Letters to the Seattle Public Library About the Rebranding


I really don't get why the public library needs branding, much less re-branding. It's not a stadi... wait, does Seattle have an elite reading team that needs hyping or something?
Why did it need an office building?

The public library in Covington is one hundred times more useful, light, airy and well used by children through elders than the typical branch library.

Seattle neighborhoods paid too high a price for rampant urbism.

Free yourselves and join KCLS

@2 - How so? The Covington library is 20' tall with a parking lot 3x its footprint. Not only would that be impracticable in Seattle, it'd be impossible. Also, it kindo looks like it'd have a Chipotle inside of it.

I'm all for public buildings being showpieces—besides churches they're the few types of structures being built today where an architect can be free of many of the considerations commercial spaces require. The Seattle library building is fantastic, I just think it's a waste to spend millions convincing people of that.

I'm hoping to lead a task force to rebrand Seattle.

With large starting funds from the Koch brothers and their sister WSDOT, we will rebrand Seattle as something more car-oriented, with more free parking for suburbs sprawling to Eastern Washington.

Starting vision name is West Bellevue.

Let's make it happen!

Unfortunately, you missed the boat, as Kemper Freeman is already way out in front of this.
All the more reason to vote no on prop 1 - even through it's not about the library - our mayor and silly council need reality checks.
Harassing public officials because you can't understand the immediate value of every single one of your tax dollars is what tea partiers do. I would hope that the Stranger, if not Seattle, would be better than this.

Seriously—why is this the mantle you've chosen to take up? Why is this such an important issue? $365,000 is pocket change for an organization with a $65 million annual operating budget. It uses zero public funds, and it's a one-time investment in the long-term viability of the SPL with serious potential return on investment. You're manufacturing controversy where this is none.

Here a few things to consider before your next angry letter to the city librarian:

This is not unusual or remarkable at all. Non-profits and government organizations that interact with the public have brands, and it's very common to undergo projects that refresh those brands, even if those organizations sound mundane. The Seattle Police Department just hired DEI Creative, one of the trendiest design firms in the city for a rebranding project, and I guarantee you they spent at least that much (didn't hear any outrage there). City governments have brands. Tourism boards have brands. Every branch of the military has a (very expensive) brand). USPS underwent a multi-million dollar rebrand a few years back. These projects might sound like corporate bullshit, but those design firms stay in business because the value of a brand is well understood by people who don't work for the Stranger.

The reason a brand is valuable to SPL has nothing to do with its immediate ability to serve its patrons—it's about maintaing its long-term solvency and vitality. SPL is at all times beholden to the whims of voters, lawmakers and donors. In order to survive, it's incredibly important that the library be able to market itself and control public perception. As books become less and less of a priority in people's lives, they need to be able to appear current, relevant, and important, so that when the next funding levy comes around, Seattle voters (who are fucking idiots) are excited enough about the library that they vote yes.

You can't just dismiss this—marketing is important. That's why non-profits spend millions on advertising campaigns and fundraising galas. Dollars that aren't spent immediately on the people they serve aren't necessarily dollars wasted. Investing in the long-term future of the library is just as important as serving patrons today.

Seriously. Every word of this sounds like republicans whining about how the .001% of the federal budget that goes to NPR and Planned Parenthood are going to bankrupt the country. There are better progressive causes to trumpet. Get your shit together.
Marketing - at least of government agencies - is primarily important to the egos of the people involved. Patrons have obviously realized that they can use the library for more than books. Even before computers came along, people borrowed records, films and even artwork from libraries. Libraries used things like bookmobiles to reach underserved areas, and hospital services to reach people who couldn't get out. It's about good management and responding to needs in the community, not about "branding".
@7 sounds like someone who's sucking up to management. Reveal yourself! Get a promotion!
I am no government-hating teabagger--not by a long shot, but I HATE the wastefulness of SPL's efforts to spend a couple of $million or more changing it's name from "Seattle Public Library" to "Seattle Public Libraries" and swapping it's beautiful blue globe logo to ones that look like DNA oncogenes in the process of replication. SPL also SUCKS for not paying its Library Assistance their COLA this year. I blasted the SPL Board and cced the Stranger's Editor. I can't wait to be be part of the angry crowd that gives them an earful when the Board meets on October 28.