King County Libraries Get Top Recognition from National Magazine

The King County Library System, which operates four libraries in Bellevue, was nationally recognized for its public service.

The King County Library System (KCLS), which operates libraries in the Bellevue neighborhoods of , and and , has just been named the Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year Award.

Last year saw a great deal of change at KCLS, the library system that serves Bellevue. KCLS circulated more items in 2010 — 22.4 million — than any other library system in the United States.

The is the biggest branch of the 46-branch library system, which serves communities throughout King County from Shoreline to Federal Way, not including Renton, Seattle or Enumclaw.

KCLS serves all 1,318,745 people who live in King County and who visited libraries in the system 10,199,150 times last year. More than 100,000 new library cards were issued in 2010.

Despite early frustrations with a new online system (most of those have been worked out so if you haven’t returned to the online system lately, give it another try), KCLS web traffic reached 31,000,000 visits, and 77,000 people attended programs at its libraries.

Today’s public libraries offer patrons more than just books. Computer classes, story time, test prep, English language lessons, mobile book services, community meeting space are just some examples of what public libraries offer.

Part of KCLS’s success is the support it receives from the public. In February, voters passed a $73.78 per capita property tax levy, despite the tough economy.

“We’re delighted to receive this recognition from Gale and Library Journal on behalf of the entire community,” KCLS Director Bill Ptacek said in a news release. “This honor rightly goes to our patrons who made KCLS libraries the busiest in the nation; our friends and advisers; the voters who make it possible through their continued support; and for our hard-working staff who continuously create innovative programs and services that best meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

The award includes $10,000 that KCLS will contribute to the King County Library System Foundation to provide and enhance library programs and services across KCLS. In addition, KCLS will be featured as the cover story for the June 15 issue of Library Journal.

Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field.


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