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


Annalee Newitz With Misha Stone — “The Terraformers”: From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m, Friday, Feb. 3, at Third Place Books, Ravenna. Science journalist, podcaster and Lambda Award-winning novelist Annalee Newitz will discuss their highly anticipated sci-fi epic, “The Terraformers,” a science fiction epic for our times — and a love letter to our future. Newitz will be in conversation with Misha Stone, Reader Services librarian and Vice-Chair of the Clarion West Writers Workshop board.

Ladies Musical Club Concert: From noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Central Library. The Ladies Musical Club concert this month features solo piano works and songs for soprano, including performances by Tiina Ritalahti (soprano), Joan Lundquist (piano) and Joyce Gibb (piano).

Virtual It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series: From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9. Online. Join us for this virtual event hosted by the Ballard Branch, featuring Amanda Hartzell, Sylvia Pollack, and Jared Leising. New and experienced writers are always welcome to read for a three-minute open mic.

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.

Virtual Writers Read: From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12. Online. Presented in partnership with the African-American Writers’ Alliance, this monthly reading series features an open mic and selected author readings from local writers who read from their diverse repertoires of poetry, short stories, novels and essays.

Write with Hugo House: Seattle Writes: From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Fremont Branch and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Douglass-Truth Branch. Attend this free multi-genre drop-in writing circle facilitated by an established local writer from Hugo House!

“Pelo Malo” with Claudia Castro Luna and Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra: From 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 at the South Park Branch. Join us for a Spanish-language screening and discussion of the filmPelo Malo,” facilitated by guest curator and former Washington State poet Claudia Castro Luna and Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra of Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle. This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation. Ven a ver la proyección y discusión de la película en español “Pelo Malo”, facilitada por la curadora invitada Claudia Castro Luna y Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra del Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle.

Bonnie Garmus presents “Lessons in Chemistry”: From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23. Central Library, Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium. Bonnie Garmus will discuss her national bestselling debut novel “Lessons in Chemistry,” which tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, “a formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (Parade Magazine) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show. The event will include a public signing and audience Q&A.

Lily Yu discusses “On Fragile Waves”: From 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, February 25 at the Central Library. Join us for a reading and conversation with E. Lily Yu, winner of the 2022 Washington State Book Award for Fiction. “Devastating and perfect” is how the New York Times Book Review described “On Fragile Waves,”the haunting story of a family of dreamers and tale-tellers looking for home in an unwelcoming world. Yu will be in conversation with Jenna Zarzycki, a librarian with the King County Library System and a Washington State Book Award judge.


Mask use is strongly encouraged and additional safety precautions are in place: Library staff are fully vaccinated, the Library offers free masks and hand sanitizer to patrons at sanitation stations, and all Library locations have high-quality ventilation and air filtration.

The Library offers a range of other free events and workshops in February, including services such as Tax Help (back this year at eight locations) and phone and service enrollment; and business workshops and consults. See all events at

Behind the Scenes at Black-Owned Business Excellence: Entrepreneur Tierra Bonds

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Fourth Annual Black-Owned Business Excellence Symposium will be held at the University of Washington Tacoma and online. The Seattle Public Library is a co-sponsor of the symposium.

Now a nonprofit, BOBE started as a collaboration of organizations and individuals to support, educate, inspire and elevate businesses that are owned by underserved business owners in Washington State.

As a Library community partner, BOBE members offer their business and finance expertise to the broader community through Library programs and elsewhere.

Tierra Bonds, owner of Take Charge Credit Consulting, at The Seattle Public Library.
Tierra Bonds, owner of Take Charge Credit Consulting, at The Seattle Public Library. Watch her Instagram video about Black-Owned Business Excellence.

In honor of the symposium, we’d like to take you behind the scenes to meet one of BOBE’s leaders. Tierra Bonds, owner of Take Charge Credit Consulting and BOBE board member, has a passion for service, entrepreneurship and providing education that aligns with BOBE’s mission.

“BOBE’s purpose is very similar to the mission of my company, which is to provide necessary resources, support and education to underserved Black business owners and individuals in an effort to reduce the racial wealth gap,” says Tierra. “BOBE meets this mission with a focus on entrepreneurship and Take Charge does so with a focus on credit.”

In this Q&A, Tierra shares her connection to BOBE, the story behind her credit business and how she’s partnering with the Library to Business program to provide credit repair and education to the people who need it most.

You’ve been very involved with Black-Owned Business Excellence as a board member and member of the planning team. How did you get involved with BOBE and how does its mission connect to your business?

I attended BOBE’s Second Annual Symposium and was taken away with the support that was available for not only small businesses, but specifically Black-owned businesses. As a business owner, I had never felt that level of support elsewhere. I started attending BOBE meetings, thanks to an invite from The Seattle Public Library’s Jay Lyman [who manages the Library to Business program]. Shortly after, I was asked to become a board member.

