This is your friendly reminder that the Seattle Public Library's Board of Trustees meets on Wednesday—and that meeting is open to the public. It's the board who decides whether the library will move forward with the rebranding effort.
In case you're just joining us: This survey of proposed logos, a proposed name change, and a proposed "brand statement" cost $365,000 to produce. Actually implementing the changes suggested by the survey could cost somewhere close to $2 million.
Many people have been writing to the library board in advance of the meeting—firstname.lastname@example.org—to say this is a waste of resources, and cc'ing us on their notes. We put up a batch of letters last week on Slog. But they keep coming. Here are a few of the latest.
This is a terrible, stupid idea that will not change a single person's use of library resources. It reeks of marketing consultants who have created a proposal in order to increase their paychecks. My paternal grandmother was head of the library system in her rural Iowa county; she has been dead for three years now and could STILL — in her increasingly deceased state — come up with a better use for $2 million than this. It is humiliating that such a fabulous library system would even consider this action. Don't do it.
This seems like a complete waste of money for something that is completely unneccessary. Rich Smith makes all the pertinent points in his article in The Stranger. Please read it if you haven't already. And please do not let this go any further forward. Yes, I check out more ebooks than actual books these days, so what? It's still the library. And on the occasion when I do check out an actual book, I pick it up in Ballard and usually return it downtown. All at the library. Why does it need to be plural?? Library, singular, has a big cozy feel about it. Pluralizing it makes for much more dis-connectedness feeling. Is that really what you are going for?
My kindle has an I Love the Library sticker that I got at the QA branch when I went there for a kindle tutorial after I had gotten it for Christmas several years ago. I love the library is all-encompassing. It doesn't specify which branch I love. I have not been to the QA branch since; Ballard is my main branch, downtown a distant second these days. But I could go anywhere in town and it would still be the library. I could return a book, I could check out a book. It's all the library. I really don't understand what the point of changing anything is.
Please stop!!! There is no reason for this.
—SPL cardholder since 1994
If a library "rebrand" went into effect that cost a reasonable amount of money, I'd still think it was trendy, shallow hogwash, but would give the library the benefit of the doubt, simply out of respect. But THIS, this is like someone in charge of a city park deciding to spend tons of money on jewel-encrusted, gold-plated toilet paper holders for the restrooms. Are the people in charge of the Seattle Public Library system out of their minds, brazen crooks who think the people of Seattle are stupid, or are they just plain incompetent? It has to be one of those, because this makes no sense at all.
I use my neighborhood SPL branch weekly. I get books for my family and for my job as a preschool teacher. I use the online site to research and hold books. I use the electronic books for myself and my kids.
I feel so fortunate to have access to so much so easily at SPL. The most important thing to me about the SPL is access. The more access the SPL can provide the better. More hours, more programs, more technology, more books, more knowledge about and for our community and world...this is the main point of the SPL.
Do not allow SPL to waste our money on "rebranding." I am horrified that so much money has already been spent on such a frivolous idea. To think that an image is more important than knowledge and access makes me furious. The library's name and logo represent exactly what the library is, a constantly evolving fixture in our community. It is The Seattle Public Library and should remain so in name, spirit and action.
I cannot believe that any serious public service organization would squander so much money on such a trivial and meaningless activity when the funds could instead be used to expand services, maintain or expand collections, enhance hours, invest in staff development, buy more and newer technology and computers, expand programming, or do any number of other actually beneficial things. Even saving the money for a rainy day to offset future budget woes (like those seen not too many years ago with shortened library hours and furlough closures) would be a better use. I urge you to put a stop to this rebranding nonsense and ensure that library funds are put to good and appropriate use: operating a world class library system, not lining the pockets of branding consultants and sign-makers for a meaningless, trivial, cosmetic change.
Spending $2,000,000 of precious Seattle Public Library resources on a slight change of name and a new logo is the worst decision the Library could possibly make. It will accomplish nothing positive for the Library. It will infuriate both taxpayers and donors to the Seattle Public Library Foundation. It will turn Library supporters into critics, if not actual enemies.
My husband and I have donated to the SPL Foundation for years. When my husband heard about this plan, he said to me, "If the Library can afford to flush $2,000,000 down the toilet, then why do they need money from us?"
The Library must be a good steward of Library funds, and spend them carefully and wisely. There are a thousand more substantive and more productive ways to spend $2,000,000 to help the Library. Please do not allow this ill-considered rebranding plan to move forward.
I am writing to ask you to stop the nonsense of spending money on a new name or logo for The Seattle Public Library. This effort is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It reminds me of a story from the library that I used to read to my children: The Emperor’s New Clothes. The proposed name change is laughable (drop the article and add an “s”)—are you kidding me? Please don’t spend another penny on this foolishness. ANY alternate use of these funds would be wiser. I recommend putting the two million dollars into expanding internet capacity for those without a computer and internet at home.
Besides wasting money, the re-branding fiasco raises a larger issue: The reputation of our library and the judgement of its leadership. It makes the leadership appear to be completely out-of-touch careless folks who have drunk the Kool-Aide served up by a greedy design firm. Who authorized this project? I would seriously reconsider the competence of anyone green-lighting this project.
I am so sad to see this turn of events. Librarians are some of the most dedicated, helpful, idealistic people I have met. The public and the librarians deserve better than this.
Again, if you want to make your voice heard, send an email, but an even better way to let the library board know you're serious is to show up at that meeting on Wednesday, October 28 at 5 pm at the Central Library downtown, 4th floor, Washington Mutual Foundation Meeting Room 1.