Seattle Public Libraries reports $434K in damage, cites increase in loitering, vandalism

Oct 12, 2021, 10:16 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
Seattle Public Libraries...
The inside of Seattle's downtown public library branch. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Seattle Public Libraries (SPL) is reporting $434,000 in damage over the last 18 months, citing an increase in loitering, vandalism, and homeless encampments surrounding several of their branches.

January 2nd is Christmas for those with Seattle library fines

SPL laid out the most recent data in a memo to Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez. That includes reports of $170,000 in damage to the Central library branch on Fourth Avenue, in the form of seven shattered window panels damaged by a pellet gun.

Other damage to that branch included one instance where an uninsured motorist ran into the building on its Madison Street side, breaking four large window panes and bending supporting steel beams. That incident cost SPL an estimated $85,000 in repairs.

SPL reports tens of thousands of dollars in damage to other branches as well, including Ballard/Fremont, Lake City/Northgate, Northeast/University, Rainier Beach/Beacon Hill, and South Park.

The bulk of the damage done to the Ballard/Fremont branch came as a result of a fire from a neighboring homeless camp burning and cracking a window on the north side of the building, which also damaged a grating. Repairs ended up costing nearly $60,000.

Better late than never: Library gets book 47 years overdue

Lake City/Northgate also reported a series of smaller incidents where campers in the area broke windows.

In its memo to Councilmember Juarez, SPL noted that the increase in these incidents has its on-site staff members “extremely concerned for safety at work,” particularly at the downtown Seattle Central branch. It has also fielded similar complaints from patrons.

“Patrons are complaining at an increased rate that they feel unsafe as they receive services,” SPL described. “Staff have voiced concerns about safety on overnight cleaning, early morning deliveries or working during curb-side services. We are particularly concerned for the safety of SPL employees who work at these locations alone on late night (11 pm) or early hour (3 am) shifts with no security present.”

Local News

MyNorthwest Staff

UW Medicine study seeks local participants to understand COVID spread

UW Medicine invites Washington state residents up to age 85 to submit a survey about their exposure to COVID during the pandemic as part of a study.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Amazon hiring for more than 500 positions at new sort center in Fife

A new Amazon facility in Fife, Washington, that's set to open later this month has starting hiring for more than 500 positions.
1 day ago
Nicole Jennings

Rural Eastern Washington hospitals say no big losses in staffing post-vaccine mandate

Some of the rural Eastern Washington hospitals that were expected to have big losses after the vaccine mandate say things are going well.
1 day ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Associated Press

Climate Pledge Arena ready to get Kraken for hockey debut

The first event ever inside Climate Pledge Arena — whether it will be considered the official first event or not — was far from a soft opening.
2 days ago
Some of the located containers, captured by the US Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles helicopter....
KIRO 7 News Staff

Approximately 40 shipping containers adrift off Washington coast

Approximately 40 shipping containers were lost off a ship 43 miles west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the United States Coast Guard.
2 days ago
Kathryn Altena

Gov. Inslee, Washington groups prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

In the coming months, 1,400 Afghan refugees are expected to pass through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport upon their arrival in Washington.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Seattle Public Libraries reports $434K in damage, cites increase in loitering, vandalism