BIS – Biblioteca Italiana Seattle

Biblioteca Italiana Seattle (BIS) is a library of books, film and music in the Italian language. The BIS collection has grown rapidly since the Italian Cultural Center opened its physical location in North Seattle and currently includes over 2,500 titles. The vast majority of this wonderful collection has been donated by the local community. It spans fiction, history, biography, art, cooking, travel, Italian language learning, and a sizable collection of children’s books. BIS  claims the largest collection of Italian books in the Pacific Northwest and also includes some historical and hard-to-find books and documents about Italians in the Pacific Northwest.  DVDs, CDs, and LPs in the Italian language are also available in this collection.

The catalog is now accessible online at https://bis.libib.com. Users can register to borrow books free of charge. However, your membership contributes to helping us maintain the physical space that houses the biblioteca, and allows us to grow programs like our lecture, film and music series. We invite to you to become a member so these programs can continue to be offered.

The BIS kids and teens collection has been especially helpful for parents who want their children to learn, and/or maintain the Italian language from an early age so it is not forgotten over time. This large collection contains a wonderful variety of books, illustrated works, and comics that parents and children can borrow and enjoy.

Hours of operation

BIS is volunteer run and is open Sundays 2-4 pm. We sometimes have events or situations that will effect hours of operation. Please check our events calendar to confirm hours the biblioteca is open before you stop by. If you need to stop by outside normal hours please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Location

BIS is located in the Italian Cultural Center – Il Punto, at 14300 Greenwood Ave N, Suite A1, Seattle 98133. 

Donations

We have limited space, but we accept donations of new and used books in good condition at the discretion of the BIS staff.

We are especially interested in:

  • Modern Italian fiction and poetry, post-World War II
  • American literature and international classics translated into Italian
  • Bilingual Italian/English editions of Italian works.
  • Originals or copies of documents of historical value relevant to the Italian experience in Seattle, such as old passports, immigration papers, correspondence, member registries of historical Italian clubs in the PNW, old photos portraing the Italian experience in Seattle and the PNW.
  • Old books of historical or documentary importance, as determined by the staff of the BIS.
  • Italian DVDs, music CDs, LPs, 78s
  • Other materials, at the discretion of the staff.

New books can be purchased at www.amazon.com, www.rizzoliusa.com, www.deastore.com or www.libreriapino.com and sent directly to the BIS if you’d like to donate new books.

We do not accept:

  • Children’s books (< 10 year old): we have a lot!
  • Magazines
  • Travel and tourist guides older than 1 year
  • Textbooks, teacher’s manuals, dictionaries: we have a lot! We might accept newer Italian language textbooks, at the discretion of the staff,

Volunteering

We would not be able to operate BIS without volunteers. If you would like to join our pool of volunteers this can help ensure regular library hours and expand them in the near future. BIS volunteers receive orientation and training on how to catalogue books and file them in the collection. Other than being comfortable with using a computer and handling books,  no special skills are necessary. We invite you to contact us to learn more about being a BIS volunteer.

Some BIS reviews:

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog – May 13, 2014

L’Italo-Americano – June 19, 2014

We The Italians – July 2, 2014

Seattle Public Library and King County Library are additional resources for finding Italian literature (both in Italian and English), Italian movies and Italian language learning.