On Your Bookmark: Summer Book Bingo Starts Today

Twitter image -- cartoon character holding a Book Bingo cardGrab a stack of books, a friend and start reading — Seattle’s favorite summer reading contest is on! The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures just launched this year’s Summer Book Bingo, which encourages people to read for pleasure and to talk about books with friends, coworkers and neighbors.

Need a refresher? Book Bingo encourages you to read (or listen to) books from a wide variety of categories and to keep track of what you’ve read on your Book Bingo card. Read five books to complete a row on your card for bingo or read 25 books to complete all the squares for blackout.

Book Bingo 2023, card designed by Monyee ChauGet started by downloading your Book Bingo card, designed by artist Monyee Chau, at www.spl.org/BookBingo or www.lectures.org/book-bingo; This year, we are excited to share that we also have a “Loteria de Lectura” card in Spanish. Based on the classic Mexican game Loteria, this card was designed by artist Esmeralda Vasquez. You can download the card and find books lists at www.spl.org/Loteria. (Find out more about the artists on this page.)

Loteria de Lectura card, designed by Esmerelda Vasquez

Book Bingo and Lotería cards are also available at any Library location.

Each square on the Book Bingo card presents a reading challenge in a certain category, including “Chosen by the Cover,” “BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ Horror,” and “Joyful.” New categories this year include “Hip Hop” (to honor the 50th anniversary of the music genre), “Includes a Recipe,” “Workers’ Rights” and “Read with a Friend.”

Remember: Any type of reading counts, including audiobooks and young adult books.

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Taking a Stand for the Right to Read with Books Unbanned

If you’ve followed the news about the unprecedented increase in book bans and challenges nationwide, you’ll be happy to know that The Seattle Public Library is doing something about it.

Books Unbanned
Sign up for a Books Unbanned card at www.spl.org/BooksUnbanned

On April 29, we announced that we are joining Brooklyn Public Library to offer a free Books Unbanned e-card for teens and young adults (ages 13 to 26) across the nation who live outside of our service area. With a Books Unbanned card, young people can access our entire collection of more than 700,000 e-books and audiobooks, with some parameters (maximum of 10 checkouts and five holds).

You can sign up and get access within 1-2 days on The Seattle Public Library’s website at www.spl.org/BooksUnbanned.

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Walking, Rolling, and Driving in the Accessible Outdoors

The days are longer, the sun is (somewhat) back, and the weather is taking a turn for the more comfortable. That means it is time to get outside and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer, be it your neighborhood park, the shores of Lake Washington, or the not-so-distant mountains.

If you are anything like me though, getting outside and moving can be a challenge. I’m not much for long hikes on steep, muddy trails. I can’t keep up with my more active friends. Being disabled can be a huge barrier to feeling I belong in the outdoors. Lucky for us disabled folks, Syren Nagakyrie, founder and director of the nonprofit Disabled Hikers, is working to change the way we think about who belongs outside, and how we connect with nature.

Disabled Hikers is many things: a web portal for resources, an advocacy group, and a community of disabled people who love getting outside. I interviewed Syren about their organization recently, and one of my favorite things was talking about what makes a hike…well, a hike! Syren’s answer was validating: a hike is anything you want it to be, so long as you are outside taking in the nature around you. Even walking to a park bench and sitting to observe the natural world can be a hike.

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Short Stories Now Dispensed at the Fremont Branch

The Short Edition short story dispenser at The Seattle Public Library’s Fremont Branch

The 102-year-old Fremont Branch has a new attraction: The Short Edition story dispenser.

In between browsing the collection, using a computer or other services, you can now print out a 1-minute, 3-minute or 5-minute story to enjoy on the spot (more on the five-minute option later). 

The story dispenser was moved last week from its post at The Station coffee shop in Beacon Hill to the Fremont Branch, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been named a landmark building by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board. (It’s also located just blocks from the Fremont Troll and other neighborhood attractions.) 

It’s expected to stay there through the month of May, and will be a fun addition to the branch’s collections, programs and events, which include a monthly in-person program for local writers, “Write with Hugo House.” A weekly family story time starts up again in May at the branch. 

Unfamiliar with how a story dispenser works? Simply visit the slim, kiosk-like machine and choose a story length option with a wave of your hand (dispensers are contactless). Stories are printed on a receipt-like piece of paper to take on the go. Since the installation of story dispensers, readers have ordered more than 14,000 short stories.

The Library has two dispensers. The other is located on level 3 at the Central Library (1000 Fourth Ave.), near the information booth.

The Short Story Dispenser at Central Library, Level 3
The Short Story Dispenser at Central Library, Level 3

Both of The Seattle Public Library’s story dispensers recently got an exciting update: They now feature a new collection of stories written exclusively by local authors. When you’re at the dispenser, simply select the “Local Writers” button, which is the five-minute option.  

Short Edition, the French publishing company that produces story dispenser devices, has curated the collection, which features stories from authors such as Kristen Millares Young, a finalist for the 2021 Washington State Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and a writing workshop instructor for classes at the Library; as well as Katie Kurtz and Angie McCullagh, participants of the Library’s 2023 Writers’ Room Residency, which provides a secure and shared writing space on Level 9 of the Central Library. Continue reading “Short Stories Now Dispensed at the Fremont Branch”

Theater, Music and Film: February 2023 Events at The Seattle Public Library

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We’ve got some amazing author programs and community events planned for February, from Lambda Award-winning novelist Annalee Newitz to Bonnie Garmus, author of the bestselling novel “Lessons in Chemistry”. The Fifth Avenue Theatre is also back with a Sondheim show talk and the South Park Branch is hosting a movie screening with former Washington State poet Claudia Castro Luna.

Many events require registration, but all Library events are free and open to the public. Find information and registration through the event links below or at spl.org/Calendar.


Show Talks With the 5th Avenue Theatre – The Genius of Sondheim: From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. Central Library, Level 1 – Microsoft Auditorium. In this special musical tribute to one of “the most revered and influential composer-lyricists” in Broadway history, artistic director Emeritus of the Fifth Avenue Theatre David Armstrong will share fascinating insights into Sondheim’s life, times, and career. This event will also include musical performances by guest artists.

Continue reading “Theater, Music and Film: February 2023 Events at The Seattle Public Library”