KCLS’ Green Initiative: Pay to Print Kiosks and a New Printing Policy

Starting March 1, 2020, each patron will have a weekly allowance of $1.50. This will allow patrons to print 10 black and white prints, or three color prints—or some combination of both—at no charge.

The Green Initiative is part of the King County Library System's (KCLS’) overarching Strategic Framework, which aligns and guides our work. Through this initiative, KCLS is working to implement sound environmental practices, including reducing paper and plastic waste, cutting costs of supplies and improving operational efficiencies.

In 2019, KCLS developed a new printing policy under the Green Initiative. The new policy reduces the amount of free print copies per week, which will help conserve both environmental and financial resources. We have installed Pay to Print kiosks in all of our libraries, and are now ready to put the new printing policy in place.

The kiosks enable patrons to print (with payment) over their free weekly allowance, and a convenient way to pay library fines, with cash, debit card or credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The King County Library System (KCLS) is always working to conserve financial and environmental resources.

    The ever-increasing volume of printing, and the associated costs with offering each patron 75 free pages per week, has become unsustainable.

    The cost for paper, toner, printers, maintenance and repairs exceeded one million dollars per year, and used 10,000 trees worth of paper.

  • Our ongoing Green Initiative projects address both fiscal responsibility and resource conservation. We are continually monitoring our paper use, and have taken steps to reduce printing by:

    • Using electronic business communications and Cloud file-sharing to cut our office paper use.
    • Printing fewer marketing materials.
    • Offering email instead of print receipts at the self-service stations.
    • Reducing the need to print paper contracts by using DocuSign to collect electronic signatures.
  • The Seattle Public Library, Kitsap Regional Library and Tacoma Public Library charge for all public printing.

    The Puyallup Public Library, Everett Public Library and Sno-Isle Libraries offer some printing at no charge.

  • Over the past 15 years, under the Capitol Bond Building Program, we have been incorporating green building practices into library renovations and new construction. These sustainable practices and system upgrades use less energy and cost less to maintain and operate. For example, we have installed:

    • State-of-the-art software to measure and control building energy use. In 2018 alone, we saved $216,852 in energy costs.
    • Energy-efficient fluorescent and L.E.D. lights, which use less electricity as incandescent lights, for the same level of illumination.
    • Low-flow plumbing fixtures for toilets, sinks and showers to conserve water.