King County Library System

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King County Library System
King County Library System logo.svg
Burien Library.jpg
former KCLS branch in Burien
Established 1942
Location King County, Washington
Branches 48 + 1 Traveling Library
Size 4.1 million items
Access and use
Access requirements Residence in King County except the towns of Hunts Point and Yarrow Point
Circulation 21,800,000 items
Population served 1,969,722 (Metropolitan King County)
Other information
Budget $108,400,000
Director Gary Wasdin
Staff 1,137

The King County Library System (KCLS) is a library system serving the residents of King County, Washington, United States. Headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, KCLS is currently the busiest library in the United States, circulating 22.4 million items in 2010.[1] It consists of 48 libraries, a Traveling Library Center, a mobile TechLab, and the ABC Express children’s library van. KCLS offers a collection of more than 4.1 million items, including books, periodicals, newspapers, audio and videotapes, films, CDs, DVDs and extensive online resources. All KCLS libraries offer free Wi-Fi connections.

The library system began in 1942 when voters in King County established the King County Rural Library District in order to provide library services to people in “rural” areas with no easy access to city libraries. Funding for the library system was provided from the property tax base of unincorporated areas, and from contracts with cities and towns for the provision of library services. Funding measures for the system passed in 1966, 1977, 1980, 1988, 2002, 2004, and 2010.[2] Property taxes account for 94% of revenue today. The KCLS budget for 2012 is $84.8 million.[3]

KCLS extends access privileges to residents of its service area, which includes all unincorporated areas of King County as well as residents of every city in the county except Hunts Point, and Yarrow Point.[4] Residents of Seattle – which maintains its own library system – are allowed access to KCLS collections under reciprocal borrowing agreements between KCLS and Seattle's libraries.[5] KCLS also extends reciprocal borrowing privileges to residents of many other library systems in Western and North Central Washington. The cities of Hunts Point and Yarrow Point do not have library service at all.[6]

Under a $172 million capital bond passed in 2004, the King County Library system is rebuilding, renovating, and expanding most of its existing libraries, as well as building new libraries.

KCLS has annexed the city of Renton's public library system, the result of a vote by the city's residents in February 2010.[7] This library system includes a 22,500-square-foot (2,090 m2) library branch built completely over the Cedar River.

In 2011, KCLS won the Gale/Library Journal "Library of the Year" award.[8]


KCLS consists of 48 branches, Traveling Library Center, ABC Express Vans, mobile TechLab, and a service center located in Issaquah that houses the library's administrative offices.


Mobile services

  • ABC Express
  • Traveling Library Center
  • Techlab

See also


  1. Berry, John, III (June 15, 2011). "Library of the Year 2011: King County Library System, WA". Library Journal. Retrieved June 18, 2011. Among the benchmarks was circulating 22.4 million items—more than any other library system in the United States—to the 1,318,745 people who live in King County.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. King County Library System. "History of Your King County Library System".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. King County Library System. "King County Library System 2010 Annual Budget" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. King County Library System. "Areas Served by KCLS".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. KCLS-SPL Reciprocal Use Borrowing Agreement, KCLS<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. King County Library System. "Borrowing Outside of KCLS Service Areas".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Krishnan, Sonia (28 February 2010). "Group tries to reverse Renton library vote". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Berry, John N. III. "Library of the Year 2011: King County Library System, WA | The People's Library". Library Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links