'People's Library' fills gap during Seattle closure


SEATTLE — The closure of Seattle Public Libraries this week didn’t prevent people from checking out books and using computers at one location in Seattle’s library system.

“The People’s Library” was set up by neighbors and some members of the Occupy movement as a response to the week-long closure of Seattle libraries due to city-wide budget cuts. The closure forced employees to take a week-long furlough and shuttered the 27 neighborhood libraries, as well as the iconic downtown location.

Made of milk crates, wine boxes, laptop computers and more than 1,000 donated books, the makeshift community library offered service to the Central District neighborhood in front of the Douglass-Truth branch.

A wireless hotspot was set up for computer users. On Tuesday evening, people gathered on the steps of the building for story time, reading from classics such as “Where the Wild Things Are” to gathered neighborhood kids.

During the day, dozens of people stopped by the Douglass-Truth branch, expecting it to be open. Instead, upon seeing the large closed signs taped over the drop box and door, most used services offered by the instant library that popped up in place of the long-time neighborhood location.

University of Washington grad student Yates Coley, who lives about 10 blocks away, was talking with friends about creating a library in place of the soon-to-be-closed location. She started planning The People’s Library about a week before the closure started.

“People contributing different aspects make this more rewarding,” she said after a long day greeting patrons and organizing donated books.

“It was great to see people come back that were here yesterday,” she said.


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