KCLS is committed to serving as cradle of democracy

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 4:44pm
  • Opinion

King County Library System – A Cradle of Democracy

On November 3, 1942, a shared vision of democratic ideals and equal access to information became reality when King County voters approved the formation of the King Country Rural Library District – what we know today as the King County Library System.

With Election Day coming up on Nov. 7, it is fitting to acknowledge the significance of that vote 75 years ago. It established the legal and funding structures to create and maintain a legacy that continues to this day. The King County Library System is one of the most highly regarded library systems in the nation thanks to support from King County voters throughout the years.

With every election, voters are reminded of the responsibilities of citizenship and the importance of civic engagement. Faced with making choices at the ballot box that have social, political and economic ramifications, a knowledgeable and well-informed citizenry is as important as ever.

Libraries can help. A wealth of resources is available at any of KCLS’ 49 locations, and our expert staff is available to help patrons access the information they need to keep current on candidates and ballot measures. KCLS also encourages patrons to actively participate in conversations on topics that affect communities, both locally and nationally. Programs like “Everyone’s Talking About It” bring people together to talk about issues that potentially spark disagreement. The ‘town hall’ format offers a moderated setting that promotes respectful dialog so that audience members can learn from others’ experiences and gain perspective on differing viewpoints.

Working in partnership with King County Elections to help lower barriers and improve access for registered voters, KCLS has ballot boxes at 16 libraries throughout the county: Algona-Pacific, Auburn, Bellevue, Boulevard Park, Covington, Enumclaw, Fairwood, Fall City, Kingsgate, Shoreline, Skyway, Snoqualmie, Valley View, Vashon, White Center and Woodinville. In addition, Bellevue Library is an accessible voting center—one of only four in King County— where trained staff and specialized equipment are available to help voters with disabilities cast a private, independent ballot.

For many residents who are studying to become United States citizens, KCLS offers classes for participants to practice reading and speaking English, and take mock interview and citizenship tests. KCLS proudly hosts naturalization ceremonies throughout the year to we celebrate our newest citizens as they recite the oath of allegiance in culmination of their hard work and determination.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, well-known for his gifts of public libraries across the United States, said, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

In our mission to inspire the people of King County to succeed through ideas, interaction and information, KCLS is committed to keeping the cradle rocking.

More in Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 19, 2018

Carbon tax; gun laws; District 8

When we ban books | Windows and Mirrors

What message does it send when certain stories are censored?

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 12, 2018

District 8 race opinions; Criticism of President

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.

Pak headshot
Freedom to feel safe | Reporter’s Desk

Let’s not forget that July 4 is a day that celebrates the freedoms we have in this country.

Just add water | Editorial

Since 1913, the Valley Record has been one of the threads that bind this Valley together.

Summer — and summer reading — is finally here | Book Nook

The theme this year, Libraries Rock, includes a line‐up of programs and activities for all.

State Dems may abandon caucus chaos in time for 2020

Washington also is considering becoming more significant by moving its primary to early March.

Taking the guess work out of recycling | Guest Column

Waste Management Recycle Corps working with local businesses, residents this summer.

Signature of registered voter is a coveted commodity

The competitive nature of the initiative and referendum season now peaking in Washington.

Photo by Matt Phelps
President, governor or retirement — only Inslee knows his plan

What we do know is that he’s off to Iowa in June to deliver the keynote address at a party fundraiser.