News & Stories

$10,000 in Scholarships Available – Deadline 3/15

Want to help a friend, neighbor, or loved one earn $5,000 for college? You can! Make them aware of the Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship Contest. $10,000 in scholarship funds are available to three Seattle students! Grand prize scholarship is $5,000 and two runners-up receive $2,500. Simply write an essay on civic courage! Submit your essay by March 15, 2019! For information on eligibility and submission details, click here.

Thank You for Making #GivingTuesday a Success!

Little girl reaching for books.We are so thankful for your support in making this year’s #GivingTuesday such a success! With your help, and with the $20,000 challenge match from an anonymous donor, we raised more than $60,000 for The Seattle Public Library!

Your support puts more books on the shelves and allows the Library to provide innovative services that keep pace with the changing needs of our community.

So thank you! YOU are the reason our libraries are so special!

Fall Newsletter – The Power of Digital Literacy

The Next Chapter Fall 2018 NewsletterThe fall edition of The Next Chapter is now available online! Featuring stories about the Library’s digital literacy efforts, humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson and the latest update on the soon-to-be re-opened Lake City Branch!

The Next Chapter takes you behind the scenes of the Library programs that are funded by the generous support of donors, offers profiles of donors and Library staff and provides details about upcoming Library and donor events. Subscribe to The Next Chapter by becoming a donor today!

Give Now, Feel Good

Anthony and JosephineDon’t miss this opportunity to double your impact with a gift to The Seattle Public Library Foundation. Thanks to a generous challenge match, your donation up to $20,000 will be matched dollar for dollar!

Your support means more books, free public programs and innovative new services that help everyone in our community learn and grow.

It’s easy to make your gift online and feel really good about making a difference in the lives of people who need, use and love the Library.

Donate to The Seattle Public Library Foundation

Celebrate Indigenous Creativity and Environmental Equity at Yəhaw

yəhaw̓ This fall, The Seattle Public Library is part of yəhaw̓, a community-driven, open call exhibition celebrating the depth and diversity of Indigenous art made in the Pacific Northwest. From October 4 through December 9, the Central Library Level 8 gallery will feature the exhibit “This Is Our Home, Where We Belong,” showcasing original artwork of five Coast Salish women exploring environmental justice, identity and place.

The Library and yəhaw̓ will also host a series of Indigenous artists in residence – Native Kut (Pah-tu Pitt and Sean Gallagher), Fox Spears and Roldy Aguero Ablao. The artists will each activate the right side of the Level 8 gallery and include artwork displays, live-art making, and community engagement activities, all relating to themes of water and environmental justice. All of the artists will participate in a public panel discussion following the residency period to share their experiences working in the library. Visit for artist in residence schedule.

The Library’s participation in this project is made possible through donations to The Seattle Public Library Foundation and expertise from executive project producers Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole), Asia Tail (Cherokee), and Satpreet Kahlon, along with the guidance from the Library’s Native Advisory Council.

Five Estate Planning Questions You Should Be Asking

What’s stopping you from planning your future? Whether you are just starting to think about writing your will or want to make sure you are up to date with your existing plans, this seminar will help you identify what you need to ensure peace of mind about your future.

Join us on October 2 as Mark Reinhardt, an estate planning attorney with more than 20 years of experience, will explain the different estate planning tools and address common issues that come up in the process. Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP Today

Two Sessions Available

Session I
When: 1 – 2:30 p.m. | October 2, 2018
Where: The Seattle Public Library, Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle

Session II
When: 4 – 5:30 p.m. | October 2, 2018
Where: King County Library System, Mercer Island Branch, 4400 88th Ave SE, Mercer Island

Co-Hosted by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the King County Library System Foundation.

About Mark Reinhardt

Mark ReinhardtMark received a Master’s degree from Indiana University and graduated with a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law in 1991. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and presents at a number of seminars and Bar‐sponsored trainings in Illinois and Washington State. His peers selected him as a “Rising Star” in Washington Law and Politics Magazine. Mark is a member of the East King County Estate Planning Council.

Summer Newsletter – Going Beyond the Frame

The Next Chapter newsletter Summer 2018 The summer edition of The Next Chapter has been mailed out and is now available online. Featuring stories about the Library-led Beyond the Frame project that explores the work of Edward S. Curtis and contemporary Native artists, an interview with third-generation librarian Anne Cisney (full version here), the latest updates on the Lake City Library renovation and more!

The Next Chapter takes you behind the scenes of the Library programs that are funded by the generous support of donors, offers profiles of donors and Library staff and provides details about upcoming Library and donor events. Subscribe to The Next Chapter by becoming a donor today!

All in the Family

Anne Cisney, third generation librarian Growing up in rural Kitsap County, the daughter and granddaughter of librarians, becoming a librarian was the furthest thing from Anne Cisney’s mind. However, life has a funny way of working out. Once she entered the workforce, she realized that her favorite tasks in every job were things librarians get to do all the time – research, teaching and empowering people – so she eventually went back to college to get her library degree. She is now a fixture at the Seattle Central Library, just like her father and grandmother before her!

What is your family connection to the Library?

My grandmother, Dagny, graduated from UW Library School in 1926 and worked at the original Central Library Carnegie building, in the circulation department, until my dad was born in 1939 (his birth announcement was in the staff newsletter). She went on to be a school librarian in Kitsap County and then a branch librarian with Kitsap Regional Library, where my mother also later worked.

