Greetings from new KCLS Director | Column

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018 3:30pm
  • Opinion

As the new Director of the King County Library System, I am excited to relocate to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as leader of one of the finest library systems in the country—one with such a rich history and promising future.

While I am sorry to have missed KCLS’ 75th birthday celebrations last year, I am happy to be here to mark another important milestone: The completion of KCLS’ $172 million Capital Improvement Plan approved by voters in 2004. Our final two projects, a new Kent Panther Lake Library and the remodel of Boulevard Park Library, will fulfill a promise to patrons to build 17 new libraries, renovate 15 libraries, and expand 11 other libraries and two parking lots.

The Capital Improvement Plan increased the footprint of the Library System by 30 percent; its culmination is definitely cause for celebration.

One of the many reasons that drew me here is KCLS’ new strategic focus, a renewed commitment to listening and responding to our patrons and communities, and to create opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with each other through an array of programs and services.

In my 30 years of experience working at various library systems throughout the country, it is not as common as you might think for libraries to have a clearly defined strategic focus. But it is a critically important leadership tool and one I whole-heartedly embrace. Libraries have the power to change people’s lives and having a specific goal to work toward gives purpose to that power. I am impressed that the undertaking to identify a new strategic focus was not only far-sighted, but incorporated broad public input through surveys, meetings and other community interactions.

I am confident that KCLS’ strategic focus reflects the values our patrons and staff told us were important to them. Those values—knowledge, diversity, equity and inclusion, and intellectual freedom—provide the framework for continuing to build on community partnerships that KCLS has developed over the years. For example, we work with county government to provide library service to incarcerated youth at juvenile-detention facilities. We bring books and programs to summer camps through our partnership with the YMCA. Library staff work with local food banks to provide summer meals for children who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year. And Mobile Services vehicles serve residents in assisted-living facilities, Tent Cities and other locations to connect those who do not have access to a library with the materials, programs and resources they need.

Whether you’re attending a story time with your child, participating in a library-sponsored book club, seeking assistance with income taxes or a job search, attending a program on technology, or simply spending an afternoon browsing the shelves, all of us at KCLS look forward to bringing communities together for a new year of growth, learning and enrichment.

Lisa Rosenblum is the Director of the King County Library System. She started with KCLS on Jan. 16.

More in Opinion

Former Gov. Gary Locke discusses the importance of an accurate census count. Samantha Pak/staff photo
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.

Governor’s watch: timing is everything

Inslee, possible candidates eye 2020 race

I’m still warning about fascism — and now it’s no longer friendly

A political column written by Snoqualmie resident Roger Ledbetter.

Photo courtesy of Nick Wold/Mercer Island High School
                                Students from Mercer Island High School’s Margins program met with various nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, including Watts Towers, where they speak with a representative about the organization’s sustainable garden.
Closing the margins | Windows and Mirrors

How a program at Mercer Island High School is helping students affect social change.

Legislature: History, investigations and new laws

The 2019 session of the Legislature included controversy, compromise, surprise, new law and more.

Guy Palumbo (left) and Derek Stanford
With Palumbo out, capital gains tax gets real for Democrats

His successor could be the vote leaders need. But with elections in 2020, tax may be off the table.

A progressive argument for impeachment | Column

Another perspective for citizens unsure of the situation.

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.

The Record should be the newspaper of record | Editorial

Come have coffee with the editor 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on Friday, May 17, at The Black Dog Cafe.

Start your waste reduction journey | Waste Management column

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s education and outreach manager.