News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

‘Books for Bikes’ program begins April 1

March 23rd, 2010 by master

Beginning Thursday, April 1, the Seattle Public Library begins its “Books for Bikes” program to encourage children to read. 

Fremont Library

The program, sponsored by the Masonic Doric Lodge No. 92 in Fremont, invites children in first through third grade to read books for a chance to win a bike.  For every three books they read between April 1 and June 3, participants will get to enter their name once in the drawing.  Each entry will require a short oral book report to a librarian. 

The celebration and drawing will take place on Saturday, June 5, at 4:00 p.m. at the Fremont Branch (731 N. 35th St).  One girl and one boy will each win a bike, helmet and lock.  Winners must be present to win.  All participants will receive certificates of accomplishment.  For more information, call the Fremont Branch at 206-684-4084.

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Fremont Public Library hours get cut

November 12th, 2009 by master

There’s good news and there’s bad news regarding Seattle Public Libraries today.  Our news partner, The Seattle Times, is reporting that that the Seattle City Council budget committee restored $863,000, from a proposed $2.8 million cut, to the 2010 public libraries budget.  That means 11 library branches and the Central Library downtown will get to remain open 7 days a week.  However, the Fremont Public Library and 14 other branches did not dodge the bullet.  Those 15 libraries will go down to a 5-day-week schedule beginning in the new year. 

Currently the Fremont Library is open 50 hours a week for 6 days.  The new changes means it will only be open for 35 hours a week and 5 days.  The new hours will look like this:

Monday and Tuesday:  1-8pm (unchanged) 

Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday:  11am-6pm (currently 10am-8pm W-Th, 10am-6pm Sat)

Friday and Sunday:  Closed

You can read more about the City Council’s latest decision here.

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Petition to keep Fremont library open

October 12th, 2009 by master

Correction: The public hearing at City Council Chambers is on Monday, October 26th at 5:30pm.

Members of Friends of Seattle Public Library will be petitioning outside the Fremont Library today from 1:00-2:30pm.  The group is trying to raise awareness to the proposed cuts to Seattle’s library system, which already saw a week-long furlough back in August to save money. 

Mayor Greg Nickels announced his proposed 2010 capital budget plan for the city last month.  In an effort to address a projected $72 million revenue shortfall, this includes a 37 percent cut to the Seattle Public Library budget from the 2009 budget.  The new cuts would mean reduced staff, resources and hours year round.  The Fremont Library and 20 other branches would also be closed on Fridays and Sundays. 

Friends of SPL Vice President Jennifer Johnson-Fong writes:

The proposed operations budget will impact all of our communities and neighbors who are relying on our libraries for computer access, job search resources, educational support, gathering spaces, programs and librarian assistance.

There are two upcoming public hearings to address the issue.  One is this Wednesday, October 14, at 5:30pm at the Northwest African American Museum (2300 S. Massachusetts St).  The next is on Monday, October 23, at 5:30pm at City Council Chambers (600 4th Ave).  RSVP to advocacy@friendsofspl.org if you can attend either meeting. 

More information can also be found on Friends of SPL’s blog.

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Reading still rules in Fremont

September 9th, 2009 by master

As students head back to school today, columnist Kirby Lindsay takes a look at the summer reading program at the Fremont Library.

Friends of the Seattle Public Library have created a survey they need library patrons, and non-patrons, to complete. You can fill it out here. One question on the incredibly short survey – this column is longer – asks whether libraries are still relevant.

Considering the response of Fremont Library patrons to the 2009 summer reading challenge, the answer appears to be a resounding, “Yes!”

Rekha Kuver, Librarian for Fremont and Green Lake branches of Seattle Public Library (SPL), couldn’t be sure about actual statistics about participants before she left on furlough August 29. When SPL branch libraries reopen Tuesday, September 8, Kuver intends to take a final tally.

Yet, all summer a board, or a “thermometer” as Kuver described it, stood on the front table at Fremont library. At first stickers were placed carefully in slots provided to mark books read, then they were applied outside the lines. Eventually new stickers covered old stickers to denote squares that counted for double. A tentative number – of books read by adults, teens and children – counted 895. Obviously, reading still rules at Fremont.


(In this photo, Library Associate IV, Jon Takemoto, takes a tally of books read by Fremont Library patrons this past summer on the thermometer.)

“We haven’t really done the thermometer before,” Kuver explained. SPL has organized child and teen reading challenges for decades, but only in recent years have they offered an adult challenge. The first year, a partnership with Starbucks Coffee Company granted participants gift cards for every three books they read. Funding has fallen away, and so did prizes. This year, the entire goal, Kuver pointed out, became collective.

“Whether or not the stats will bear out” that they got a bigger response this year than before, Kuver explained, “it is a different motivation. The thermometer is more visible,” and library patrons became bound together to determine the increase of the number of stickers on the board. Also, “families can do it all together,” Kuver said.

“It is hard to tell whether people are reading more,” Kuver admitted. There can be 20 people who read 50 books each, “and the others who will read their three books and be done,” Kuver described. A collective goal provides different incentives from gift cards. “We don’t serve a specific segment of the population,” Kuver explained, “when you are trying to serve everyone, some want coffee cards, some want IPODs…”

“I think the thermometer did work here,” Kuver acknowledged, “we well surpassed our goal.” For a branch as small, and tied to a neighborhood, as Fremont this is an achievement to celebrate!

For those who participated in the summer reading challenge, and those who didn’t, please consider filling out the survey, and following the Friends of the Seattle Public Library blog at http://friendsofspl.wordpress.com They must hear from those who use the library, to continue to improve and build our library system. They also must hear from those who don’t use the library, to make the system work better.

