Director’s Blog June 2024

It’s June, and for the King County Library System, it is a time for Summer Reading—and a lot more.

At KCLS, we are excited about launching our annual program, as well as hosting other June celebrations that honor diversity and build community.

On Monday, June 17, KCLS officially kicks off the Summer Reading Program, featuring reading challenges, prizes and programs for people of all ages to enjoy after the school year ends.

Summer Reading, which runs through August 31, offers inspiration, fun activities and community engagement. But it is important in other ways, too.  While research shows that student achievement still lags due to the COVID-19 pandemic, studies also point to summer reading as a remedy. When students continue reading whatever interests them during the summer months, they are far less likely to fall behind academically and are more prepared for the coming school year.

KCLS recommends reading 20 minutes a day, and eBooks and audiobooks count. You can track your reading either with a printed log you can pick up from your library, or through the Beanstack app. Adults are also encouraged to schedule daily reading time, modeling its importance for kids.

Some communities are so eager for Summer Reading, they’re starting early.

On June 15, a kickoff celebration at Federal Way 320th Library features a 2pm performance by Alex Zerbe, a two-time Guinness World Record Holder voted Seattle’s Funniest Prop Comedian. The celebration also includes chalk art, a library scavenger hunt, “book tasting,” reading notebooks, popsicles and more.

Woodinville, Issaquah and Maple Valley Libraries are also kicking off festivities on June 15, with Burien (June 20) and other libraries following suit later in the week. Check our website for Summer Reading events.

If you want a big head start on all the fun, bring a book to Federal Way on June 6 and enjoy Summer Reading in the Park.

Don’t forget to check out this summer’s Community Resource Fairs, which offer mental health, education, financial and other assistance and information.

June is also the time we celebrate the diversity of King County with Pride Month, Juneteenth and World Refugee Day.

KCLS will be closed June 19 in honor of Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery. We are celebrating African American freedom and heritage with staff-curated booklists and special events, including a Freedom Celebration June 15 at Renton Library. Come enjoy a Juneteenth-themed Children’s Story Time, a poetry workshop and performance, a community art project and other activities.

Staff have created Pride Month booklists as well as a number of arts and crafts programs to celebrate LGBTQ+ history, culture and stories. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) staff emphasizes that Pride Month celebrates the resilience and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, honoring the journey toward acceptance and equality. It is a time to highlight diverse identities and experiences and to emphasize the importance of fostering an inclusive environment—one of KCLS’ core values. 

World Refugee Day is June 20, and KCLS has partnered with community organizations to host a World Refugee Global Village event at Tukwila High School on June 22. Last year’s World Refugee Day event drew 600 participants and 40 community-based organizations.

Don’t forget to check out this month’s KCLS Foundation Author Salons. There is still room available in these special events. A June 5 event at the Korean restaurant Revel features Jane Wong, author of Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City and chef/restaurateur Rachel Yang.

On June 28, an Author Salon and dinner at Bella Luna Farms features Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, head judge of Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight and author of Flower Love: Lush Floral Arrangements for the Heart and Home. To sign up, visit

In other news, the Bellevue Library, which has been offering limited services due to construction, will reopen with full services on June 8.

As you can see, there is so much to enjoy this month—and every month—at KCLS. Join us for the fun!