BOBE’s purpose is very similar to mine, which is to provide necessary resources, support and education to underserved Black business owners. BOBE meets this mission with a focus on entrepreneurship and Take Charge does so with a focus on credit.

What are you most looking forward to in the annual BOBE symposium?

I am really looking forward to the educational workshops because I always learn valuable information that I can immediately implement into my business. This year, we added a focus on nonprofits based on feedback from the community and have three nonprofit management workshops, which I am looking forward to because starting a foundation is an idea of mine as a means to further provide credit repair to the underserved while eliminating the money barrier.  

How did you start Take Charge Credit Consulting and why the focus on credit?

I started Take Charge Credit Consulting in 2017. Prior to that, I was working at the Department of Corrections and. I loved the work that I did but it felt limited in how much I could help people in the community. Because of the limitations with freedom, income, and ability to make a difference in the world, I became interested in starting a business and began researching different options. Credit consulting stood out as a feasible and much-needed service because I noticed that many of the existing credit companies came off as unethical and untrustworthy. It became my mission to be the credit resource for my community since credit wasn’t something that we were taught in school.

Black-Owned Business Excellence workshop
Black-Owned Business Excellence workshop

How has Take Charge evolved during that time?

Initially I started the business to help people in my network understand the credit process and repair their credit. I now have clients all over the U.S., although the majority are in Seattle and Tacoma. Recently, I began learning and understanding about systematic racism and racial disparities and how much of a role that credit plays in the racial wealth gap. To build wealth two common ways are entrepreneurship and home ownership. In both of those scenarios, credit is often necessary. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by lower credit scores compared to other racial demographics and, as a result, have less access to the credit they need to achieve entrepreneurship and homeownership.

And when they do have access, they are paying much more.  For a recent article I wrote for the South Seattle Emerald, I had reached out to industry experts to get a real-life example of how this credit gap plays a role when building wealth.

A Seattle mortgage lender ran two pricing scenarios for 30-year mortgages for a $625,000 home in south Seattle (the median home cost for the zip code at that time). A person with a credit score of 677 (the average credit score for Blacks) could secure a loan with an interest rate of 4.125% and a monthly payment of $2,877.61. A buyer with a credit score of 734 (the average credit score for whites) could get a loan with an interest rate of 3.5% and a monthly payment of $2,666.20. Calculating over the life of the loan, the Black family would pay an extra pay an additional $2,536.92 a year in interest or $76,107.60 over the life of the loan.

If that $2,536.92 a year is invested in an investment account over that same 30 years at a modest 1.5% interest rate, it turns into $110,000, further widening the racial wealth gap.

I now have a deeper mission for Take Charge Consulting. Credit is a tool that we can use to reduce the racial wealth gap and by providing credit repair and credit education to underserved communities we are making progress. In order to address the racial wealth gap, we have to address the racial credit gap.

You’ve used The Seattle Public Library’s business services. Can you tell us more about that?

I originally became connected with The Seattle Public Library’s Library to Business program after learning about the services from a colleague. I was in the process of expanding our collaborations with a focus on partnering with organizations to provide credit education and credit repair to underserved communities. I was able to use the Library’s market research services through one-on-one consults to identify which organizations would create beneficial partnerships. I was also able to benefit from the Library’s free one-on-one legal consults with UW Entrepreneurial Law Clinic to provide direction in new areas of my business.

You have partnered with the Library to teach credit workshops and offer one-on-one credit consults. You’ve also said that your own experiences with credit have made you more relatable to people you’ve worked with through the Library and clients.

I wish that I didn’t have experiences with bad credit because bad credit is expensive and I could be further in life without those challenges.

However, those experiences allowed me to really understand where my clients are and provide viable solutions for them. Being able to relate to my clients allows them to  open up to me more, which is helpful so that we can get down to the root cause. 

Why is credit so tough to talk about?

The stigma that comes with bad credit is something that I would like to change. There are so many different reasons for poor credit, like medical debt, a loss of a job, reduced income, lack of knowledge, and an event like 2020. It’s not fair for us to judge ourselves or others for bad credit. Instead we should be sharing resources and making a decision to take charge and do what we can to fix it.  Our work can be that light at the end, guiding people out of their situation and helping release any shame, guilt or embarrassment around it.

More information:

Fourth Annual Black-Owned Business Excellence Symposium

The fourth annual Black-Owned Business Excellence (BOBE) Symposium will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Washington Tacoma’s William W. Philip Hall (1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) as well as online. Register on EventBrite; the virtual symposium is free of charge, while the in-person event has a fee of $15. Email for scholarship details. Find information and registration links at

If you’re interested in Library business programs, check out the Library’s business calendar. Tierra is hoping to add new credit workshops and consults later in 2023.

