Budget issues forcing rolling closures at Seattle Public Libraries

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Libraries are facing a new chapter this weekend. Staffing shortages and city-wide budget issues mean that several branches are experiencing temporary closures and reduced hours.

“It’s important for the community. There’s a lot of resources in there that not everybody has access to,” says reader, Kristy.

But until June, that access will be limited at 22 of the city’s 27 public libraries.

Branches are reducing their hours to address staffing issues city-wide.

The library website highlights a hiring freeze as city leaders work to tackle a budget shortfall.

Last month, librarians voiced their frustration during a city council meeting.

“When libraries close, it means the whole community loses a place to turn for learning, and joy, and safety, and connection with each other,” says Jacob, a local librarian.

Perhaps the harshest words came from Councilmember Tammy Morales. She calls these closures’ a wakeup call for the city’.

In a statement to KIRO 7, she writes:

“Without urgent action, things will get so much worse than this. The city of Seattle is facing a more than $240 million budget deficit. There’s no way to cut that much from the budget without decimating essential services like our libraries, work on homelessness, and public safety programs for years to come.”

For a full list of the rolling closures and hour reductions, visit The Seattle Public Library to implement scheduled branch closures through June 4 – Shelf Talk (wordpress.com)

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