More than 20 Seattle libraries to see rolling closures due to city hiring freeze

(The Center Square) – Seattle will implement scheduled closures of over 20 public libraries as a result of hiring freezes and looming budget shortfalls.

Seattle Public Library will be implementing the library closures intermittently through June 4 due to limited staffing capacity throughout its library branches.

The announced closures are going through despite Seattle’s public library system having successfully hired over 160 new staff members since 2020 to meet and exceed pre-pandemic open hours. 

Seattle Public Library was even able to expand open hours systemwide, thanks in part to a seven-year, $219.1 million property tax levy to maintain and enhance library services from 2020 through 2026. The levy costs the average median Seattle homeowner approximately $8 per year.

Earlier this year, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell instituted a partial hiring freeze, citing a “significant financial gap forecasted in 2025.” At the time, the projected budget deficit facing the
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