Library Service Area Analysis Policy

Policy Owner(s): Library Director

Date of Origin: 2/10
Date(s) of Revision:

The King County Library System (KCLS) maintains and operates library facilities in a prudent and fiscally sound manner and is continually looking for ways to meet public needs while effectively managing public resources. This policy outlines the process for analyzing the distribution of library resources within a particular area to ensure that public resources are applied for the best possible public benefit.


Declining funding, population shifts, building obsolescence or other reasons may require the Board of Trustees to
consider closing and consolidating library facilities. When considering action to alter the distribution of library services,
the following will occur:

  • The Library Director will keep the Board of Trustees informed of situations that may warrant an analysis of the library service area.
  • KCLS staff will conduct a Library Service Area Analysis on an as needed basis, or as part of a regularly scheduled community study.
  • Citizen input will be considered through one or more public meetings and/or other methods of collecting input in advance of a final decision by the Board of Trustees.
  • Public notice of no less than thirty (30) calendar days will be given prior to a final decision by the Board of Trustees.

The Library Service Area Analysis process is used to:

  • Measure how effectively a redistribution of library resources would meet community need.
  • Assess the best configuration of staff and resources to enable the library cluster to provide more programs and services to the community.
  • Determine whether operational efficiencies may be gained by consolidating two smaller libraries into a single, comparably sized or larger facility.
  • Investigate how the current allocation of library resources compares to the rest of the Library System to ensure an equitable distribution across King County.

During a Library Service Area Analysis, the following data will be collected and analyzed (if available):

  • Library usage, including traffic, circulation and computer usage
  • Library operational and staffing costs
  • Socio‐economic demographics
  • Per capita measures
  • Cross‐use with other library jurisdictions
  • Address of patrons frequenting the facility or facilities
  • Size or scale of service in cluster model
  • Local transportation routes, especially transit
  • Area traffic patterns
  • Population centers and growth forecasts
  • Proximity to schools and day cares
  • Proximity to senior living facilities
  • Development in the area, including types of zoning
  • City documentation (from similar area studies)
  • Local area needs assessments (conducted by other agencies or jurisdictions)

Desired Outcomes
Based on the results of a Library Service Area Analysis, KCLS staff may recommend redistribution of library resources. Such recommendations will be made after considering the extent to which an alteration achieves the following outcomes:

  • Results in increased offerings of library programs and services
  • Results in increased library use
  • More effectively meets community need for library resources
  • Provides the community with more sustainable, lower‐cost facilities
  • Creates operational efficiencies
  • Minimizes duplication between two library institutions in the same geographic area
  • Optimizes the regional provision of library services
  • Positions KCLS for new service opportunities and a greater role in building community
  • Provides equitable distribution of library resources across the Library System

DEFINITIONS (if applicable)


  • Redistribution of Library Resources: May include closing or consolidating a library, adding a facility, developing
    services outside the facility, or reducing the size of or expanding a library.