I had a remarkable experience earlier this evening. I went to City Hall to sign in and speak in front of the Seattle City Council on behalf of the library's books and materials budget, of which the proposed budget is $2.2 million short. I stood in line to sign up for 90 minutes, then waited another hour or so to speak. The council chambers were packed with groups waiting to speak on critical human services parts of the budget, including senior citizen centers, chicken soup brigade, mentoring programs, and the Boys & Girls Club. I was glad to see Jean Godden chairing the session. She is a former newspaper columnist whose ear I used to tickle regularly on behalf of the Seattle Art Museum when I worked there. You have to feel sympathy for the council in these tough economic times, trying to balance a budget that is $7 million too high right now. I did get to work in my view that the two greatest privileges of American citizenship are hot showers and free library cards.