Ad hoc 'People's Library' picks up slack until libraries reopen

Aug 27, 2012

Seattle public libraries are closed this week, in an effort to cope with budget cuts. That inspired some locals to take matters into their own hands, establishing a temporary, outdoor “People’s Library.”

This is the fourth year Seattle libraries have taken a furlough week to save money, stranding would-be readers, internet users and stir-crazy parents. Among the exasperated were University of Washington graduate student Yates Coley and her friends.

“We thought that was pretty unnecessary in a city that purports to value education, Why are we going to close the libraries for a week?” Coley said.

Over drinks, they decided on a simple solution.

“Why don’t we open our own library?”

So Coley helped to organize the People’s Library, and asked for book donations. 

“We have an overwhelming amount of books. In fact the last two days for me [have] mostly been occupied trying to figure out, how are we going to store all our books,” she said.

They’ll set up their ad-hoc library outdoors in the Central District Monday, outside the Douglas-Truth Library, and stick around all week. Look for the bookshelves, milk crates, tables and folding chairs. Patrons can check out books, and keep them if they feel like it. The library will provide public computers and a wi-fi hotspot, stock kids’ books and conduct children’s activities.

This will likely be the last year of library furloughs, at least for a while: voters approved a special library levy earlier this month designed to roll back the budget cuts.