The survey was part of an overarching "rebranding strategy" the library is considering. The board is scheduled to vote at its regular meeting on Oct. 28. The strategy could cost another $570,000 in 2016-2017, if the library implements the rebranding process.
Results of a Seattle Public Library survey, on whether it should change its name to Seattle Public Libraries, are in.
Short version: thumbs down.
The library released the survey results on Wednesday. Disseminated online from Sept. 18 through Oct. 11, the survey received 14,083 responses. Ninety-three percent of respondents were Seattle Public Library cardholders.
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Part of an overarching “rebranding strategy” the library is considering, the survey asked for responses to the proposed name change.
The most negative response was to this question: “Does the proposed name change help us move forward as an essential part of the Seattle community?”
Seventy percent of the respondents voted no.
In answer to the question of which name “better evokes the value of communities,” 51.56 percent voted for The Seattle Public Library; 48.44 percent voted for Seattle Public Libraries.
Respondents were asked to react to this proposed brand statement: “The Library provides access to knowledge, experiences and learning for all. We preserve and create opportunities for the people of Seattle who make it such a dynamic and desirable place to live. When we’re empowered as individuals, we become STRONGER TOGETHER.” The survey asked: Will this brand statement move us forward as an essential part of the Seattle community?
Respondents were divided equally on this question; 49.96 percent yes, 50.4 percent no.
The survey report provide a sample of comments, both pro and con.
One respondent who voted yes liked the idea of the library fostering “individual empowerment…..fostering community strength is a beautiful idea!”
Others were clearly annoyed with the library’s expenditure of $365,000 in private funds on the strategy, developed by the firm Hornall Anderson. “This is a stupid waste of taxpayer money,” said one respondent. “I love the library. I love all libraries. I can’t believe the library is wasting money on consultants and rebranding to go plural…..spend the money on wages and new books and materials or a public awareness campaign.”
The rebranding effort has also attracted widespread criticism in the media – in a report in the Seattle Review of Books, writer Laurel Holliday pointed out that the survey was available only to those who could take it online, and only in English.
The library board now has to decide what to do with this information, and whether to move forward with the strategy, which could cost another $570,000 for the years 2016-2017, to implement the name change. It could accept the whole rebranding proposal, or parts of it, or not accept any of it, City Librarian Marcellus Turner told the board at an Oct. 10 special meeting. The board is scheduled to vote at its regular meeting on Oct. 28.