Thursday, August 30, 2012

OWS' People's Library Serves Seattle Amid Closures

Now through September 2, the entire Seattle Public Library system is closed due to budget cuts. What are students, parents, those without home Internet access, and others in the community supposed to do? Thankfully, Occupy Wall Street activists have stepped up to fill the void during this furlough period. They've opened the People's Library on the steps of the Douglass-Truth branch at 23rd and Yesler, and people of all ages and backgrounds are flocking to it.

Organized in 10 days' time, thanks to word-of-mouth and social networking, the Seattle People's Library consists of donated books shelved in neatly stacked milk crates and wooden boxes, borrowed laptops with WiFi connections arranged on folding tables, a space set aside for recycling, and an area for the preparation and serving of food. The People's Library even has a daily schedule of events, which include storytime and crafts for children, live musical performances, and meals (snacktime, lunch, and dinner). Anyone can drop by to make use of the library, and anyone can stop by to volunteer or donate books and other supplies.

A girl browses the People's Library of Seattle, organized by Occupy Wall Street activists.
Image from
"I just think it's wonderful," said Laura Sindell, who donated some of her books to the makeshift library. "I want to support them any way I can." An organizer of the People's Library, Charles Conatzer, had this to say: "Literacy is important, and when you have austerity measures that threaten the ability for people to come together and use computers and to get books, it's really not good for the community." Indeed the closure of Seattle's public libraries through Labor Day displeased many patrons. "It's a little bit annoying," said Kristen Fitzpatrick. "My son had picked out some books and they are on hold, so I have to wait another week and I've got a pile of them I'm returning."

But Fitzpatrick looked around at the People's Library and said, "It's great. It's awesome. I didn't know they were going to do that."

The Seattle People's Library is open daily, from 10 AM to 8 PM. If you wish to donate money or food, or if you want to volunteer, you can reach organizers of the People's Library at You can check out the library's Facebook page HERE.

The quotes in this blog post were taken from the Central District News article "The People's Library Creates Community Library Outside the Closed Douglass-Truth Branch" and the article "People's Library Fills in or Seattle Public Libraries During Closure."

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