Thursday, September 8, 2011

September Insights

Community Liaison Contact: Carol Van Baalen


The Friends of the Kent and Des Moines Libraries are having their annual used book sales in September. The Des Moines Library book sale starts Friday, September 9th and proceeds through Sunday September 11th @ Des Moines Library. The Kent Library Friends’ book sale starts Friday, September 16th and proceeds through Sunday September 18th @ Kent Library.

Kent, Des Moines and Woodmont Libraries will start their fall programming the week of September 12th. This includes Study Zone, ESL, citizenship, computer classes, story times, book groups, Game-On!, and others.

At Woodmont Library teens are invited to join the Manga and Anime Club at Woodmont. New Baby & Young Toddler Story Times have been added at Woodmont library. For adults an, “Effective Resumes for the New Job Search” presentation is scheduled for Sept. 22nd.

Des Moines Library is offering a “Tween Iron Chef” competition on September 30th, and for adults a, “Midlife Career Changing in the New Economy” presentation is scheduled for September 19th.

Upcoming Meetings and Dates:  Library Advisory Board Report to the Des Moines City Council will be September 22nd.   The KCLS Friends Day is October 22nd.


The InfoToGo topic for September is Little Pim, a KCLS database which provides language learning lessons for children.

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S REPORT (To view the complete August report, please look here.)


Earlier this year, the Washington State Legislature cut $84 million from community and technical college budgets. It has been reported that in addition to tuition increases, there might also be reductions in basic skills classes such as GED, citizenship and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. KCLS partners with community and technical colleges to offer these programs. Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs, including ESL, are not revenue generators and often the $25 student fee is waived. Despite this, ABE will not receive disproportional cuts. However, KCLS lost partnerships with Bellevue and Shoreline Community Colleges due to low enrollment and budget cuts for offsite classes. Partnerships with Cascadia, Green River and Highline Community Colleges are currently unaffected due to high enrollment and KCLS’ ability to pay the student fee. The landscape for larger organizations that have traditionally provided these services is mixed. Goodwill offers free ESL classes in Bellevue, Burien and Shoreline and is expanding services, as most of their funding comes from store sales. Jewish Family Services, which offers free ESL classes to low‐income residents in East King County has maintained their programs but a large part of their support comes from eastside cities that are having significant budget issues. Hopelink is offering more ESL classes in workplace settings as part of the Washington Workforce Initiative but they are decreasing citizenship classes which are tied to community grants. Similarly, smaller
organizations are eliminating programs as funding declines.

The federally funded Literacy*AmeriCorps program is being sustained for another year. Literacy*AmeriCorps staff support many of the ESL and citizenship programs KCLS offers, which are likely to be in even greater demand throughout the County given the
conditions mentioned above.

At last month’s Board meeting, Federal Way staff members talked about programs and services they have been working on since the implementation of Future Services in the Federal Way cluster. One such program was the Flavors of the World
Cultural Fair at the Federal Way Library on August 20. The
event attracted more than 1,000 people and featured story times in Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Russian and English, the Ukrainian American  Club Choir, Colombian folk dancers and a Chinese Lion Dance group. In other Federal Way news, based on a recent meeting with the Mayor of Federal Way, Cluster Manager Donna McMillen reported that there is growing interest among city officials to appoint a Federal Way Library Advisory Board.

The 2011 Summer Reading Program is winding down. A total of 45,324 kids signed up for the program through the first three weeks of August, representing one of the highest turnouts ever but still about 1,800 fewer than last year’s record‐setting total.

KCLS saw another drop in circulation last month, down 7% compared to July 2010. Year-to‐date circulation is down about 5%. The decline is consistent across the System and is mirrored by a 38% decline in KCLS catalog hits. On the other hand, there has been an
18% increase in hits to and Audio Book and eBook downloads are running 139% higher than last year. The first 19 days of operation at the new Kenmore Library saw a 150% increase in daily circulation compared to a year ago.

Facilities Management Services (FMS) solicits rebids of major service contracts every three to five years. This year, bids were solicited for art maintenance, vehicle maintenance, janitorial services, HVAC services and landscape maintenance. Art maintenance is tied to prevailing wages and therefore costs have increased. Bids for HVAC and landscape services have come in nearly $200,000 per year lower. FMS will report on all categories during the 2012 budget process.

