Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) and her Council colleagues honored Seattle Public Library’s Chief Librarian and Executive Director Marcellus Turner with a proclamation today. Turner is leaving the City of Seattle after 10 years to return to the South.
Turner led the Seattle Public Library during two successful levies in 2012 and 2019. He prioritized equality by eliminating overdue fines and allowing people without proof of residence access to library materials. Additionally, Turner led pioneering programs such as adding wi-fi hotspots to circulation so more households have access to the internet, and installing a social worker at the Central Library to better serve Seattle’s homelessness communities.
“Marcellus Turner will be greatly missed by the Seattle community. He exemplified the tenets of public service by expanding SPL’s reach and delivering new programs and policies that make Seattle Public Libraries more equitable. His legacy of kindness and fierce advocacy will remain a cornerstone of our libraries for generations to come,” Juarez said.
Turner’s work has led SPL to be recognized as a top library system in the country. SPL was awarded the 2020 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year, a prestigious award that honors innovative and creative libraries that are role models in their service to the community.
Additionally, Turner led SPL in pivoting library services when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. These services include curbside pickup, expanding digital resources like e-books, and creating virtual story-time and classes to continue to engage kids learning from home.
Juarez surprised Turner with the proclamation during Monday’s Full Council Meeting. The presentation also included a video shout out by one of Turner’s favorite authors, David Baldacci, who delivered a special video message thanking Turner for his public service.
Turner’s last day with the City of Seattle was Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Turner will next serve as the Executive Director and Chief Librarian for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.