King County Library System Foundation received an $800,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, which supports communities through the power of the arts and humanities. The funding will be used to house two Memory Labs at the King County Library System (KCLS). One Memory Lab will be located in the Bellevue Library Makerspace and the other will be in the Federal Way Library Makerspace.The
KCLS will work with community partners during the Memory Lab project to gather, amplify and preserve the stories of patrons who have been impacted by systemic inequities, and language and cultural barriers. The five-year project will focus on two key audiences: Asian Americans and their descendants in the Bellevue area who were displaced from their homes and farms during World War II, and immigrants and refugees who now call King County home.
The Memory Lab project is designed to help participants and patrons:
- Feel an increased sense of connection to one another.
- Share their stories in ways they couldn’t before.
- Have a better understanding of how people’s lives have been shaped by systemic factors.
Beginning in 2026, KCLS will record participants’ stories in the sound booths at both Makerspace locations. The collection of stories will be archived on the KCLS website and through StoryCorps, a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing stories. In 2028, KCLS will host two events — one at each Makerspace — to showcase the Memory Lab stories.
“KCLS is thrilled to receive Mellon Foundation funding for our new and innovative Memory Lab project,” stated KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “We look forward to centering and celebrating these important stories by creating an enduring collection for all to experience.”
“The Mellon Foundation has provided us with an incredible opportunity to honor patrons through storytelling,” stated KCLS Foundation Executive Director Lisa Yamasaki. “We’re excited to help shine a light on the moments and narratives that have shaped our communities.”
To learn more about the Memory Lab project and find out how to participate, contact KCLS-MemoryLab@kcls.org.