Reflecting on the “Old” and ringing in the “New” Year | Guest Editorial

The final column of KCLS’s interim director, Stephen A. Smith.

  • Thursday, December 28, 2017 9:50am
  • Opinion
Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

By Stephen A. Smith

KCLS Interim Director

What a busy and eventful year this has been. As I write my last column as interim director, it is a great time to reflect on 2017 and eagerly anticipate the years ahead under the leadership of our new King County Library System director, Lisa Rosenblum.

Looking back, I am grateful for the eight months I have spent at KCLS. It has been an honor to serve one of North America’s busiest library systems. I’ve had many memorable experiences, including working with an absolutely stellar staff and meeting hundreds of dedicated and enthusiastic library patrons and volunteers.

My first official duty as interim director was the opening of the beautiful new 10,000 square-foot Tukwila Library on April 29, where I read a proclamation on behalf of Gov. Jay Inslee declaring it “King County Library System Week” to mark the occasion. Throughout the year, I visited every one of our 49 community libraries, some of which I saw three or more times. During this 75th birthday year for the library system, every visit was like opening a present. I observed interesting programs, helpful staff, marvelous art and architecture and a welcoming environment for kids, students, adults and seniors.

Having been a member of the KCLS Foundation board of directors, I knew the library system was on the leading edge of innovative approaches to services and technology. As interim director, I have seen how the organization’s vision and values are put into action every day to address the needs and interests of all King County residents, regardless of circumstance.

Each month, I give a report to the KCLS board of trustees at their regular meeting. Our trustees are community leaders who volunteer their time and energy to set policies, oversee the budget and uphold the mission of the library system. During my tenure, I have been impressed by their commitment to making our libraries exceptional.

As KCLS looks to the future, staff will continue to seek opportunities to create meaningful connections with patrons. Our doors — and our vast collection — are always open to those on a quest for ideas, information and interaction. As I leave KCLS in Lisa Rosenblum’s capable hands, I am proud to have played a small part in supporting the mission of the King County Library System. It has truly been an honor to have worked with a group of professionals who are dedicated to improving the lives of those they serve.

Stephen A. Smith is the interim director of the King County Library System.

More in Opinion

What about inequality? | Letter

One drawback with having so much of the media controlled by billionaires… Continue reading

Funding solution | Letter

Easy way to get rid of King County funding struggles: get rid… Continue reading

Controversial 2018 election mailers were audacious — and legal

Misleading postcards didn’t violate election laws because they touted non-candidates, the PDC found.

Effectiveness of vaccines | Letter

On Jan. 25, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state-wide state of emergency… Continue reading

Why public libraries matter more than ever in the information age | Book Nook

Public libraries are places that are free and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.

Fraudster-in-Chief | Letter

In October 2016, a neighbor explained to me he was supporting then-presidential-candidate… Continue reading

Time for the state to invest in higher education | Guest editorial

Lack of funding of higher education has created a situation that is unsustainable.

Combating bigotry | Windows and Mirrors

Author and journalist Jonathan Weisman visited the Stroum Jewish Community Center to as part of the center’s “Words to the Wise” series.

Country Village is a wonderful place | Letter

Is anyone still outraged by the soon-to-be destruction of Country Village? I… Continue reading

Thank you Rep. DelBene | Letter

The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has just… Continue reading

Male-only no more: The next House Speaker will be a woman

The Frank Chopp era will end soon. Everett’s Robinson is among a crowd of women who may seek the job.

Paying twice for their mistakes | Windows and Mirrors

Southeast Asians are at greater risk of being deported to countries many haven’t been to since they were young or have never been to.