Five stars, best books and a commitment to intellectual freedom

KCLS was named a Five Star Library, which recognizes the services it provides to the community.

Library Journal recently announced its 2018 Star Libraries as rated by the Library Journal Index of Public Library Services.

The King County Library System (KCLS) was among 7,361 public libraries rated for the 2018 Index, and one of 257 to receive a Three-, Four- or Five-Star rating, designating overall excellence across five service measures. In the category “libraries with annual expenditures exceeding $30 million,” KCLS was one of only five libraries nationally to receive five Stars, gaining one Star between 2017 and 2018.

We are pleased to be named a Five Star Library, which recognizes the quality services KCLS provides to the community. A star rating not only means the library delivers a strong return on public investment, it also reflects the value patrons throughout King County place on their libraries.

Throughout the year, this column has covered a variety of topics, including the values that guide our work at KCLS: knowledge, diversity, equity and inclusion. Another fundamental value of public libraries intellectual freedom is the principle that all members of the community should have free and equal access to ideas and information without restriction.

The American Library Association (ALA), whose members include public, private and academic libraries, has long considered intellectual freedom as central to democracy and an essential library mission. Intellectual freedom is inextricably linked to the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. Last November, ALA proudly marked the 50th year of its Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The dangers of censorship to a free society have been often-repeated throughout history. Countries all over the world affirm the principles of intellectual freedom, and the United Nations deems it a basic human right. Article 19 of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Finally, as we think about all that awaits discovery at libraries, it is a great time to let you know about the KCLS Best Books for 2018. The list includes 100 books in the categories fiction, nonfiction, teens and children’s that have been vetted by 255 librarians and staff. The Best Books list is a much-loved, highly-anticipated tradition at KCLS — be sure to check it out on www.kcls.org/bestbooks.

Lisa Rosenblum is the director of the King County Library System.

More in Opinion

From a place of respect | Windows and Mirrors

What does it mean to share your culture with others?

The power of reliable power

Don C. Brunell is a regional columnist.

Community members weigh in on election | Letters

Sperry cares for Kenmore My husband and I are supporting Van Sperry… Continue reading

Does Sound Transit realize the consequences of this do-over?

Pass or fail, Initiative 976 is a reminder of what critics most dislike about the regional agency.

Thompson is ‘exceptionally well qualified’ | Letter

I am currently the presiding judge for Snohomish County District Court and… Continue reading

Thompson, a judge to be proud of | Letter

Judge Paul Thompson was an excellent choice for our governor to make… Continue reading

Okoloko is hard working and ethical | Letter

As a recently retired trial attorney after a long career in the… Continue reading

Duerr hardworking and engaged | Letter

Davina Duerr may be the most hard-working and engaged member who has… Continue reading

Professionals in a second language | Windows and Mirrors

What is it like to pursue a career in a language that is not your first?

Vote for Okoloko | Letter

I support Judge Edirin Okoloko for the position of Superior Court judge.… Continue reading

Lawmakers to governor: How dare you mess with our budget!

They want Jay Inslee to halt his planned $175 million reallocation of state transportation dollars.