Mar 27, 2024 - History

This week in history: Library amnesty

Books on a library shelf.

Seattle Public Library books. Photo: Kevin Schafer/Getty Images

Here's a look at some of the March historical events in the city, sourced from state history encyclopedia HistoryLink and local newspaper archives.

March 26, 1970: The Seattle Public Library suspended fines for a day, and Seattleites responded by returning nearly 9,000 overdue books.

  • It was the first time the library extended temporary amnesty for late book returns and fine forgiveness, which it would offer in new forms throughout the years.
  • In 2020, SPL abolished fines altogether, saying the fines "discourage people who can't afford them from using the Library, and we want everyone in our community to have equitable access to our programs, services and collections."

March 26, 2000: The Kingdome, home of chaotic indoor fireworks and the best season the Mariners ever had, was demolished by implosion on this day, as onlookers watched a live broadcast of the ashtray-like structure caving in on itself. Farewell to an icon.

March 26, 2005: The Rat City Roller Girls, now known as Rat City Roller Derby, held their first bout at Southgate Roller Rink, with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporting from the scene.

  • It was the birth of a Northwest tradition, as female athletes shepherded roller derby from its cheesy 1970s roots into a very early-2000s future, complete with a Joan Jett soundtrack.
  • "This isn't your mama's rollerama," said P-I reporter Athima Chansanchai, but rather "a legion of helmeted hellions on wheels."
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