A new year at the King County Library System

Director recounts successes during her first year.

  • Friday, January 4, 2019 10:43am
  • Opinion

By Lisa Rosenblum

Special to the Reporter

^

On Jan. 16, I will celebrate my one-year anniversary as executive director for the King County Library System (KCLS), a wide-ranging job in more ways than one.

Coming from New York City, where I rarely needed a car, I’ve been struck by the sheer size of King County during visits to our community libraries. From Skykomish and Richmond Beach in the northeast and northwest corners of the county, to Federal Way, Enumclaw and Muckleshoot bordering Pierce County to the south, KCLS covers a lot of territory in providing library services to our residents.

As I look back on 2018, here are a few of the many highlights from my first year:

KCLS received a 5-Star rating from Library Journal. In the category “Libraries with Annual Expenditures Exceeding $30M,” KCLS was one of only five libraries nationwide to receive five stars — the highest rating — and received one star higher than the previous year.

Supported by a $100,000 grant from Google, IdeaX Makerspace at the Bellevue Library opened in April to provide opportunities for hands-on STEAM learning for youth and adults. Further reinforcing the importance of programs that teach science, technology, engineering, art and math skills, The Boeing Company awarded KCLS an $80,000 grant that will support the ideaX Makerspace at the Federal Way Library, which is scheduled to open in 2019.

In 2017, the state Legislature approved a bill to increase the size of the KCLS board from five to seven members. Two new members were appointed in 2018, fulfilling a commitment to provide greater representation from more areas of the county.

Looking ahead at what promises to be another busy year for the King County Library System, there are many reasons for excitement. In the spring, KCLS will reopen the renovated Boulevard Park Library and a new Kent Panther Lake Library — KCLS’ 50th. Staff and patrons look forward to celebrating the opening of this highly-anticipated library for the Panther Lake community, as well as the culmination of a successful capital bond program that was approved by voters in 2004.

The American Library Association will hold its midwinter meeting in Seattle Jan. 25­–29. I have been invited to be a panel speaker at the conference, which focuses on “The Future of Libraries.” I truly believe public libraries are more relevant than ever in this digital age, where inequities still exist and the need for assistance in finding a job, learning to speak English, filing taxes, accessing social services, studying for exams, or exploring new careers is greater than ever. New and continued partnerships with community leaders and organizations will help us provide cost-effective programs and services that best address our local communities’ needs and interests.

From all of us at KCLS, happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you in 2019.

Lisa Rosenblum is the director of the King County Library System.

More in Opinion

What I learned about life from Mr. Rogers | Column on Faith

A monthly column by a Mercer Island pastor.

Best Buddies include everyone | Windows and Mirrors

North Creek’s new club this year works to promote inclusion and helps students make friends and connections.

Prom after parties and safety | Dear YFS column

Dear YFS answers community questions (submitted and posed).

Libraries are places of connection and community pride | Library column

Written by Lisa Rosenblum, the director of the King County Library System.

Take ‘eating clean’ to a whole new level

Avoid foods made with chemicals, support natural detox.

Are sheriffs above the law?

Washington voters have spoken on I-1639. Sheriffs need to set the stage to follow their oath of office - and enforce the law.

The difficulty of aging in place | Windows and Mirrors

Living on a fixed income in an increasingly expensive region is not easy.

Metzger says farewell to Reporter

Mercer Island Reporter journalist leaving staff after more than four years.

Talking with your children about gender

Youth and Family Services answers local questions.

Sound Publishing’s seven Eastside newspapers are Bellevue Reporter, Kirkland Reporter, Mercer Island Reporter, Redmond Reporter, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Issaquah Reporter and Snoqualmie Valley Record.
Sound Publishing’s Eastside newspapers are moving to new home in Kirkland

New advertising director joins Eastside news team

In lieu of a perfect world | Windows and Mirrors

Violence in the world will happen but we shouldn’t just resign ourselves to it.

A triangle, a round ball and the shape of things to come

Jerusalem International YMCA a beacon of peace.