The Friends of the Seattle Public Library is a non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting our Library as an essential institution of society and supporting its mission and vision. Our volunteer members advocate for, educate about, and raise funds on behalf of The Library.

What The Friends Do

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library was established in 1941, the 50th anniversary of the library system. The Friends have sponsored many different programs over the years. Events popular in the 1940s, such as teas, gave way to programs serving contemporary needs, including those of underserved populations. Through sponsoring programs, supporting adequate facilities and funding for the Library, providing volunteers, and collaborating with other Library and civic groups, the Friends have helped Seattle maintain a world class, inclusive library system.

Get more information about our recent activities at the FOSPL Annual Report 2015.

See a summary of our 2016 financials: How Funds Were Raised and Spent in 2016.

Programs at the library

The Friends makes grants to The Seattle Public Library for several programs every year.  The Friends 2017 grants made for the Library’s 2018 initiatives and programs are as follows:

  • Expand World Languages collection: $22,500
  • Expand uncatalogued materials for children and teens: $15,000
  • Fund the Book Group collection: $10,000
  • Sponsor 2018 Booktoberfest coasters: $5,000

Community book sales

We sell hundreds of thousands of used books, DVDs, CDs and other media items each year at bargain prices. Our Book Sales are well-known community events, fun for groups of friends and families. We keep our prices low so that books are accessible to all community members.

Click here for more information about the Book Sales.

Books for teachers

Since 2009, the Friends of The Seattle Public Library have been honored to receive annual grants from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to provide classroom books for teachers in high-need (Title I) Seattle public schools. So far, over 400 teachers from 35 schools have been given nearly 29,700 books new homes in their Seattle classrooms, ranging from K-12. Teachers can find information about this program on our book sales page.


The FriendShop is a gift shop in the Central Library loaded with literary-themed gifts and supplies useful at the library. It is a showcase for Pacific Northwest artists, design and innovation. Come visit us at the FriendShop to see what else we are working on and how you can easily be a part of something big.

First Library Card Recognition

The Friends provide a program for children six and under getting their first library card.  Upon signing up for their first library card at any branch, children receive a child-sized book bag with a special design celebrating this milestone.

Want to Get Involved?

The Friends have many ways to get involved, including becoming a member, joining the board, volunteering at our book sorting facility, helping out with book sales, donating books, and working in the FriendShop at the Central Library.

Join us for a great way to meet new people who share your love of books and libraries.

Become a member

  • Membership is a great way to show your support for the Seattle Public Library, help fund library programs, and encourage reading in our community.

FriendShop Volunteer

  • The FriendShop application is for volunteering at the FriendShop gift shop at the Central Library in downtown Seattle. Meet people from around the world and get a special volunteer discount at the Shop. We love volunteers with great customer service skills. Apply today!

Join the Board

  • Want to help the Friends in their endeavors as a member of the board? The board meets once a month and has several sub-committees (communication and advocacy, board development, sponsorship and finance). Apply below!

Book Sales and Sorting

HUGE Book Sale 2016 - Volunteers

  • Thanks for your interest in volunteering as a book sorter. Currently, we have filled all of our volunteer slots at the sorting facility and have a large waiting list. Please check back in the future to see if we need more volunteers at that time.


Educating the public about the programs available through the Library, and advocating for support of these programs to citizens and elected officials are important functions of The Friends. In past years, Friends have collected signatures and testified to the City Council, resulting in a restoration of proposed cuts to Library hours and programs. The Friends were also involved with the successful Libraries for All bond issue and the more recent Library Levy.

2015 – In October, the Friends sponsored candidate forums in each district and at the Seattle Central Library for the two City-wide Council positions and asked all candidates in the primary for City Council to answer three questions about their support of the Library, and posted the responses. Friends members also met with City Council members to support the Library’s 2016 operating and capital budgets, and to request more funding to keep all libraries open every day.

2013 – The Friends sponsored a forum for Mayor Candidates.

2012 – The Friends of the Seattle Public Library were a driving in force in passing the Library Levy. From a library press release, “In 2012, Seattle voters improved access to critical educational and literacy resources for every resident by passing a seven-year, $123 million Library levy… The levy provides an average of $17 million annually to stabilize funding, support the Library’s Strategic Plan and Service Priorities and address four areas identified by the community: (1) Keep libraries open, (2) More books and materials, (3) Improve computer and online services, and (4) Maintain buildings.”

For more information about the Friends Education and Advocacy activities, please contact

Our Board


Jill Novik  President
Steve Griggs  Vice President
Sue Baird  Secretary
Lori Cleaves  Treasurer


Wil Anderson
Roger Atlas
Sue Baird
Carmen Bendixen
Bur Davis
Lori Cleaves
Steve Fawthrop
Susan Gilmore
Steve Griggs
Rebecca Herzfeld
Anne Hurt
Elaine Marklund
Tema Nesoff
Jill Novik
Joelle Pretty
Eric Sorlien
Cindy Thomas
Rona Zevin


Alice Springer  Book Sale Director
Lisa Lee  FriendShop Manager


Want to help the Friends in their endeavors as a member of the board? The board meets once a month and has several sub-committees (Advocacy, Communication and Education (ACE), Board Development,and Finance). Apply below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *