The University Branch Library is just a seven-minute walk from Bellwether’s new Arbora Court Apartments, so the Library was one of the first community resources Resident Services Coordinator Joanna Endo reached out to when she began working at the building this spring. Now, Bellwether has forged a strong partnership with the Seattle Public Library (SPL) that is helping residents access all the library has to offer.
SPL librarians created welcome packets for Arbora Court residents with information about the library’s array of resources and services such as the Summer of Learning program for kids and teens, story times, museum passes, homework help, job and employment resources, and ESL and citizenship classes. At an onsite outreach event in May, librarians helped register residents for library cards and got kids signed up for the Library’s summer reading program.
In June, the Library brought their summer programming onsite by sponsoring a show by local magician AlakaSam. Families enjoyed lemonade, popcorn, the chance to meet and mingle, and the magic show in Arbora Court’s outdoor gathering space. “The Library brought free book giveaways and we were able to register several people for Library cards. We had about 50 attendees,” said Kristin Edstrom, Children’s Librarian at the University Branch of SPL (at right in upper photo and in photo below).
“When we have the library come, we always see children swarming the free book table. They love showing the staff what new books they are taking home,” said Joanna.
Bellwether and SPL collaborated again in late September for an end of summer ice cream social featuring Molly Moon’s. “In addition to meeting other residents and eating yummy ice cream, residents were able to sign up for library cards, learn about library events, and children got free books,” said Joanna.
Through this partnership, Joanna helped librarians learn about who Bellwether serves and how someone can apply for an apartment. Now, Bellwether is on the Library’s resource list of affordable housing providers. “Since Arbora Court’s opening, I know of at least two regular University Branch users who have become permanently housed there,” reports Kristin.
Bellwether Housing is grateful to count The Seattle Public Library among our community partners, and we are also pleased that we can be a resource to SPL patrons seeking housing.