KCLS was invited to speak at the Gale Cengage Learning national sales meeting in Las Vegas. Gale Cengage Learning supplies many of the online reference resources KCLS uses and is also the company that owns Library Journal, which presents the Library of
the Year award. Their sales force was interested in hearing about all of the recent developments at KCLS, especially Future Services. Many of the smaller libraries they work with are having a difficult time time transitioning from traditional library services
and programs and KCLS serves as a model for many of their clients. I was pleased to inform the audience that KCLS plans to use the $10,000 it received for being named Library of the Year to support Study Zone services in KCLS’ community libraries.

Outreach Services submitted a proposal for a $100,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to plan a prototype library learning lab for middle and high school students to increase educational achievement through the use of digital
media. Given that the grant is considered a “planning grant,” KCLS has formed consultative partnerships with Microsoft Research, Brainfuse, University of Washington and the Tukwila, Federal Way, Highline, Bellevue and Northshore School Districts. Grant recipients should be announced later this year.

Foundation board members, KCLS Trustees, library leaders and their guests enjoyed the KCLS Foundation’s annual summer reception, which included a tour of the new campus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Planning is under way for the 2012 budget, including discussions with major granting organizations and internal review of programs and activities.

The Literary Lions Gala will be held March 10, 2012 at the Bellevue Hyatt. More details will be available soon.

The KCLS Foundation will host the internationally popular Jez Alborough at a special fundraising breakfast on September 29. Mr. Alborough, who lives in London, is the author and illustrator of over 45 children’s books, including the Eddy and the Bear trilogy, Hug and other immensely popular books. The Foundation is also sponsoring his appearances at the Sammamish and Covington Libraries and the Northwest Bookfest at the Kirkland Library. For more information, visit


The City of Enumclaw has not had any further deliberations on the topic of annexation to KCLS. In discussions with the City, KCLS indicated a preferred timeline that would minimize the length of time between an annexation vote and the effective date of tax
collection. Because of that, the City does not plan to even begin considering the issue until the early part of next year. The Enumclaw Library received a minimal materials budget primarily funded by a grant from the local Rotary Club and assessed values in the Enumclaw area declined by 15.2%, one of the steepest drops in all of King County. A cross‐use study was conducted and indicated that cross‐use is approximately level. The study will be presented to the Board at the August meeting.

The City of Burien continues its deliberations about annexing the remaining unincorporated area of North Highline. The City Council reviewed a financial analysis of a potential annexation prepared by Berk Consulting. The City Council had a robust
discussion and will continue talks at their next meeting on August 22. Further discussions on the topic are scheduled for September and October so it is unlikely that a decision whether to proceed with annexation will be made before November. If the Council decides to put the issue on the ballot, a vote would not occur until late 2012. KCLS staff will update the Board on these developments at the August meeting.

Planning for the new Renton Libraries is moving ahead rapidly. The first public meeting to present initial plans for the Renton Library is scheduled for September 13 at the Renton Pavilion Event Center, which is located directly across the street from the new
site. Undoubtedly there will be a lot of comments about the change in location and City officials will be on hand to address some of the public’s concerns. KCLS’ architects will facilitate a discussion about the design elements of the new library and will gather input from the audience. There are no new developments in the City’s attempt to acquire the adjacent property where the Roxy Theater is located. The Renton Highlands Library will be part of a mixed use development. In initial conversations with the developer selected by the City, KCLS has learned that City officials would like to build about 100 housing units on the site. It is difficult to imagine that the site can contain that many housing units, a library and the necessary parking to accommodate both. In the meantime, KCLS is trying to clarify the roles of the respective architects involved. KCLS’ architects were selected to design the entire library. The developer envisions that their architect will design the entire exterior and KCLS’ architect will design the interior. That assumption may not be shared by the City of Renton.

KCLS has not yet reached an agreement on land acquisition for a new library at Tukwila Village. As reported last month, the developer is willing to sell KCLS a portion of the property but it might not be theirs to sell as the City has retained ownership of the site. City officials have not yet revealed how KCLS can obtain the property or indicated a price. Instead they are focused on design issues and that has delayed KCLS’ ability to move forward on the project.


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Upcoming Dates
The next Planning Committee Meeting takes place on Thursday, September 15, 12 noon at the Burien Library.

The next Finance Committee Meeting takes place on Tuesday, September 27, 4pm at the Service Center.

The next KCLS Board of Trustees Meeting takes place on Tuesday, September 27, 5pm at the Service Center.