People’s Library fills in for Seattle Public Libraries during closure

People’s Library fills in for Seattle Public Libraries during closure »Play Video
All branches of the Seattle Public Library will be closed Monday, August 27 through Sunday, September 2 due to citywide budget cuts. In response, a People’s Library was established in the Central District to provide reading materials, kid’s activities, and internet access during the closure. August 27th 2012. (Joshua Lewis / KOMO News)
SEATTLE -- Seattle libraries are closed all week because of budget cuts, but a makeshift library in the Central District is still open to the public.

Activists started what they're calling the People's Library to protest the closure of city libraries. Located at 23rd and Yesler, the People's Library is offering Internet access and a variety of books.

"Literacy is important, and when you have austerity measures that threaten the ability for people to come together and use computers and to get books, it's really not good for the community," said People's Library organizer Charles Conatzer.

The new library might not have the same selection as the city's libraries, but this week it happens to be the only game in town. To help offset budget cuts, the city won't reopen its libraries until after Labor Day.

That move isn't sitting well with many library patrons.

"It's a little bit annoying. My son had picked out some books and they are on hold so I have to wait another week and I've got a pile of them I'm returning," said Kristen Fitzpatrick.

While Fitzpatrick was upset to learn about the closures, she and others were thrilled to see the People's Library.

"It's great. It's awesome," she said. "I didn't know they were going to do that."

The makeshift library is already picking up donations from grateful users. Laura Sindell brought some of her own books to help fill the sidewalk shelves.

"This is an American democratic tradition and for some young people to think in their minds to do this, I just think it's wonderful. I want to support them any way I can," Sindell said.

Organizers say the People's Library will stay open through September.