Watch ‘The Legacy of the Soul Pole,’ Converge Media’s New Film

The Soul Pole has stood tall outside The Seattle Public Library’s Douglass-Truth Branch for almost 50 years. Now, the 21-foot tall artwork – which the Black Heritage Society of Washington State has called a “beacon of Black pride” in the Central District – is starring in a short documentary produced by Seattle’s Converge Media.

In the 10-minute film titled “The Legacy of the Soul Pole,” Converge Media, a leading producer of culturally relevant content in Seattle and across the Pacific Northwest, follows the Soul Pole over a one-year period starting in April 2021. At that time, the artwork was deinstalled from its historic spot at 23rd and East Yesler Way in Seattle’s Central District, because of concerns over deterioration. It was reinstalled in April 2022 after successfully undergoing conservation work.

The film will be promoted today, June 14, on the Converge programs “The Day With Trae” at 11 a.m. and “Truth With Proof” at 11 p.m.

“For us at Converge Media, documenting the story of the Soul Pole was a labor of love,” said Omari Salisbury, founder of Converge Media, in the press release. “Converge Media was born in the Central District of Seattle and many of us on staff including myself grew up going to Douglass-Truth as children and we remember how mighty the Soul Pole was and the story it represents: To be front and center through this amazing process to yes, restore the Pole, but more than that, to reaffirm that the Central District is still the cultural and historical epicenter for Black culture in the City of Seattle and beyond. We want people to know that this film was not commissioned by The Seattle Public Library or any other funding source. We were able to tell this very important Black history story with assistance from the generous supporters of Converge Media, who believe in the value of community storytelling and uplifting of the Black experience in Seattle and to them I say thank you and we offer you the ‘Legacy of the Soul Pole.’”

“We are grateful to Converge for creating an extraordinary film that sheds light on the Soul Pole’s past, present and future, and to the Black Heritage Society for their support in the research and preservation of these stories,” said Tom Fay, Chief Librarian of The Seattle Public Library. “Everyone who has an interest in the untold stories of Seattle should watch this film, and then go visit the Soul Pole at the Douglass-Truth Branch, where it stands tall once again.”

“The Soul Pole represents the tenacity and significance of the African-American footprint in the Central District. This is a beacon on this corner and I’m so proud to see it back,” said Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, president of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, at the artwork’s reinstallation on April 5, 2022, a moving moment that is included in the film. “I’m kind of fighting back the tears.”

Continue reading “Watch ‘The Legacy of the Soul Pole,’ Converge Media’s New Film”

Seismic Retrofit, Air-Conditioning And More Coming To The Green Lake Branch

In 2019, Seattle voters overwhelming passed The Seattle Public Library’s 2019 Library Levy, which helps us fund major maintenance work on our libraries to make them safer, more accessible, and better able to meet the evolving needs of the community. Among the major maintenance projects funded by the levy are seismic retrofits to our Green Lake, University and Columbia branches; three of our historic Carnegie libraries.

We are excited to share that we are preparing to begin the seismic retrofit of our Green Lake Branch, a historically landmarked building that opened in 1910. The LEED-certified project will also include accessibility improvements, a more energy efficient heating system, and the addition of air conditioning and interior improvements.

Construction is planned to begin in the fall, which means we need to close the Green Lake Branch near the end of the summer to prepare for construction. The exact dates have yet to be determined, but we will alert patrons as soon as we know.

We expect the branch to reopen early in the summer of 2023 after the work has been completed.

What to do if you’re a Green Lake Branch patron

In the weeks prior to closure, we will notify Green Lake Branch patrons by email that they should change their home branch – the library branch where their holds and pickups will be – by logging into their MySpl account and selecting My Settings > Account Preferences > Holds and Pickup Locations. If you haven’t done this prior to closure, your home branch will be changed automatically to the Greenwood Branch (8016 Greenwood Ave. N.). But you can change your home branch anytime.

