Deborah Jacobs’ Nightstand Reading

When I came to The Seattle Public Library almost eleven years ago, one of my key commitments was to help improve the library materials budget and the ability of Technical Services to streamline its work and get materials ordered and ready for the public more quickly. We even had an internal campaign we called: “The Year of the Book,” but of course it is a lifetime of books for our library and you!

Through years of budget increases, reductions, and increases, as well as the generosity of private donors to The Seattle Public Library Foundation, we’ve managed to bring our materials budget closer to what has been identified as “the ideal materials budget.” And through the excellent work of staff we get materials into readers’ hands more quickly and due to sharp negotiations we get larger discounts from vendors. Recently a staff committee studied our holds and delivery processes and through careful implementation of its recommendations we have been able to move materials through our system quicker and more efficiently. As staff continue to work on this the public will notice even more improvements.

We have also created an amazing virtual library out of nowhere. In fact, this blog is just one of the many new ways we are communicating with our patrons and providing readers’ advisory services. But – it’s important that our community not stop here – but check out our on-line databases, downloadable materials, and all the other resources to be found on our Web site,

I have been asked to comment on books that influenced me or alternately books I might be reading during my transition between my position here as City Librarian and my new position leading the Global Libraries Initiative for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The first question is too hard; like many readers I find something important in every book I read. Something that touches my heart, teaches me, makes me laugh, and on and on. Even my favorite book would be hard to name but when forced to do so I often say – Our Mutual Friend, Angle of Repose, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Hunting Mr. Heartbreak – but yikes… this is just too hard!

I do know the books I’m planning to read during my month of no job. I’ve been physically gathering, putting on reserve at the library, listing on my iPhone “notes” section the books I intend to read. They reflect the yin-yang of my reading tastes.

Robert Fagles, Iliad– When Fagles died recently I knew it was important to take time Continue reading “Deborah Jacobs’ Nightstand Reading”