Local libraries issuing passports

The U.S. Department of State is not the only one issuing passports these days. The Seattle Public Library and its branches also will grant library passports to its patrons. Marsha Donaldson and Bill Ferris, who live in Hawthorne Hills, came up with the idea of library passports. Ferris said they've always been avid library users, and after seeing the great renovation their home branch, the Northeast Library, had gotten, they decided to see how other branches had been improved."We were impressed by not only the addition but also how the layout had changed inside the Northeast branch," Donaldson said. "With the great job they had done at our branch it made us curious to want to go see the other branches." TOURING THE LIBRARIESThe couple began touring the libraries in fall 2004. Donaldson said that, depending on their schedule, they would visit a new branch once or twice a month. By August 2007 the couple had visited 18 branches, including the Central Library and the Northeast branch.After visiting the branches, the couple felt there should be something that would account for all the visits, and a passport came to be. After pitching the idea to the Seattle Public Library their passport dream became a reality. Andra Addison, Seattle Public Library's communication director, said that the idea of issuing passports came at the perfect time when the renovation for the libraries was concluding. "We thought that it was a great idea...a great momentum for the public to have a passport that has pictures of every single branch," she said.Putting together the passport was a group effort. Addison said that the pictures in the passports were donated by photographers who took pictures of the branches for the architects. The Friends of the Library, US Bank and the Seattle Public Library Foundation paid for the printing of the passports."These passports are a gift to the community," Addison said. SEEING THE DIFFERENCEDuring the couple's visit to the different libraries they followed two rules. "Our rule was that each of us had to check something out from the library, and then we would have a cup of coffee or something to eat at that neighborhood," Donaldson said. Donaldson and Ferris were very impressed how each library reflected the community it served. "[The library] at the International District had a section about the different Asian languages," Donaldson said. But the libraries not only reflect the community they serve through their books but through their art."Each library renovation incorporated new public art," Ferris said. "I especially appreciate how each library and its art reflected upon the neighborhood community it was located in."Donaldson also felt that the library provided a safe and nurturing environment for people who didn't have that. "The free access to books, the free access to information, the help, a safe place for people to go to - I think it's worth supporting," she said.The couple is to see their idea become a reality. "My husband and I were just doing this because it was something that we enjoyed," Donaldson said. "We are just library patrons, and to see them take our idea and go with it really makes us feel real good."Passports will be available at any Seattle Public Library branch beginning Sept. 13. From 1 to 3 p.m. that day, the Broadview, Fremont, Greenwood, Lake City, Northeast and Northgate branches will have special passport festivities. Those who complete their passport travels to all 27 branches and get their passport stamped at each one by Jan. 2, 2009, may enter a prize drawing.[[In-content Ad]]