Excerpt: In a 1998 outpouring of love and money, city voters approved the largest library bond proposition in American history, a $196.4 million tax measure called Libraries for All that built a new central library downtown and built or renovated 26 neighborhood branches.
But five rounds of city budget cuts since 2009 have chipped away at library hours, materials and staffing. The city has lopped off 9 percent of the library's budget, forcing the system to close for a week each summer and to shutter more than half of the city's libraries two days a week.
With even deeper cuts anticipated in 2013, the Seattle City Council appears headed for an operating levy that would supplement city funding.
The library system's 2012 operating budget totals $51.8 million.