Director’s Blog September 2023

What do you think of when you hear the term “back to school?”

For KCLS, it means kicking off fall efforts to support teachers, parents, caregivers and students as they transition from summer to the school year. These efforts are part of the Library System’s ongoing commitment to literacy and to K-12 and continuing education.

Library staff works year-around to secure grant funding, develop partnerships, and innovate programs online and in-person so support is in place by the time classroom bells ring.

Whether you are getting your child ready for preschool or anticipating a teen’s middle- or high school years, KCLS offers a full spectrum of services and resources, from kindergarten readiness programs and Story Times, to help with homework and college preparation.

This academic support has never been more important. Research shows that disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant drops in reading and math test scores nationwide. Research also shows that students lost social skills without classroom interactions with their teachers and peers.

One of the many ways KCLS supports K-12 education is through special accounts that allow students and teachers access to KCLS’ extensive databases, research materials and resources. Last year, 81,826 students and teachers took advantage of the program, which provides access 24/7 all year. For more information, visit our student and teacher accounts webpage

Thanks to the KCLS Foundation, early childhood education programs like Ready, Set, Kindergarten! and OTTER/Sasquatch instill a love of reading and learning at the earliest ages. Ready, Set, Kindergarten! offers in-person and online learning activities for children ages four to five years who are not yet in kindergarten. The OTTER (grades 1-3) and Sasquatch (grades 4-6) programs are partnerships with schools that provide books for students throughout King County. 

KCLS’ Study Zone offers K-12 academic and personalized support that includes homework help, Reading Buddies, Math Club and Talk Time. Volunteers offer tutoring, spend time with kids to develop reading skills, and help English language learners practice speaking with others.

Study Zone, in fact, has become so popular that KCLS is currently looking for more volunteers. High school students who volunteer can earn community service points toward graduation. For more information, check out

STEM learning also gets a boost from KCLS’ two Makerspaces; one at Bellevue Library and one at Federal Way Library. These spaces teach science, technology, engineering and math skills (STEM) and design through hands-on activities, crafts and exploration.

New this fall is a continuing education program called Career Online High School, which enables patrons to earn an accredited high school diploma as well as a career certificate. You can take classes online with 24/7 access, and get academic support from certified instructors.

For high school students, a special Life After High School online event is being held September 13 to “demystify college application essay questions.”

The fall season also features KCLS activities and events to celebrate Welcoming Week, September 8-17, and National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins September 15 and runs through October 15. Check these links for ways to hear diverse authors, attend community celebrations and more.

Whatever your age, you are welcome in person or online to make your fall season one of learning, fun and empowerment. Be sure to join us!