Making a Library Purchase Suggestion

“They have every other book in this 57 volume manga series, how can they not have volume two?!?!”

Sometimes the library doesn’t have what you’re looking for. This can be a frustrating or confusing situation. The library is supposed to have everything, right? Sometimes it’s one part of a book series, or one movie of a particular director you’re binging. What can you do? Go to another library system if you have another card? Interlibrary Loan? Buy the thing? Go into a library branch and complain to the librarian? Yes, these are all things that one might do. But there is another option that should be considered: making a materials purchase suggestion.

The Seattle Public Library welcomes patron purchase suggestions for the collection, for books, e-books, music scores, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and downloadable audiobooks. I consider making purchase suggestions as a part of participating in building a true community library collection. This can be a great way to fill in the aforementioned book series gap, but even more importantly, it’s a great way to help make The Seattle Public Library more relevant, local, and diverse.

While your item may be in line with the “Selection and Withdrawal of Materials” policy, The Seattle Public Library isn’t going to purchase something that’s out of print or used, so make sure it’s something that can still be purchased by checking on an online bookstore. Similarly, items more than three months in advance of publication won’t be considered.

Once you fill out the online purchase suggestion form, it takes a few weeks before the decision to purchase is made. In the meantime, make sure you have less than 50 item holds for physical items, or 25 holds for digital items, since the item will be placed on hold for you if it is added to the collection, but not if you are already at the holds limit on your account.

Thank you for your suggestions!

~posted by Mychal L.


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Washington State Book Awards finalists for 2017!

Take a look at this lineup of stellar authors from Washington state! These 32 books, published in 2016, are finalists in the 2017 Washington State Book Awards. Find the full list later in this blog post, or if you’re itching to place holds right away, check out the WSBA 2017 finalists in adult categories and finalists in the four books for youth categories in our catalog.

Winners will be announced at the awards celebration on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Central Library downtown. Lots of awards ceremonies are pricey affairs, but ours is free and open to everyone. There’s even a post-awards reception (also free and open to all!), book sales, and book signing.

And here is the list of finalists, otherwise known as books you want to read and authors you want to know:


  • The Solace of Monsters by Laurie Blauner, of Seattle (Leapfrog Press)
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, of Bellevue (Vintage Books)
  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx, of Jefferson County (Scribner)
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, of Seattle (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Daredevils by Shawn Vestal, of Spokane (Penguin Press)


  • Hardly War by Don Mee Choi, of Seattle (Wave Books)
  • My, My, My, My, My by Tara Hardy, of Seattle (Write Bloody Publishing)
  • Imaginary Vessels by Paisley Rekdal, who was born in Washington state and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Blood Song by Michael Schmeltzer, of Seattle (Two Sylvias Press)
  • Wintering by Megan Snyder-Camp, of Seattle (Tupelo Press)


  • Inside: One Woman’s Journey through the Inside Passage by Susan Marie Conrad, of Arlington (Epicenter Press)
  • An Earlier Life by Brenda Miller, of Bellingham (Judith Kitchen’s Ovenbird Books)
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West, of Seattle (Hachette Books)
  • My Old Man and the Mountain by Leif Whittaker, of Bellingham (Mountaineers Books)


  •  The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan, of Seattle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson, of Seattle (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders, of Seattle (Viking / Penguin Random House)
  • Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild by Adrienne Ross Scanlan, of Seattle (Mountaineers Books)
  • Seawomen of Iceland by Margaret Willson, of Seattle (University of Washington Press)


  • Thunder Boy Jr. written by Sherman Alexie, of Seattle, and illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown Books for Children)
  • A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle  written by Mark Holtzen, of Seattle, and illustrated by John Skewes, of Seattle (Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books)
  • Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko written by David Jacobson, of Seattle with translation by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi, and  illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri (Chin Music Press)
  • Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West illustrated by Robin James, of Snohomish, and written by Emma Bland Smith (Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books)                              


  • Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton of Tacoma (Tundra Books)
  • Zach and Lucy and the Museum of Natural Wonders written by the Pifferson Sisters,  Jennifer Bradbury, of Burlington, and Stephanie Guerra, of Seattle (Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
  • Quackers by Liz Wong, of Edmonds (Alfred A. Knopf)


  • Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier, of Renton (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic)
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart, of Cashmere (Scholastic Press)
  • Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson, of Kenmore (Scholastic Press)


  • Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand, of Seattle (Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams)
  • Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti, of Seattle (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
  • Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo, of Mercer Island (Random House)

Our panel of judges read 192 submissions in eight categories for this year’s awards. As an administrator for the book awards, I had the honor of sitting in on their judging sessions and I was struck by the thoughtful, in-depth discussions they had. It’s a big commitment to be a judge on an awards panel, and we’re extremely grateful to our judges for the adult categories (Linda Andrews, English Instructor, Walla Walla Community College; Lisa Bitney, Branch Manager, Tacoma Public Library; Pam Cady, Manager, University Book Store; and Lisa Gresham, Collection Support Manager, Whatcom County Library System) and our judges in the youth categories (Sheri Boggs, Youth Collection Development Librarian, Spokane County Library District; Tom Brown, Librarian, Seattle Public Schools; Raina Sedore, Youth Services Librarian, Timberland Library System).

