Enjoy free books, movies, music, digital media & the Internet

Through The Seattle Public Library

Goldmark Library
The Sally Goldmark Library in Madrona is our local branch.

Sometimes I think my husband, David, and I are the only people in Seattle who don’t subscribe to Netflix or Hulu.

I guess one reason why is, we aren’t huge consumers of video content and we'd regard it as wasteful to pay for something we won’t use.

We like watching films and television series, but since we opened Alki Surf Shop, we have even less discretionary time, including TV time. We spend an average of about an hour each evening watching films or programs.

Truth be told, we’d dearly love to "cut the Comcast cord," but there are certain channels that would be a bummer to lose, like Bloomberg News, and any channel that airs "Law and Order" episodes :)

The concept of getting rid of cable became more of a possibility when David discovered a treasure trove of content available through The Seattle Public Library (SPL). He regularly visits the SPL web site, and when he sees movies or TV shows that look promising, we "get it in the queue."

Built in 1919

Built in 1919, our branch was a former firehouse

We’ve come to rely on SPL to supply us with most of our viewing entertainment. Most everything is available regardless of the original source, including new movies and exclusive programming like House of Cards, Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black.

I imagine what we’re doing harkens back to the early days of Netflix. When we request movies and shows, we receive them in the order they become available. SPL notifies us when the media are delivered to our neighborhood library branch for pick up. You’re allowed to check out 50 items at the same time, so patrons can binge watch/read/listen.

I found some pretty amazing statistics about our library. Among them:

  • In 2014, there were 13,810,274 visits to the central library, branches, and virtual visits
  • 11,744,874 books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and digital downloads were circulated
  • In addition, 831,412 reference questions were answered.

Thanks to the Seattle Public Library Foundation, and a $225,000 grant from Google, SPL now has 150 portable wifi hotspots available to loan to library users. Says city librarian Marcellus Turner, "Loaning mobile hotspots to people living without broadband access is another way The Seattle Public Library is taking our mission beyond the walls of our libraries and directly to our patrons where they are."

SPL Verizon Hotspot
SPL's Verizon hotspot is small and amazing

It’s pretty obvious I’m a library fan, and I’m also proud to be a donor.

Seattle friends, if you value our amazing resource, I invite you to join me in supporting the Seattle Public Library!

Support Your Public Library


  1. The library is changing with the times, trying to stay relevant in a Facebook-Snapchat-Selfie world, but librarians remain the same – if you're too loud, you get the LOOK.

    1. HA HA! David, I read in the SPL annual report that they SPECIFICALLY DON'T SHUSH PEOPLE!

      But I guess it was in context of watching a Seahawks game in the Microsoft auditorium (which looked super fun, by the way).

      Thanks and ((HUGS)) for reading!


  2. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Thank you! Great article -- so wonderful to see SPL recognized for the way they make books and other media available to people who may not be able to afford buying books, cds and dvds, or subscribing to streaming services, cable or dish. It's always a treat to be on the waiting list and have my turn come up! I used the SPL hotspot recently and had a blast -- have never had an internet connection at home so this was a special treat. Thanks for sharing this and for the happy reminder we have a wonderful library system! YAY!

    1. Our library system is just amazing—no question! And learning about the wifi program made a big impression on me.

      It's cool to see Google underwrite the program, and to see Verizon participate!

      I didn't realize you can also "check out" digital media like ebooks, and be able to read them on Kindles or other e-readers. VERY COOL!

      Thanks for the awesome comment!

      ((HUGS)) T

  3. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Since I live in Bellevue I use the King County Library System and I use it regularly for new fiction and music. The SPL sounds very much the same. When my daughter was in middle school she would wait for the day when the new DVDs would be released and she would get in line for her favorite titles. She knew what would be available and would be among the first to see new DVDs. I am glad you’re calling attention to this fantastic resource we have here in the Puget Sound area.

    1. Hi and thanks for reading and commenting!

      You're absolutely right—King County Library System is also great! ( http://www.kcls.org/ ) and we also have the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library ( http://www.wtbbl.org/ ) as a resource! There is a reason why this part of the country makes it on lists like "most well read cities." I found an interesting Time Magazine article that lists BOTH Seattle and Bellevue! ( http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/05/18/where-are-americas-most-well-read-cities/ )

      Sounds like your daughter had the magic strategy of knowing what was coming down the pike, and getting dibs on the new DVDs!

      We're really fortunate that our region places such a high value on literacy, and making sure services are available for everyone.

      Thanks again!



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i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura