the skills of a top-notch CFO,” said Yamamoto. “The Finance Committee enjoys working with Jeff, and it gives us tremendous confidence to know that our donor investments and the overall financial management of the organization are under such great care.”

Despite a conservative investment approach, the Foundation’s investments returned 16.2 percent in 2017. Guddat also leads the organization’s operations, with oversight over human resources, IT, and administration.

Guddat joined the Foundation following a successful career in the private sector with financial companies including Russell Investments and BNY Mellon. He has served in a variety of roles including division controller, investment analyst, and auditor.

Guddat will be honored on March 15, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.

Honor a Loved One with a Tribute Gift!

Struggling to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend or relative? Consider honoring that person with a gift to The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

You simply make a donation to the Library, in any amount, and designate your gift for a friend or loved one. We’ll send them a lovely card and include a special note from you! (You can also keep your name and/or gift amount a secret if you prefer.)

A tribute gift is a great way to share your love for the Library while providing a meaningful gift for someone important to you!

Click here to make your tribute gift.

Thank you Babyrific!

Our thanks to Babyrific — an app for keeping track of places and activities for kids — for hosting Celebration of Giving with Caspar Babypants on Saturday! More than 150 children and parents attended. We checked out more than 40 library books, issued 12 new library cards, and collected wonderful financial gifts to support the Library. Kids also donated books for the Immigrant and Refugee Center and collected two bins of coats for children at Mary’s Place. What a great day…thank you Babyrific!

Lake City Campaign Kickoff – Dec. 11

In 2018, The Seattle Public Library plans a major renovation on the Lake City Branch, expanding the amount of public space to meet the needs of the neighborhood.

Join The Seattle Public Library Foundation for a special briefing to learn about the project and how you can be part of the community campaign to renovate the library. Supporters will learn about a special gift matching opportunity and the chance to have your name featured on the in-branch donor wall.

Monday, December 11, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Lake City Branch
12501 28th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125

Please rsvp to Sharon Griggins at or 206.386.4130.

Thank you #GivingTuesday Supporters!

A huge thanks to all of our amazing supporters who stepped up for #GivingTuesday. The numbers are in — we doubled the amount raised last year and increased the number of donors by 100! That doubles the impact we can have on children, teens, and families who rely on the Library’s services to help them learn, grow, and satisfy their intellectual curiosity. A special note of thanks to our anonymous match sponsor…you know who you are! Thanks to ALL for your generous spirit!