Come downtown to the celebration on October 14!

The Washington State Book Awards is a program of the Washington Center for the Book, which is now a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and Washington State Library. The awards are funded by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

~ Linda J.


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Library Reads: 10 top picks for September 2017

Extra celebrating this month with the Library Reads Top Ten list — because two local authors are shining bright on this selection of books that librarians across the U.S. are loving! Our beloved Nancy Pearl, former librarian at The Seattle Public Library, has a debut novel you must place on hold now! And Jamie Ford, who you may know best for The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, has deep Seattle roots (although he lives in Montana now) and we still claim him as one of ours, has a new novel set in Seattle in 1909.

And here they are, new books for September 2017 that librarians are raving about!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Little Fires Everywhere delves into family relationships and what parenthood, either biological or by adoption, means. We follow the members of two families living in the idyllic, perfectly-planned suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio: Mia and Pearl, a mother and daughter living a less traditional lifestyle, moving from town to town every few months, and the Richardsons, the perfect nuclear family in the perfect suburb…until Izzy Richardson burns her family home down. Ng’s superpower is her ability to pull you into her books from the very first sentence! ~ Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO Continue reading

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#BookBingoNW2017: Reread a Book You Read in School

Although we are hard pressed to think of a single drawback to Book Bingo, it is true that for some readers it calls forth unwelcome memories of required reading. Yet the popularity of bingo and similar reading challenges and groups suggests that something appeals to us about being stretched beyond our habitual reading appetites. Might those same restrictions we chafed at in school suddenly feel like a welcome dose of structure, now that we can read whatever we please?

Rereading can be an interesting way of deepening our awareness both of a text, and of our former selves. This is especially true when we willingly and with curiosity take up some book that we have previously experienced as obligatory drudgery. Freed from the need to take notes, uncover themes or prep for a quiz, we can encounter afresh some of the best and most engaging books ever written, reclaiming them for our own.

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#BookBingoNW2017: Finish in a day

As much as I enjoy being immersed in a great book for days on end, there is something particularly satisfying about finishing a book quickly. This year’s Summer Book Bingo again features the category “Finish in a Day.” For the sake of consistency, I have chosen to limit this list to books that average about 200 pages in length. There is a wide variety here, from memoirs to classics, which can help make quick work of some of the other Book Bingo squares as well. After all, you’ll have this particular square done in a day! Continue reading

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Hoopla for Comics

Hoopla is an online streaming service available to Seattle Public Library patrons, offering 20 checkouts of movies, TV shows, music, and comics each calendar month, accessible on both web browsers and mobile devices. On mobile devices, the app, which is available for free through the Apple App store, Google Play, and Amazon, allows users to download and enjoy content offline, and can be streamed through Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick onto a television screen. Use your library card to create an account and you’re ready to go.

The Hoopla comics collection became available for Seattle Public Library patrons in November 2016, and includes popular titles from DC, Image, Dark Horse, Vertigo, Archie, and Boom! Studios. In addition to a search function, the comics home page includes “featured” and “popular” comics tabs, as well as a “categories” tab that allows browsing via comics specific groupings. Moreover, if you already know what you like, there are pages listing the works of particular creators or series groupings (which is helpful with comics in particular, since figuring out reading order can be a challenge). Finally, at the bottom of each item’s page, there are “similar artists” and “people who borrowed” suggestions for further reading.

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 Languages of Land: Poems of Immigration and Exile

Unaccompanied, you ventured into The Flayed City to find what? More Nomadologies, more Notes on the Assemblage and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.

Before the Afterland, there was that City of Rivers flowing beneath a Night Sky with Exit Wounds.  It was The Other Side of Paradise and, yes, the air tasted of SaltJanuary Children discover that Beasts Behave in Foreign Land[s], especially during the Hour of the Ox.

From Unincorporatied Territory, she arrived to new air brushing against blunt teeth, A Woman Without a Country, at last, arrived. She had Whorled around the world amid weather patterns, patterns of speech, inflections, stutters and lisps Looking for the Gulf Motel. On the tip of her tongue Dhaka Dust and determination. Continue reading

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