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Furlough for Fremont Library

August 29th, 2009 by master

Rekha Kuver, librarian for the Fremont and Green Lake Libraries, pleaded to patrons, “please, do not leave bags of books outside.” Every branch of the Seattle Public Library system will be closed for the week of August 31 – September 7, 2009. Anyone who has recently visited Fremont, or any Seattle library, must have seen the posted notices but Kuver knew, “a lot of people aren’t reading the whole sign.” Nothing is due, she explained, and no fines accrue during the week. Materials patrons checked out before August 31 will not come due until after the libraries re-open on September 8.

All library employees will be on furlough for the week leading up to Labor Day. The doors of every branch will be locked shut, and all library services – book drops, web sites, Quick Information phone services, etc – will also be inaccessible. “We have to shut things down like the book drop,” Kuver explained, “if there is no one here to empty the book drop it would fill up in the first 24 hours.”

Cost-Cutting Measure

Seattle Public Library system spokesperson, Andra Addison, described closure of the entire system as a cost-cutting measure. “All city departments were asked to reduce their budgets,” she explained, “Our budget deduction target was about $1 million for 2009. The library closure will allow us to save about $655,000.”

The rest of the savings will come from “other cuts in management and administration,” according to Addison. Computer maintenance has been restructured and rescheduled, the training budget has been trimmed and executive staff took pay cuts.

The complete loss of all library services, such as web site access to catalogue and database information, may seem unnecessary. Addison admitted, “the website is a very busy electronic branch for us,” that does require human involvement, for hold requests and on-line librarian interface. Also, “we wouldn’t be able to respond or fix it, if it went down during the week,” Addison explained.

Stripping down to a skeleton crew – a drastically diminished staff that would tend to only the highest priority items for a week – could cause more problems, Addison maintained. For instance, devising criteria over which staff remained on-duty, and collected pay, and which didn’t, as well as deciding priority for one service over another, could create endless conflict. A furlough for the whole system avoids frustration, Addison suggested, and is “equitable for all staff.”

Little Library That Could

Kuver, who came to Fremont Library in late June, reported the branch currently has great usage numbers. “I’m always astounded at how many new card applications we get every day,” she praised. Both circulation (individual materials checked out, and returned) and door count (each body through the door) numbers are up.

Hopefully a closure won’t change that. “It was good we got word of the furlough as early as we did,” Kuver admitted. They have not had to cancel, or reschedule, any programs or community meetings. Instead, patrons get an extra week to enjoy their books, CDs, DVDs, and books-on-tape at home. “People want to do the right thing,” Kuver acknowledged but, for a week, please don’t return materials and definitely don’t leave them sitting outside.

Kirby Lindsay works, lives and plays in Fremont, and has for longer than anyone wants to remember. Her columns have previously appeared in The Seattle Press, the North Seattle Herald-Outlook and on the Fremont Chamber web site. Contact her at instigator@fremocentrist.com

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Library closed next week

August 24th, 2009 by master

In an effort to save money, the library will close a week from today through Labor Day. The last day to check out Library items before the closure is Sunday, Aug. 30 and operations resume on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. No library materials will be due during this time and no fines will be accrued. The website and online catalog will be down, and there will be no “Quick Information” telephone service. This closure will save the system $655,000, more than half of the nearly $1 million budget reduction this year. The other $350, 000 in cuts will include layoffs, extending the staff computer replacement schedule and reducing the training budget.

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Library closes early for second day

July 30th, 2009 by master

The Fremont library will close early again today because of heat.

They will be closing up at 4 p.m. because the temperature inside is about 90 degrees. Queen Anne, Green Lake, Columbia, West Seattle, University and Northeast branches are also closing early. Here’s a list of libraries with air conditioning. (File photo from JavaColleen.)

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Fremont library closes because of heat

July 29th, 2009 by master

The Fremont library closed this afternoon because of the hot weather. The library closed at 1 p.m. because the internal temperature reached 90 degrees. The Fremont branch is one of four Carnegie buildings, none of which have air conditioning. Green Lake, Queen Anne, Columbia and the Northeast branches also closed because of heat. We haven’t heard if the branches will remain closed through the heat wave or if they’ll be closing daily when the inside mercury hits 90. To find out which branches are still open with a/c click here.

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Urban hikers take tour of libraries

November 21st, 2008 by master

18 members of the Seattle Mountaineers Club are completing an urban hike today between seven branches of the Seattle Public Library, including the Fremont branch. Here they are crossing the Fremont Bridge…

And posing in front of the Waiting for the Interurban…

The hikers are celebrating the end of the city’s campaign to build and remodel branches of the public library. As part of the campaign, you can get “library passports,” which the Mountaineers are getting stamped at each branch.

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Fremont in the news

November 20th, 2008 by master

As reported by the P-I (note: there is a photo that may be disturbing to some readers), the man who fell to his death from the Fremont bridge has been identified, and a police investigation of how the situation was handled is to come. An excellent write-up of the incident is up at PhinneyWood, including information from the SPD Blotter about an off-duty officer who successfully negotiated with a suicidal woman on the bridge just a few days later.
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PhinneyWood also reports that members of the Seattle Mountaineers Club will be stopping in at the Fremont Library tomorrow at 12:15 during an urban hike between seven different library branches. If you get a photo of the hikers getting their passports stamped, be sure to share them in our Flickr pool!
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Last, but not least, Seattlest reports that the Seattle Department of Transportation is seeking an artist for a residency in one of the towers of the Fremont Bridge. While the artist can’t live in the tower, it can be used as studio or inspiration space, and is open to established professional artists living within 100 miles of Seattle. The artist is expected to create a work of art with the $20,000 budget, and present it publicly as the culmination of the residency. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 5, 2009.

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