Director’s Blog April 2023

The King County Library System enters spring with celebratory events and great news.

KCLS last week was named a finalist for the library world’s most prestigious award, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, which recognizes exemplary service and overall excellence. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the highest federal agency representing all libraries across the nation, notified KCLS that it was one of 30 finalists--libraries and museums--for “demonstrating extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service.”

I’m thrilled that KCLS is being recognized as one of the nation’s top libraries. In May, ten National Medal award winners will be announced. Regardless of the outcome, being a finalist amid outstanding competition is like being nominated for an Academy Award; it is a high honor in itself. It reflects the positive engagement and impact KCLS has had on its communities, and the staff’s hard work and commitment to address public needs in ways that transform lives.

This is the first time KCLS has been named a finalist for the IMLS award, and we are the only library system in Washington State to be so honored this year. KCLS also was named the Library of the Year in 2011 by Gale/Library Journal – another prestigious award.

KCLS is dedicated to offering our patrons the necessary resources, information, and services to build critical skills, navigate life's challenges, and flourish in their communities. This IMLS recognition only strengthens our commitment to these goals, and we look forward to continuing to serve our patrons with excellence.

This welcome news comes at a time when we celebrate the importance of all public libraries. National Library Week is April 23-29, and National Library Workers Day is April 25. These dates give us all a chance to honor the hard work done by librarians and other staff, both locally and across the U.S., to serve the public. On April 24, King County Council Chair Dave Upthegrove will present KCLS with a document proclaiming Washington State Library Week and Library Workers Day 2023. I’ll be heading to the Woodmont Library to receive the proclamation.

Other important celebrations this month include National Volunteer Week, National Poetry Month, and the nationwide multicultural celebration, Dia.

National Volunteer Week, April 16-22 honors the thousands of people nationwide who give their time and talents to provide value-added benefits for library patrons. KCLS is strengthened by the commitments of more than 500 volunteers. They provide homework help to students and teach subjects ranging from English language to technology. They also support the Library System through advisory groups, fundraising and book sales. Simply put, KCLS could not meaningfully reach and serve as many people without volunteers.

From April 22-30, KCLS will host special programs and events to celebrate Dia, also known as Children’s Day/Book Day (El Día del niño y del libro), which emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.   

This is the 27th year that KCLS has celebrated this multilingual initiative, connecting children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures through activities at libraries and schools. A special event, featuring multilingual Story Times, author talks and music programs, will be held April 29 at the Renton Library. You can find more information at

Also tied in with literacy is April’s National Poetry Month, which has become one of the largest literary celebrations in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, teachers, librarians, booksellers and others marking the importance of poetry for all cultures.

KCLS has a number of events celebrating poets and the written word, including a poetry contest from April 1-30.  The winner in each of three age groups will receive a $25 gift card, courtesy of the KCLS Foundation. For more information, see

Please join us for any or all of these celebrations!