• Seattle Public Library much-debated name change could cost $500K to roll out

    By: Linzi Sheldon

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - The Seattle Public Library wants to change its name to Seattle Public Libraries, but the $365,000 project is drawing criticism from some library users over the initial price tag and additional costs.


    QUICK FACTS:

    • Part of the $365,000 includes a lot of research
    • The money is from the Seattle Public Library Foundation
    • Some say money would be better spent on books
    • Rolling out the changes in the form of new signs could cost more money, “probably around $500,000”
    • Changes would be phased in over next 3-5 years

    KIRO 7 discovered that rolling out a new change, new brand statement, and a new logo via the rebranding campaign is estimated to cost upwards of half a million dollars.

    Library officials say 11,000 people have already taken a survey and that many are supportive.

    Library user Peter Lyons was taken aback by the price but said he believes the name gives the library “an updated look and feel.”

    “I think it’s a good idea to have it plural, because there’s a network of them,” he said.

    “I don’t think I would ever say libraries. It's not even a good word to say,” patron Julie Montgomery said.

    “That's absolutely appalling,” longtime library user Artis Palmer said. “What a terrible way to spend money.”

    KIRO 7 asked the library’s director of marketing and online services, Stephen Halsey, if he believed it was the best way to spend $365,000.

    “I do,” Halsey said. “A part of this $365,000 includes a lot of research.”

    He said as part of that research, they talked to library users and non-users, many of whom told them the changes would better reflect the library’s services, beyond just books.

    “The current logo, and even our marketing efforts, aren't necessarily drawing in and telling the people that new story of what [the library] is,” Halsey said.

    The money is from the Seattle Public Library Foundation, which is funded by donations from citizens, businesses, and agencies like the United Way.

    It’s aimed at supporting things like new programs, but also things like books and materials, which are a constant need funded by city money as well.

    That idea was echoed by Palmer, who first started going to the library as a young child living in Beacon Hill.

    “It would be better if they spent it on books or whatever they need that are real things,” she said.

    Rolling out the changes in the form of new signs and logos on delivery trucks would cost additional money.

    “It’s probably around $500,000, is where that number starts,” he said.

    Halsey said that could be public money or come from elsewhere, and would be a phased-in project over two to three years. Halsey added that a few signs need to be redone because of damage.

    Replacing library cards with a new logo and name would also cost additional money, although that price tag has not been calculated, he said. Library representative Andra Addison said people could hold on to their older cards and would not be required to replace them.

    On the library's Facebook page, some people have been sounding off, calling the campaign “a ridiculous waste of money,” and asking the library to “leave it as is.”

    “We're all lovers of the library here,” Halsey said. “The last thing we want to do is actually waste money.

    Responses to the survey are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 10. Halsey said he encourages all library users to take the survey and add comments.

    On Oct. 28, the library board will review feedback and could decide on a new name and logo or to keep the current name and logo.

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