My dad, Eric, began as a teacher but went back for his MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science), graduating with my mother from the UW Library School in 1966. He worked at SPL from that year until 2005 as a technology librarian whose specialties included the automotive repair collection. His tenure spanned two Central Library buildings and some tremendous shifts in how we do our work.

I graduated from the UW iSchool in 2006, entering SPL first at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, then becoming a branch Librarian (Ballard, Magnolia, and Greenwood,) and finally moving to the Central Library’s then Magazine and Newspaper department in around 2010. Now, my desk is in the Business, Science and Technology floor, one cubical away from my dad’s former seat.

It was a complete coincidence that we all graduated from the same library school at 40 year intervals. We didn’t even realize it until my graduation day.

What do you think is the Library’s role in the community?

I believe the Library exists to provide free and fair access to information and entertainment, opportunities for gathering and civic engagement and friendly assistance to individual patrons. It also plays a vital role in helping even the playing field within the community, offering educational opportunities to people who might not otherwise be able to afford these services.

Public libraries are among the last truly democratic spaces we have, existing for the use and benefit of everyone in the community – regardless of age, income, occupation, nationality, country of origin, education level, gender identity or expression, disability status or specific interests. Whether you’re starting a business, reading for pleasure, or looking for a safe place to sleep for the night, we are here to talk things through and help you reach the next step in your journey. You are valued. Your questions are important. Your experiences are unique.

How has the Library changed from generation to generation?

I believe the mission of the Library, and its essential work, has changed remarkably little between my grandmother’s day and my own. We have always helped people find information and solve problems.

One thing that has changed, beginning shortly after my father started at the Library, is how information can be accessed. Where previously the universe of knowledge lay in paper format in the Library, accessible via card catalog, the late 1960s saw the birth of many powerful new technologies. Complex professional databases were followed by friendlier databases for patron use, the internet, downloadable materials and wi-fi.

Until the late 1990s, the Library did a brisk and regular business mediating bar bets by phone and even helping with the occasional jeopardy question. We relied on almanacs and other fast fact sources to sate curiosity, while also assisting with deeper, more challenging research. In the modern Library, patrons solve many simple questions using search engines, but the number of deep, complex and sensitive questions is on the rise. Rather than difficulty finding any information, patrons are often overwhelmed with potential information sources. This leaves librarians in the role of navigator through the information universe. We help people know what information exists, how to find it and how to evaluate whether it is trustworthy.

Right now, the Library is currently doing really important, intentional work to ensure that the services we provide are truly reaching not just “everyone” but the most vulnerable among us. However, even this work is not new. Providing services to the immigrant and refugee communities, for example, was in important focus of the Library in the early 1980s as well, in the aftermath of the Vietnam war. We are diving deeper and using better tools and more sophisticated data now, and we have a lot farther we can go, but even this has always been a key part of our work.

How does the Library stay relevant?

The most important thing we can do is to listen to our patrons. That means both sharing the types of needs and experiences patrons express when they come to the Library and reaching out into the community to identify additional gaps that we could meet with resources and services, often for patrons who have not used the Library much in the past.

There is always far more need than we have capacity, forcing the Library to make difficult choices at every turn regarding where best to focus our limited resources. The Seattle Public Library Foundation and its donors make a huge difference in expanding the scope of what we are able to accomplish. We are so lucky to have you!

What do you think the Library will be like 25 years from now?

As technology evolves, our means for connecting with patrons will also evolve, but I strongly feel that the role of the Library in the community and the basic human needs that we meet will continue on much as they have been for the last hundred years. I hope that the Library of 2043 will be a diverse place, where the staff reflects the community closely and we have found ways to seamlessly bridge the language and cultural barriers that sometimes challenge us now. I hope that the Library continues to value both digital material and physical collections, and that The Seattle Public Library will be seen as a shining example of the role a public library can play in preserving and reflecting back the history of the community it serves.

2018 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship Winners

The Seattle Public Library Foundation congratulates Sophia Carey, Isabel Emery, and Sylvie Corwin, recipients of the 2018 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship!

Now in it’s fifth year, the scholarship honors the legacy of Library supporter, community leader, and activist Stimson Bullitt, who believed that courageous civic leadership could improve the lives of people in our community both now and in the future. Students are challenged to write an essay about an individual or group of individuals from Washington state who have demonstrated civic courage on an issue of importance to the community at great personal, political or professional risk.

This year’s three winning essays focus on Maru Mora-Villalpando, a community organizer who advocates for immigrant rights, Native American Chief Leschi, who resisted the resettlement of his people in the 1800s, and a group of five climate activists who temporarily shut down the Keystone pipeline in 2016.

Sophia Carey
$5,000 scholarship
Hear Me Out: Maru Mora-Villalpando, the Deportation Machine, and the Universal Meaning of Liberation

Sophia Carey - 2018 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship recipient

Sophia is attending the University of Washington.

Isabel Emery
$2,500 scholarship
Chief Leschi: The Story of a True American (dedicated to Charles Emery)

Isabel Emery 2018 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship recipient

Isabel is attending Loyola University.

Sylvie Corwin
$2,500 scholarship
Oil and Activists Don’t Mix: How Five Individuals Shut Down Five Pipelines

Sylvie Corwin 2018 Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship recipient

Sylvia is attending Whitman College.