Ken Ryals named new executive director of the King County Library System Foundation

Social impact leader to head fundraising division of the King County Library System

The King County Library System (KCLS) is pleased to announce that the King County Library System Foundation (KCLSF) has hired a new executive director. Ken Ryals will assume the role on September 8, and will report to the KCLSF board of directors.

Ryals is skilled at building programs, partnerships and teams to achieve local and global impact, and has a deep understanding of philanthropy, nonprofits and community affairs. He joins KCLSF after 17 years at Microsoft, most recently as the head of marketing communications, philanthropies and corporate social responsibility.

Ryals earned a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He also serves on the AAA Washington board of trustees and the Pacific Lutheran University alumni board, and is a volunteer coach for the Boys and Girls Club.

Kristin Barsness has been serving as the Foundation’s interim executive director since October 2019 when the former executive director, Beth Castleberry, vacated the role. The search for a new executive director was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Barsness was asked to extend her leadership past initial timelines and expectations.

"We are impressed with Ken and his broad array of professional skills and experiences, and we look forward to seeing the Foundation continue to grow under his leadership,” stated KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “And we thank Kristin for her tremendous contributions and dedication to KCLSF, and for graciously extending her leadership during this time.”

“Many, many thanks to Kristin for guiding the Foundation with professionalism, skill, courage and grace during our leadership transition,” added KCLSF Board President Kris Kaminishi. “During a time of change and unrest in our communities, and in the country at large, Kristin was the steadying force that helped the Foundation move forward. As we enter this new chapter of growth, we are so excited to welcome Ken on board, who has spent his career at the intersection of philanthropy, corporate, tech and community—all areas of expertise that will serve the Foundation well.”

KCLSF promotes literacy, learning and libraries by providing support beyond public funding for initiatives and resources that enable KCLS to better serve the needs of our community. KCLS and KCLSF work together to offer core library services while making creative ideas and pilot programs possible.