You can connect with Tierra through Take Charge Credit Consulting, and with Black-Owned Business Excellence at

The Central Library Expands Hours, and 20-Plus Things to Do There

The Central Library at dusk
The Central Library at dusk

Tourists stop by all the time, but when was the last time you visited The Seattle Public Library’s internationally acclaimed downtown location?

If it’s been a while, we have good news: Starting Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Central Library will be open two nights a week until 8 p.m. (with the exception of the Faye G. Allen Children’s Center on Level 1, which will continue to close at 6 p.m. each evening). The Central Library’s nonfiction book spiral, located on Levels 6 through 9, also recently expanded its hours. It’s now open seven days a week, during all Central Library open hours.

If you need a refresher on what to explore at the Central Library, you can follow one of our self-guided tours, including this kids’ tour for families, chock full of fun facts. And below are floor-by-floor highlights.

Map from the kids tour of the Central Library
Map from the kids’ tour of the Central Library

Level 1, Fourth Avenue entrance

After you enter from Fourth Avenue, you can learn about the Rem Koolhaas-designed building at the displays in the lobby, then peruse the Peak Picks display (near the circulation desk) for the hottest new titles. Make sure to admire Ann Hamilton’s floor artwork of raised text in 11 languages.

Look down at the Peak Picks display to see the Ann Hamilton floor art
Look down at the Peak Picks display to see the Ann Hamilton floor art

Bring the children in your life to the spacious Faye G. Allen’s Children’s Center and cozy up with a book under the twinkling lights. Kids can browse books, play on filtered computers, and look for colorful artwork such as Mandy Greer’s Babe the Blue Ox. Or check out a Read-Aloud book, which comes with a built-in MP3 player.

Continue reading “The Central Library Expands Hours, and 20-Plus Things to Do There”

Seismic Retrofit, Air Conditioning And More Coming To The Library’s Green Lake Branch

The Seattle Public Library’s historically landmarked Green Lake Branch (7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N.) will temporarily close from Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, through early 2024 to undergo major renovations.

This project, funded by the 2019 Library Levy, will include the seismic retrofit of the branch, installation of an electric HVAC system (including air conditioning) and a number of interior and accessibility improvements. The branch book return and parking lot will also be closed for the duration of the project.

Chat About the Project with Chief Librarian Tom Fay

All are invited to join Chief Librarian Tom Fay during his visit the Green Lake Branch on Monday, January 30, from 1 – 2 p.m. Fay will chat with patrons and answer any questions they may have about this project or the Library more generally. Light refreshments will be served.

Service Impacts to Green Lake Branch Patrons

Patrons of the Green Lake Branch may continue selecting the branch as their holds and pickup location until Friday, Jan. 13, when it will be removed from the online catalog as a selection option. Any materials held for patrons at the Green Lake Branch that have not been picked up by Monday, Jan. 23, will be transferred to the holds area of the nearby Greenwood Branch.

Patrons may change their default holds and pickup location any time through their MySPL account online or at any Library information desk. Nearby Library locations include:

Continue reading “Seismic Retrofit, Air Conditioning And More Coming To The Library’s Green Lake Branch”

What Seattle Read in 2022: Teen Edition

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What are the teenagers checking out these days? We were curious, so as a follow-up to our post on The Seattle Public Library’s most popular books for adults in 2022, we’ve compiled the top-circulated 10 fiction and nonfiction books for teen audiences. It’s a diverse, fascinating list, ranging from award-winning graphic novels to an Ojibwe coming-of-age story to a youth edition of Trevor Noah’s memoir. Maybe you’ll find a new book for your young adult reader — or for yourself.

Top teen fiction: Print books

  1. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline BoulleyMaus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman
  2. Firekeeper’s Daughter, by Angeline Boulley
  3. Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo
  4. We Hereby Refuse: Japanese-American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration, by Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, with art by Ross Ishikawa, Matt Sasaki
  5. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins
  6. The Girl from the Sea, by Molly Knox Ostertag
  7. Maus, I, A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History, by Art Spiegelman
  8. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas
  9. Heartstopper, Volume 1, by Alice Oseman
  10. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

Top teen fiction: E-books

  1. Shadow and Bone: The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1, by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone: The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1, by Leigh Bardugo
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah M. Maas
  3. Siege and Storm: The Grisha Trilogy, Book 2, by Leigh Bardugo
  4. A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger
  5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  6. Ruin and Rising: The Grisha Trilogy, Book 3, by Leigh Bardugo
  7. The Summer I Turned Pretty, Book 1, by Jenny Han
  8. Firekeeper’s Daughter, by Angeline Boulley
  9. Heartstopper, Volume 1, by Alice Oseman
  10. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

Continue reading “What Seattle Read in 2022: Teen Edition”