Group setting up ‘People’s Library’ during Seattle Public Library closure

Aug 21, 2012, 11:36 AM | Updated: Aug 22, 2012, 6:14 am

With the Seattle Public Libraries closing next week a group of residents are taking it upon themselves to make library services available. (Image courtesy People’s Library Facebook)

Budget cuts will shut the Seattle libraries for a week, but a group of hardcore readers is organizing a “People’s Library” to fill the void.

The People’s Library wants to provide reading material, kid’s activities, and Internet access to the public while the libraries are out of service.

Organizer Yates Coley tells Ross and Burbank she and her friends thought up the idea about a week ago upon learning of the library furlough from Aug. 27 through Sept. 2.

“We were like, ‘That stinks, the libraries are closed. We should do our own.'”

The makeshift library is looking for donations of books, shelving materials like milk crates, tables, chairs, wagons, pop-up tents, and ropes. They’re also interested in loaner laptops and hot spots to borrow for the week.

They hope to collect around 1,000 books before opening on Monday. There are public donation sites set up around the city, and they’ve also received large donations from area book shops.

“We just got the motherload donated to us by Pegasus Book Store down in West Seattle yesterday so we already have 500 or 600 books,” says Coley.

People’s Library check-outs and returns won’t be as strict as at the public library. Coley says there will be no late fees here.

“[People] can check the books out. They can keep them if they’d like. They can bring their own books to donate.”

The location is still under wraps, but Coley says it will be outdoors in the Central District. She says the neighborhood has a rich history of coming together to support itself as a community and the organizers of the People’s Library are excited to further that tradition.

Those that would like to participate in the effort by leading activities, readings or helping to organize library supplies, can reach organizers at

Listen to full People’s Library discussion with Yates Coley:


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Group setting up ‘People’s Library’ during Seattle Public Library closure