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

Breaking barriers | Windows and Mirrors

Spending time in the outdoors has helped veteran Naomi Layco heal physically and mentally after serving in the U.S. Navy.

Working toward a more welcoming Eastside | Windows and Mirrors

Eastside for All has launched to focus on race and social justice advocacy.

Improving safety in Aubrey Davis Park with bike lane projects | Guest Opinion

A local guest opinion regarding planning for bike traffic increases.

History: The untold stories | Windows and Mirrors

What do we not know about the history of the human race?

More than the right to vote | Windows and Mirrors

What does it mean to become a U.S. citizen?

Waste reduction in your home through recycling | Sustainable Sustainability

An Islander’s guide to sustainable living.

We’re better than this | Windows and Mirrors

The effects Trump’s words can have on us.

Reporter publishes new letters policy | EDITORIAL

Letters policy is meant to provide direction and transparency.

We can prevent climate catastrophe | Guest Opinion

C. F. Baumgartner is a Mercer Island resident.

Coffee convo highlights opportunities for Reporter

Event provided genuine conversations aimed at improving the Reporter.

The importance of being counted | Windows and Mirrors

The 2020 Census is coming and that can greatly affect everything from government representation and federal funding.

Proud to be themselves | Windows and Mirrors

June is Pride month and PFLAG Bellevue Eastside has been supporting the local LGBTQ+ community since 1996.