Director’s Blog February 2024

There is so much to celebrate this month at the King County Library System, with programs and events for everyone, ranging from Black History Month and opera to tax help and an upcoming Gala.

First, some great news: KCLS has been ranked the second-highest digital circulating library in the U.S.—and third in the world! OverDrive, the digital reading platform that each year releases statistics, has announced that KCLS had over 8 million digital downloads in 2023 (8,863,118 digital titles to be exact). We knew patrons were taking advantage of our digital collection—eBooks, audiobooks and downloadable audiobooks—but the latest ranking proves it.

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) cited KCLS' Overdrive rankings in its recent announcement welcoming us as its newest member.  KCLS is pleased to join ULC, a national leader in promoting public libraries and the important role they play in strengthening democracy. See the KCLS website for more events and staff book recommendations.

Like libraries across the country, KCLS honors February as Black History Month. Several special events are planned, thanks to a first-ever partnership with Seattle Opera and the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM).

On Saturday, February 10, Federal Way Library will host a recital of the upcoming Seattle Opera production of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. The event, called The Human Family, will feature an afternoon of music from across the ages. Baritone Joshua Conyers will be joined by other cast and chorus members, including sopranos Ibidunni Ojikutu and Ellaina Lewis.

Also in partnership with Seattle Opera, KCLS is hosting an online author event with Thulani Davis, who wrote the libretto for X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. Davis will discuss the opera as well as her recent book, The Emancipation Circuit. The February 24 event is free, but registration is required for the online link.

Another KCLS event offers an extraordinary opportunity to hear author and speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter. She will discuss the enduring power of her father’s message, weaving his biography with her own personal insights. The March 7 evening event, presented through a KCLS partnership with Seattle Opera and the Northwest African American Museum, will be held at the Renton Ikea Performance Center. It is funded in part by the KCLS Foundation.

Speaking of the KCLS Foundation, mark your calendars for the Foundation’s Literary Lions Gala, being held Saturday March 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. The annual benefit raises money through private donations for important literacy and other programs such as Summer Reading, and has been a critical Library System partner for 32 years.

The Gala will honor 20 Literary Lions, including keynote and best-selling author, Chris Bohjalian. Anyone interested in signing up to volunteer should sign up by mid-February. More information can be found on the KCLS Foundation website:

I’d also like to remind our patrons that they can obtain free expert tax help through KCLS partnerships with AARP and United Way. Take action now, before the April 15 tax deadline. More information is available at

As you can see, KCLS has so much to offer–this month and every month. Come visit us­!