KCLS awarded $364,480 ARPA grant from the Washington State Library to advance digital equity and expand services

The King County Library System (KCLS) received a $364,480 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant through the Washington State Library. This grant is supported with ARPA funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Library Services and Technology Act, through the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented change to our region, yet KCLS rose to the challenge and continued to serve our communities in many innovative ways,” stated KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “This crucial funding further enables KCLS to address our patrons’ evolving needs, both during the pandemic and beyond.” 

KCLS will use the ARPA grant funding to increase digital access and expand services through the following projects:

  1. Install Two Additional Library Lockers
    KCLS installed two external library lockers in 2020 to provide a safe and convenient way for patrons to access physical materials during the pandemic. Located at the Bothell and Covington Libraries, the contactless lockers are available 24/7. KCLS will add two more lockers to expand the popular service; one locker will be installed at a north-end library, and the other will be situated in the south.
  2. Add a New Production Studio for Online Programming
    In response to the pandemic, KCLS moved all in-person programming online. KCLS’ program attendance has since tripled. KCLS will continue to offer online programming to meet the new demand, even when in-person programming resumes. To build on the online format’s success and enhance the digital experience, KCLS will convert an existing meeting room into a production studio. The new studio, located at the Service Center, will be equipped with the technology needed to create cutting-edge online programming.
  3. Upgrade 13 Study Rooms at Selected Locations
    KCLS will outfit 13 existing study rooms with videoconferencing equipment at selected library locations. The study rooms will feature laptop kits with a high-definition video camera and microphone. The new setup will be ideal for conducting virtual meetings and job interviews through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online platforms.
  4. Enhance Access to the Board of Trustees Meetings
    Traditionally, KCLS hosts the Board of Trustees meetings in a large conference room at the Service Center. When the meetings moved online during the pandemic, public and staff participation increased significantly. KCLS will upgrade the Service Center’s conference room technology to offer a more robust online viewing platform and allow wider participation in the political process. In the future hybrid model, participants will have the option of attending online or in person, when the Trustees eventually resume meeting at the Service Center.
  5. Upgrade Language Translation Services
    KCLS currently offers language translation services by phone through LanguageLine. KCLS will upgrade the service with a new application-based software that can be used on a tablet or other similar device for communication with live translators via video chat. The new technology further reduces communication barriers by offering service in over 240 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL) for patrons who are unable access the audio-only version.