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Seattle Public Library rejects new name, logo

SEATTLE -- Seattle Public Library won't be getting a new name or new logo.

The library's board of trustees Wednesday evening voted unanimously to reject moving forward with a rebranding but plans to revisit what was learned as it seeks ways to reach more people.

Six residents spoke against the rebranding efforts during public comment before the vote, all generally in agreement that the estimated $1.3 million the project might have cost could be better spent elsewhere.

The library had already spent $365,000 of that $1.3 million exploring name and logo alternatives.

"Instead of spending ungodly amounts of money on (rebranding), why not spend that money on outreach?" asked Don Glickstein. "You don't need to change the name to do that and you don't need to hire an overpriced, for-profit company to do that."

Through a survey last month, the library had collected the public's take on whether or not a new name and logo would help move the library forward. The general consensus appears to have been "no," according to board discussion.

"When you go out and ask people their opinion and they give it to you, you better listen to it," said board member Marie McCaffrey.

But McCaffrey and other members of the board also said they felt the public had been misled by media coverage that focused on the name and logo, while the rebrand strategy encompassed much more than that.

"I've really come to this (meeting) feeling somewhat disappointed that the hard work this body has done for two years has been reduced to whether we should pluralize our name and change our logo," when it's been so much more than that, said board member Tr Maxie.

Glickstein said after the meeting that he thought it was the library's fault for allowing the survey to focus on the name and logo.

He wasn't alone in feeling that the rebranding efforts seemed focused on the name and logo.

Laura Kaufman told the board she thought the money would be better spent creating access to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's old card catalog, indexing stories going back to the 19th century.

She didn't think the rebrand would have helped more people access the library.

"Adding an "s" will not make people think 'Oh, I'll go to the library now,'" Kaufman said.

A vote on trustee Dan Dixon's motion to stop moving forward with rebranding could not come easily, though, as Maxie asked to amend the motion to clarify that the library would only scrap efforts to change the name or the logo. He thought using the term "rebranding" would be too unclear for the public and potentially make anything gained from the process unusable.
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