Summer Hours for 4 Library Branches

Fan - credit to Ronan Futura of Unsplash
Courtesy of Ronan Futura of Unsplash

Summer is coming, which means (hopefully) that many days of sunshine are ahead. It also means that The Seattle Public Library’s non air conditioned branches sometimes have to close early for the comfort and safety of our staff and patrons.

To help reduce heat-related closures this summer, the Library is shifting hours for four of our non-air conditioned branches: From June 21 to Sept. 12, the Fremont, NewHolly, Northeast and Southwest branches will shift their operating hours on two days a week to 10 to 6 p.m. instead of from noon to 8 p.m.

Here are the operating hours for those branches, starting on June 21.

  • Fremont Branch, 731 N. 35th St.
    • Closed Monday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week
  • Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week
  • Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week

Continue reading “Summer Hours for 4 Library Branches”

The Soul Pole Celebrates its 50th Anniversary at the Douglass-Truth Branch

MOHAI photo of Soul Pole installation
Historic photo of Raqib Mu’ied (formerly Gregory X) at the Soul Pole’s 1973 installation, shown with permission from MOHAI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, 2000.

If you grew up in Seattle’s Central District, it probably seems like the  Soul Pole — a 21-foot artwork that stands tall on the lawn of the Douglass-Truth Branch at 23rd and E. Yesler — has always been been there.

In fact, the sculpture, has stood there for (almost) exactly 50 years. Carved in the late 1960s from a telephone pole by young members of the Rotary Boys Club to represent 400 years of African American history and injustice, the Soul Pole was given to the branch and then installed on April 24, 1973.

The Soul Pole in 2022, after the conservation project and reinstallation

Over the decades that passed, which saw so many momentous changes in the neighborhood, city and world, the Soul Pole became, as the Black Heritage Society of Washington has said, “a symbol of tenacity, legacy, and pride that anchors the history of Black people to Seattle’s Central District.”

You can learn more about the Soul Pole’s history and legacy at a 50th anniversary celebration at the Douglass-Truth Branch this Saturday, April 29 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Continue reading “The Soul Pole Celebrates its 50th Anniversary at the Douglass-Truth Branch”

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”

Middle Grade Fiction for Adults

For a long time as an adult, I told myself that middle grade books were no longer for me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong! Not only can middle grade novels simply be great stories, they can also transport you back into the world of being a kid. This includes the importance and depth of friendships that we make when we are young, the sense of adventure and openness to the fantastical and the unknown, and the complex and often difficult experience of being a kid. If you, too, love a good story regardless of age, here are some of my recommendations:

Amari and the Night Brothers 

After Amari’s older brother goes missing, she discovers a mysterious briefcase in his closet. Soon, a whole secret world opens up for Amari. She is nominated to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs where she must compete against other students, fight against an evil magician, and find out what really happened to her brother. 


After moving to a new home, Coraline goes exploring and discovers a mysterious door that opens into a world that looks very similar to her own. At first it seems like a better version of her own life, until she begins to realize that things are eerily off–and her new set of parents want her to stay with them forever. Continue reading “Middle Grade Fiction for Adults”

Local Heroes in Black History, Part Two

Continuing on our tour of landmarks named for local Black heroes, here are just a few historical figures who should be household names in Seattle.

William Grose black & white image
William Grose

Perhaps you’ve noticed new activity in the old fire station at 23rd and Yesler, across the street from the Douglass-Truth Branch Library. In 2020, the space was re-dedicated as the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation, an incubator and hub for creativity and entrepreneurship in the Black community. Learn about its namesake, William Grose, a 19th Century Black pioneer and entrepreneur whose property along East Madison Street laid the foundation for the Central District. After arriving in Seattle in 1860, he opened several successful businesses, and his home became a community hub for Seattle’s earliest Black residents. Prior to arriving in the Northwest, Grose formed a west-coast branch of the Underground Railroad, and successfully convinced the government in Panama to stop returning escaped Black slaves who traveled there.

Edwin Pratt black & white image
Edwin T. Pratt (photo courtesy of BlackPast)

Learn about the namesake of Pratt Park and Pratt Fine Arts Center, Edwin T. Pratt, a civil rights leader who fought for equal access to education and fair housing. Read this extensive essay written by playwright and novelist Nancy Rawles, published by Pratt Fine Arts, to learn more about his life before relocating to Seattle, where he served as Executive Director of the Urban League. Learn about his legacy, which included improving educational opportunities for minority students of all ages, and helping to start the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP.), a community-led organization working to fight poverty. Pratt was tragically murdered in front of his home in Shoreline, in 1969. In addition to the landmarks named in his honor, early donations to the Library’s African American Collection were made in his memory.

Continue reading “Local Heroes in Black History, Part Two”