Five stars, best books and King County Libraries’ commitment to intellectual freedom

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, which designates 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 U.S. 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 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.

More in Opinion

Crucial element to good governments

What makes good government? What makes bad government? We all have experienced… Continue reading

Snohomish woman on 17-day fast to spotlight orcas’ plight

At nearly noon on April 1, Lanni Johnson sat in a fold-up… Continue reading

Are sheriffs above the law?

Washington voters have spoken on I-1639. Sheriffs need to set the stage to follow their oath of office - and enforce the law.

Our country, post-Mueller report

It was to my great relief that the Mueller report did not… Continue reading

Teaching, training tomorrow’s leaders, workers

Legislature urged to fully fund our community and technical colleges

Democrats are in charge but GOP is helping steer the debate

Republicans see their role as fixing or foiling bad bills. Democrats’ tax bills are their new target.

Libraries are places of connection, community pride

A public library is often considered the heart of the community, providing… Continue reading

What tax raising idea will win out in March budget madness?

Democrats, who control the House and Senate, are set to release spending plans and revenue packages.

Sometimes, the smaller things matter more than the big picture

Recently I took a group of senior citizens to tour the Amazon… Continue reading

Why not change the name to match the location?

To Lakeside Industries, As a longtime resident of Renton, I’m concerned about… Continue reading

Gov. Inslee and the Supreme Court

In 2015, after another session without procuring a key weapon in his… Continue reading

Political parties often bring trouble

Political parties “are likely, in the course of things, to become potent… Continue reading