Libraries are places of connection and community pride

A public library is often considered the heart of the community, providing programs and services that bring people together and create opportunities for meaningful connections.

Visit the library on any given day and you will see young mothers commiserating at story times; adults and teens seeking guidance at career-planning programs; budding inventors comparing ideas at maker workshops; local book clubs discussing a latest bestseller; and more.

The King County Library System (KCLS) has connected communities for more than 75 years, offering a place where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential through learning, exploration, and engagement.

A great example is an event our Tukwila Library hosted on Feb. 8. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Grammy award-winning artist Ciara, were on hand to launch Dream Big: Anything is Possible. Aimed at empowering youth to develop leadership skills and prepare for the future, this exciting campaign will provide funds to expand KCLS’ Teen Voices program to five more libraries. It also will offer scholarships for students to attend trade school, community college or university.

Also unveiled at the event were two limited-edition, KCLS library cards designed by artist Keegan Hall and depicting Russell and Ciara, much to the delight of teens in the audience, who were special guests at the event. Dream Big is the result of a partnership between KCLS, KCLS Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, and the Why Not You Foundation, Russell and Ciara’s philanthropic organization. You can learn more at kcls.org/dreambig.

Another program that drew a large crowd featured Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks,” at the Kirkland Library in March. A standing-room-only crowd of 80 enthusiastic patrons came to hear the anti-ageism activist, and many stayed afterward to continue the discussion about creating an age-friendly world.

March also marked an important milestone with the opening of KCLS’ 50th library – Kent Panther Lake. While all libraries are points of pride, Panther Lake residents had a special reason to celebrate; there has never been a library in that area before. A vibrant crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 people turned out on March 23 for a first glimpse of their new community library.

Over the past 15 years, KCLS has built 17 new libraries, renovated 15 libraries and expanded 11 libraries, thanks to a $172 million capital bond measure passed by voters in 2004. Our final project – the renovated Boulevard Park Library – is slated to reopen in May. Coming full circle, Boulevard Park was one of the first communities to join the King County Rural Library District in 1942.

KCLS’ service area now spans 2,300 square miles from Richmond Beach to Enumclaw, Vashon to Skykomish. We invite you to visit one, two or all 50 of our libraries. Complemented by a knowledgeable staff and a wide range of innovative programming, each one offers a welcoming and familiar place for residents to gather and connect.

Lisa Rosenblum is director of the King County Library System.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Helping community organizations as we respond to the coronavirus

Now, more than ever, nonprofits need gifts of time and money

TP shortage is tip of iceberg

Whether it be supplies of daily necessities, medicines or protective clothing, we need to have to patience, understanding and a desire to work together.

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Coronavirus testing telecommuting effectiveness

Employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40 percent in the past 5 years

Legislative session ends with plenty of hits and misses

OLYMPIA — The 2020 regular legislative session is coming to a close.… Continue reading

As the deadline nears, state lawmakers face a few challenges

As state lawmakers in Olympia enter the final turn of the 2020… Continue reading

Brunell’s treatise on Lower Snake River dams is flooded with falsehoods

Don Brunell’s recent column, “Dams are the Northwest’s Flood Busters” (Jan. 24,… Continue reading