Michael Parham, the president of Seattle Public Library's Board of Trustees, was up for reappointment this year. Last week, Parham informed the mayor that he was not seeking reappointment. (His statement is after the jump.)
Parham oversaw the ending of the "Libraries for All" initiative and the beginning of the recent "Citywide Conversations" program intended to re-envision the future of the library. The Stranger was seeking an interview with Parham about his reappointment when SPL spokeswoman Andra Addison sent along the news that he was bowing out.
As Mayor McGinn himself has pointed out in interviews, Seattle's mayor doesn't have much direct power over the library; the five-year board appointments are the only involvement he has outside of budget issues. This is a great opportunity for the mayor to show what kind of libraries he wants for Seattle; we'll be closely covering the appointment process here on Slog.
Due to increased responsibilities at work and various civic commitments, I have made a decision not to seek reappointment to The Seattle Public Library board of trustees.
It has been an incredible honor to serve on the board for the past five years and I am proud of my role in furthering the mission of an organization so critical to the educational, economic and cultural vitality of this great city. Our beautiful, expanded libraries are busier than ever, which makes it no surprise that a national survey ranks Seattle as the most literate city in America. Last year, more than 14 million people visited The Seattle Public Library and more than 12 million items were circulated. Every day, the diligent and resourceful Library staff and volunteers assist residents in finding new opportunities for learning, inspiration, reflection and building community.
I want to thank my current and former colleagues on the board of trustees for their tireless dedication and service. I would also like to thank Mayor Mike McGinn, former Mayor Greg Nickels, the City Council, City Librarian Susan Hildreth, former City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs, Library staff, Friends of The Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Public Library Foundation for their continued and collective efforts to make the Library such a successful institution benefitting the residents of our community.
I plan to remain a strong supporter of The Seattle Public Library after the conclusion of my service on the board. Further, I have informed the Mayor’s Office that I am available to continue serving on the board until my successor has been appointed, in order to ensure a smooth and orderly transition.
Very truly yours,