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

United Methodist Church: To split or not to split | Windows and Mirrors

Local clergy from Eastside United Methodist Churches weigh in on the church’s future regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Policy fights, political tension loom for state lawmakers

A 60-day session begins Monday. They’ll tackle car tabs, homelessness and whether to expel Matt Shea.

With five elections, get ready to vote a lot in 2020

It will be a busy year as voters decide the fate of school bonds and help choose the next president.

Election quirks: Drop boxes, tossed ballots, fickle voters

Before turning the page on the November election, here are a few questions to ponder.

Rifts, not gifts: Habib, Republican senators at odds this holiday season

OLYMPIA — Stuck on what gifts to give Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib… Continue reading

Helping neurodivergent students navigate higher education | Windows and Mirrors

The Neurodiversity Navigators program at Bellevue College offers various services to students who are on the autism spectrum.

Looking at impeachment prospects | OPINION

How polls show Americans’ feelings on impeachment.

Taking time to say thank you to our supporters

As the holidays approach, I would like to take this opportunity to… Continue reading

When asked their opinion on contract talks, they were silent

A 2017 law lets lawmakers offer negotiation topics. But a bipartisan panel didn’t do so this week.

Changing systems doesn’t happen overnight | Windows and Mirrors

It’s been a year since the Menchie’s incident and here is what the city of Kirkland has been working on since then.

Affirmative action measure fails but could resurface in 2020

Supporters started too late and had too little money to explain the problems R-88 would solve.

Two solutions | Letter

Facts about the growing gap between the super rich and the vast… Continue reading