Director’s Blog May 2024

Spring is around the corner, so I’m told. As a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, I was struck by the fact that last weekend, people could choose between snow skiing and Opening Day of boating season.

We all love having choices, and the King County Library System offers plenty of them this month. Programs, classes and events are being held as we celebrate Older Americans Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian American Heritage Month and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

KCLS joins these nationwide campaigns to bring our diverse communities together and to increase knowledge and understanding. This month’s celebrations feature special author events and lots of website information, including a dedicated page for older adults and staff-curated booklists.  

KCLS is partnering with Carco Theater in Renton for the first-ever Read with Pride and Joy Book Fair on May 10, from 3-8pm. The fair centers on books for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

In the coming weeks, KCLS also will ensure that patrons know about the range of assistance available to them as we mark Mental Health Awareness Month. The Library System takes this topic seriously, offering resource centers, mobile clinics, Veterans support, Peers in Libraries, and other help this month and throughout the year.

In addition, the Maple Valley Library will host a special Healthy Habits, Healthy Minds workshop for teens May 28, and Kenmore Library on May 29 will host a program, In Our Own Voice, featuring personal stories of mental-health conditions.

The staff-curated titles for each monthly celebration will provide patrons even more reading choices for KCLS’ year-long 1 Million Reads campaign. Explore the lists and join this reading challenge!

We’re looking forward to May, but I’d like to take a quick look back to acknowledge a successful Día event, which drew more than 350 people to Auburn Library April 27. Also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), Día is a nationally recognized initiative connecting children and their families from all nationalities to diverse books, languages, and cultures through activities at libraries and schools. Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, Se Habla Media Anchor Jaime Méndez, poet Mateo Acuña and Latin American musician Marco Cortes joined KCLS staff in the celebration. The event featured Story Times in world languages, including Ukrainian, Spanish, Lushootseed and Marshallese; KCLS distributed over 105 multilingual books over the course of the day. At the conclusion of the event, a world language community listening session was held to help KCLS understand the perspectives and lived experiences of immigrants, refugees, English Language Learner (ELL) individuals and multilingual communities.

I’d like to remind people that KCLS libraries will be closed Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.

Until then, be sure to visit your local library to learn something new, get to know our knowledgeable staff, and connect with your neighbors. At KCLS, there is something for everyone!