Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends. -- Wm. Butler Yeats

Faith and Jenny, Summer of 2011
Faith Sinanan died late this morning after taking on death her way.  Trying to remember dates, I believe that Faith was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.  She walked 60 miles with the Kindred Spirits team for the September 2007 3 Day Walk.  Though my good friend Jenny had talked about her for years, that's where I got to know her.

Until this morning, she was a survivor -- but this past year or so cannot have been easy as she underwent additional treatments for cancer that had metastasized into her brain.   She underwent the famous gamma knife surgery twice.  Jenny was her diarist the last several years, so that all her friends could keep up to date with the travels and deliberate decisions of a truly free spirit while she continued to live life on her own terms.

No one wishes a cancer patient to live in pain or sorrow.  Faith made her plans in a deliberate way and enjoyed life to the fullest while she could, including all the support and good times from her cousin Jenny.  Jenny posted this entry around noon today.

Faith drew her final breath at 11:15 this morning in the same room where she gave birth to Viyda 22 years ago this week.  Gladys and Viyda were with her and her dear friends Sheila and Joan, and of course Bindi (meow) and Gracie (woof).  It is a clear sunny day here in Seattle with brilliant blue skies.  A pair of red-tailed hawks are circling our yard, riding a draft high above.

May you find peace in your heart, knowing our beloved Faith is free. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The library is the most democratic of institutions

I'm testifying this evening on behalf of the Seattle Public Library's budget for 2012.  Here's a copy of what I plan to say.

"I am Annie Searle.  I’ve had a library card for over 30 years, and I use the Northeast, Green Lake and University branches. And I am a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board.

First of all, I would like to thank you for your consistent and thoughtful funding of the Seattle Public Library and its branches over the past several tough years.  We all know how tough the choices are that you have, especially this year.  I’d also like to thank the mayor for recommending no cuts to the Library budget this year.

The Library seems to have led the way over the past several years as it reduced its branch operating hours and staff in branches by 13% or over 9,000 hours per year.  Library staff took a 2% reduction in pay.  And today, 15 of our branches are open only 5 days a week, 7 hours per day.  That’s tough on the neighborhoods they serve.  The Library’s $5 million proposed budget for books and materials is down 14% from the 2010 budget that was adopted.  And, as each of you knows from your own library use, the Library’s 27 heavily used buildings are now in the peculiar position of having both increased traffic  and sorely needed upkeep and maintenance from that traffic.   

Despite the reduced hours and lower investment in books and infrastructure, the library currently has over 500,000 card carrying borrowers.

Especially with the cuts to Seattle schools library programs and in light of reduced operating hours at community centers which are often in close proximity to branches, I ask that you consider restoring some of the collections budget in order to serve what continues to be an increasing number of users at a time when we are still carrying the impacts of prior reductions."