As we've reported, novelist Ryan Boudinot is leading a charge to have Seattle recognized by the United Nations as a UNESCO City of Literature. (To learn more about this program, and to see what it would mean for the city of Seattle, you should click this link.) Today, the City Council is set to vote on a resolution endorsing the bid to become a City of Literature. It's a ceremonial step, but it's an important ceremonial step, as the city's formal support for the cause adds credibility to our application, which is due in late March. And it's always a great thing for Seattle's literary community to receive recognition on an official level. The Council meets this afternoon starting at two to discuss this and other issues. You can watch the meeting live as it happens, or you can go down to the meeting and speak on the resolution during the public comment period.
I've included the text of the resolution below, and here it is on the city's website. If you love Seattle's libraries, bookstores, and thriving literary culture, this is a hugely gratifying document to read:
A RESOLUTION endorsing Seattle's bid to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Literature.
WHEREAS Seattle's commitment to free and creative written expression is evident in its independent booksellers, educational and nonprofit writing programs, presses and journals, literary performances, library system, and the passionate readers and writers who call it home; and
WHEREAS Seattle's literary arts community enriches the city culturally and economically, providing jobs and promoting cultural tourism, giving writers opportunities to develop their craft and readers access to broad, diverse, and unique literary voices from around the world; and
WHEREAS in 1998, the Seattle Public Library launched a program encouraging Seattleites to deepen their engagement in literature through reading and discussing the same book; "Seattle Reads" is now an annual event in its 17th year, and has been widely emulated in cities, states and countries around the world; and
WHEREAS the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the Creative Cities Network to recognize cities with exemplary commitments to the arts of Literature, Cinema, Music, Design, Craft and Folk Arts, Gastronomy, and Media Arts; and
WHEREAS Seattle author Mr. Ryan Boudinot is organizing Seattle's application to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, recognizing that joining this network will create artistic and economic opportunities for the residents of Seattle, as well as opportunities for the world to recognize Seattle's significant contributions to literature; and
WHEREAS Mr. Boudinot has enlisted the support of the Seattle Public Library as well as national literary organizations, including the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, Academy of American Poets, and Associated Writing Programs for Seattle's bid, as well as Nancy Pearl, the only librarian to ever be turned into an action figure, who has agreed to sponsor an International Writers Exchange program in support of Seattle becoming a City of Literature; NOW THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
Section 1. The City of Seattle fully supports Seattle's application to UNESCO to be designated a City of Literature within its Creative Cities Network.
Section 2. The City of Seattle recognizes that a UNESCO City of Literature designation can directly benefit adults and children in Seattle by increasing opportunities for international cultural exchanges, author readings, writing instruction, publishing initiatives, and education programs.
Section 3. The City of Seattle will support its designation as a City of Literature by collaborating with public and private partners to ensure the program's long-term success.
ADOPTED by the City Council the ____ day of _________, 2014, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this _____ day of __________, 2014.