I am a Navy Veteran. I retired as an O-5, commander in the Indian Navy, having held many senior leadership roles in 23 years of distinguished service, including a couple of commands. I migrated to Seattle in 2015, after my retirement, to join my wife, who moved here in 2013.
In my first week in the United States, as a fresh-off-the-boat commander, I attended a workshop conducted by the Small Business Administration. Jay Lyman of Seattle Public Library, through a Library Business Program presentation, opened up the enormous resources that the Seattle Public Library offers to business owners — online and in print — to start and grow businesses. He encouraged me to get a library card, which was the big ticket for free access to many paid services. I have extensively used Statista, Reference USA and Statistical Abstract of USA for my market research. I also used Lynda.com library edition to complete 18 different certifications. I still use it to train and upgrade new skills of my employees.
I had a vision, and Seattle Public Library gave me the tools to work towards my goals. The library business program encouraged, guided, and helped me in creating my business.
I used the library’s online resources to do extensive market research and create a business plan. Through the guidance I got, I have incorporated a Delaware C-Corporation with registered offices in Seattle and a development center in Hyderabad, India. Seattle Public Library helped me to create the world’s first private media network platform mylegacylogs.com.
It is amazing that the library provides such incredible online resources for small businesses and startups. Thank you, Seattle Public Library, in helping me pilot my business through the complex regulatory channels. The help I received from the patient and wonderful staff of the library will go a long way to build my business, and to grow it organically and sustain it over a long period of time.
The libraries serve as a critical bridge between immigrant communities and opportunities too often available only to the privileged and well connected. It levels the playing field through library programs, literacy classes, computer workshops, homework help, and so much more. The library brings resources into traditionally underserved communities. They anchor our neighborhoods, providing job training and educational programs for all people, regardless of background, income, or language ability.
The library levy is not a new tax. It represents 25 percent of the library’s budget, and failure to renew the levy would force cuts to library hours and programs. For just $3 more per month for the average homeowner, we can protect the library’s investments in small business and immigrant communities across our city.
Five years ago, my company was not even a dream. Today, it’s a small business that will contribute to the economy and support the community. Without the library, I could never have found the resources to start my business and achieve my dream. Now, I urge you to maintain access to the Seattle Public Library’s critical services. Please vote “Yes” on Prop 1 by Aug. 6 for a more equitable, welcoming, and livable Seattle for all.
— Srikanth Mukku