Additional closure information

At least 30 days prior to the closure of the Green Lake Branch, patrons will no longer be able to reserve meeting rooms at the branch.

Patrons will not be able to return books at the Green Lake Branch during the closure. Nearby Library branches with book returns available are listed below.

The branch parking lot will be used for storage during the construction project and will not be available for parking.

Nearby Library branches

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COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits Available at Libraries

COVID-19 rapid testingStarting this week, The Seattle Public Library will begin distributing a limited supply of COVID-19 rapid testing kits at all 27 of our locations. Public Health — Seattle & King County is providing these free self-tests to the community to make it easier for those most impacted by COVID-19 to test when they need to and help prevent spread.

Patrons can pick up a BinaxNOW rapid testing kit, take it home, and get results within 15-20 minutes. Continue reading “COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits Available at Libraries”

Happy Pride Month! Read, Watch and Celebrate With the Library

Capitol Hill Rainbow Wall
The top level of the Rainbow Wall at the Capitol Hill Branch

It’s Pride month and the Library would love to celebrate with you. Enjoy a new Rainbow Story Time, visit with us at PrideFest on June 25 or watch for the Bookmobile at the Seattle Pride Parade on June 26. You can also find some new-to-you LGBTQ+ films, novels and comics to check out, and more. Details are below and at www.spl.org/Pride.

 Join the Library at Pride weekend

  • From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 25. Join the Library at PrideFest! Staff from The Seattle Public Library will visit PrideFest, including Family Pride (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) and Queer Youth Pride (from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.), at the Capitol Hill Station Plaza, with books, crafts, library cards and giveaways! PrideFest runs from noon to 9 p.m; find a full schedule of events at www.seattlepridefest.org/schedule.
  • From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 26. 2022 Seattle Pride Parade. Join The Seattle Public Library and the Bookmobile as we march with the City of Seattle in the 48th annual Seattle Pride Parade in celebration with Seattle’s LGBTQ+ communities. The parade begins at Fourth Avenue and Pike Street and ends at Second Avenue and Denny Way. Visit http://seattlepride.org/ to see the parade route and full schedule of events.

Virtual Rainbow Story Time

Tune in to a new virtual Rainbow Story Time for Pride 2022. Children’s librarian Jesse celebrates Pride month, takes a road trip, and reads “All the Way to Havana,” by Margarita Engle.


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June 2022 Author Events: Quintard Taylor, Judy Heumann, Ottessa Moshfegh and More

The Library is bringing in June with amazing author evens. Learn about the history of Seattle’s Black community, hear poems inspired by video games and AI, meet the authors of one of the most talked-about comics of 2020, listen to award-winning fantasy authors, hear the story of leading disability rights activist Judy Heumann and more.

Registration is required for both in-person and online attendance; check the event description at spl.org/Calendar for registration and links. All events are free and open to the public.

Breakpoint coverThe Language of Machines: Asian Voices on New Poetics From Tech, Robotics and Video Games – online

Saturday, June 4, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  Poets Neil Aitken (“Baggage’s Dream”), Betsy Aoki (“Breakpoint”), and Margaret Rhee (“Love, Robot”), share insights about crafting award-winning poems from programming languages, video games, AI and robotics. This event is presented in partnership with Open Books: A Poetry Emporium and supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsors the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation, Open Books and Seattle City of Literature.

The Forging of a Black Community coverQuintard Taylor Discusses “The Forging of a Black Community” Central Library and online

Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Celebrate the release of the second edition of this seminal work by the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History and professor emeritus at the University of Washington. With a new foreword and afterword, “The Forging of a Black Community” is essential to understanding the history and present of the largest Black community in the Pacific Northwest. The author will appear in conversation with Dr. Quin’Nita Cobbins-Modica. This event is presented in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum, Elliott Bay Book Company, and University of Washington Press, and is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation.

Continue reading “June 2022 Author Events: Quintard Taylor, Judy Heumann, Ottessa Moshfegh and More”