Mission, Vision, & Values


The mission of the King County Library System is to provide free, open, and equal access to ideas and information to all members of the community.

Principles of Service

  • Provide open, non-judgmental access to collections and services without regard to race, citizenship, age, educational level, economic status, religion, or any other qualification or condition.
  • Provide free access to, and promote the communication of, ideas and information.
  • Advocate and support First Amendment rights and the Library Bill of Rights, and protect library materials from censorship.
  • Create an environment which encourages users to encounter the rich diversity of concepts on which a democratic society depends.


  • Provide collections and services to meet community needs and interests.
  • Promote the King County Library System and the awareness and use of library resources, services and programs.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships with other libraries and with cultural, educational, social and informational agencies.
  • Attract and develop a high-quality staff with special skills, knowledge and abilities to help library users. Create an environment which motivates staff to achieve high levels of performance and productivity.
  • Exercise prudence in the utilization of human, financial and physical resources.
  •  Utilize appropriate technologies to maintain and improve library operations and services.
  • Provide and maintain appropriate facilities.


An Intellectual Adventure for Everyone
The King County Library System builds valued relationships with our users so they can grow in knowledge and wisdom. We're here to spark curiosity and growth. KCLS guides patrons to an unparalleled collection of stories, books, computers, CDs, Internet resources, services, and programs. The choices will surprise you.

The Heart of the Community
Our libraries are the knowledge commons for our communities. The buildings themselves reflect the community. The staff's passion to have libraries change lives is expressed in the arrangement and presentation of materials and services. It is at the library that relationships are formed among staff, patrons, and ideas. Creating this bond helps forge healthy, vibrant, informed, and economically viable communities.

We Make It Easy
Convenience for patrons drives our service. We seek to understand what patrons need. Libraries are strategically located and designed with an eye toward patron self-sufficiency. Resources are organized and delivered to reduce barriers. Technology gives access beyond that which can be provided in person or in print. And always, library staff are here to help.

One System
The King County Library System operates as one where unity provides value. The system-wide approach to collections, technology, and general support of library operations frees the staff to concentrate on service, and results in buildings and collections that are maximized around the needs of patrons. This system-wide approach differentiates The King County Library System. It's why KCLS is the best public library in the United States.


At the heart of all services provided by the King County Library System are certain fundamental values. They are beliefs that unite us and goals that inspire us. Our firm belief that libraries make a difference in people's lives is complemented by the library system's mission to provide free, open, and equal access to ideas and information for all members of the community.

The way these core values find expression evolves over time. But the values themselves remain constant. In times of change and challenge, and in pursuit of our mission, we affirm these values.

We value fair and equal access to information by...

  • Providing access for all regardless of qualifications
  • Ensuring confidential use of the library and a right to privacy
  • Providing diversity in materials and programs that encourage discovery, enhance personal development, support educational and cultural programs, and contribute to recreational activities

We value outstanding public service and strive to...

  • Recognize our unique role and responsibilities to act in the public interest
  • Emphasize the importance of diversity among our customers and staff provide numerous gateways to information
  • Offer new technologies for learning opportunities
  • Respond to our customers with information, integrity, courtesy, and urgency
  • Encourage our staff members to be active in their communities

We value the involvement of our public, our customers by...

  • Recognizing that it is for them that we provide service
  • Welcoming comments and responding with honesty and respect seeking opinions on policies and services encouraging links to communities through local library advisory boards, Friends of the Library groups, volunteers, and coalitions
  • Working together to make a positive contribution to libraries and in society

We value the people who work with us and for us, and we...

  • Attract, develop, reward and retain an outstanding staff
  • Treat each other with respect, dignity, fairness, and equality
  • Create an environment of teamwork, participation, and creativity
  • Support initiative, diversity, and openness to new ideas
  • Encourage imagination, vision, and humor
  • Show respect for our colleagues and their commitment to the highest standards of quality and professionalism
  • Develop opportunities for attaining professional and personal goals and celebrate our achievements
  • Ensure open and honest communication throughout the System
  • Recognize the contributions of all staff members, whether in direct service or behind the scenes