I've spent my life around books and have for most of the past two decades worked for bookstores in and around Seattle. I'm immensely proud to be part of the thriving network of independent book retailers in this community, and I'm equally proud of our essential partners in literacy, the Seattle Public Library system. 

Our libraries have long acted as cultural centers and offered important resources and programs for kids and families--my own children were lucky enough to learn to read at home, but it was our local branch that exposed them to the full range of opportunity available to them. Libraries invest in community, providing particular support to our most vulnerable residents, with school homework help, multi-language materials, job and housing assistance, and adult learning programs. Last year alone Seattle libraries had 17 million visits, nearly 400,000 borrowers, hosted over 11,000 free educational and cultural events, and held over 1,100 homework help sessions. These investments help make Seattle healthy, vibrant, and diverse, and on August 6th, residents can help their libraries make this a more equitable and livable city. 

By voting YES on Prop. 1, Seattle residents will renew programs that are made possible by our library levy. To be clear, this is not a vote for a new tax; it replaces an expiring levy. Voting YES on Prop. 1 will ensure that our neighborhoods continue to benefit from programs that offer real assistance to real people. If this levy fails to pass the result would be the erasure of 25% of the library budget. That means severe reductions to library hours, the collection of physical and digital books and materials, educational classes and building maintenance, as well as cuts to the wonderful and diverse services the library provides.

During the great recession, Seattle voters who understood the value of community stepped up to restore hours and services. Now in a time of unprecedented growth and change, we have the chance to renew our commitment to our neighborhoods and our people. On August 6th, vote YES on Prop. 1. 

James Crossley

Madison Books general manager