KCLS: focusing on knowledge, equity and inclusion

As a public institution, the King County Library System serves people of all ages, abilities, genders, ethnicities, cultures and economic backgrounds. The values that guide our work – knowledge, diversity, equity and inclusion, and intellectual freedom – ensure that patrons have equal access to our libraries and that all feel welcome.

Demonstrating our values means addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities. It is also an opportunity to build understanding and connection among community members who have different life experiences.

Throughout the year, KCLS shines a light on diversity by offering programs tied to monthly observances that celebrate, commemorate or raise awareness of issues, groups or events. From Autism Awareness Month (April) to LGBT Pride Month (June) to Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November), multi-cultural programs provide opportunities for library patrons to acknowledge the experiences that define us as individuals and recognize the characteristics that bond us as human beings.

KCLS plays an important role as convener, bringing people together in a welcoming environment to learn from experts and from each other. For example, in Tukwila, where more than 80 world languages are spoken in school, the Tukwila Library participated in Welcoming Week, a national movement to bring immigrants, refugees and native-born residents together to highlight the benefits of a welcoming society. Throughout the week, library visitors could feel part of a larger community whether they gathered to discuss topics of interest, enjoy a documentary screening or simply read a book.

We enjoy tremendous freedoms and liberties as citizens of the United States. But for others who have fled war-torn countries or oppressive regimes, it may be difficult to understand the concept of a public library founded on the principles of Intellectual Freedom. Every day, our staff has the privilege to introduce newcomers to their public library, a trusted institution where one can seek knowledge from all points of view without restriction.

And where everyone is welcome.

Lisa Rosenblum is director of the King County Library System.

More in Opinion

Even with postage paid, voters couldn’t send ballots on time

While those ballots don’t get counted, taxpayers still must pay the Postal Service for delivering them

Move forward on water quality standards

In an unfortunate reversal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to… Continue reading

Lampson beating odds for family-owned businesses

They are the backbone of the American economy

Much needed dose of Yogi Berra’s wit and wisdom | Brunell

With today’s tension and rancor, we need a dose of Yogi Berra’s… Continue reading

Their I-940 made the ballot, but not the version they prefer

A much-divided state Supreme Court blew up an unusual compromise when it… Continue reading

High court to decide fate of gun control ballot measure

The fate of a sweeping gun control ballot measure is in the… Continue reading

Will Trump trip help GOP’s congressional races?

Expect mega money to be spent on campaigns in the next three months

Tribes support sea lion removal legislation

Federal legislation allowing lethal removal of more sea lions in the lower… Continue reading

Blue wave crashes through Republican lines drawn in primary showdown

Democratic challengers leading in nearly a dozen legislative districts across the state

American giving surpassed $400 billion | Brunell

Philanthropy is what we continue to do well

KCLS expanding its role as a community partner

With summer in full swing, it seems an excellent time to celebrate… Continue reading