National Library Week, King County Library System

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National Library Week, King County Library System



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mr. REICHERT. Madam Speaker, this week we'll be recognizing National Library Week all across our great country. In an age of tough economic forecasts, and families scrambling to make ends meet while still engaging in their communities, libraries around the United States have seen more people walk through their doors, visit their websites and communicate with their employees than perhaps ever before. Indeed, the library systems of America are operating at unprecedented levels. Rather than shrinking in their responsibility, many systems are proactively courting members of their communities and expanding the resources they have available to help push this country forward. I am very fortunate to represent the 8th Congressional District of Washington, and to observe and follow the work being done by my childhood library system, the King County Library System.

The King County Library System, led by Director Bill Ptacek, is the third-busiest library system in the United States. It is a remarkable distinction. In his introduction to their year-in-review for 2009, Director Ptacek wrote: "KCLS developed an innovative approach in response to the economic crisis to guide patrons to reliable information when they needed it most." Citizens in our region looked to their library system for help and the King County Library System responded: In 2009, nearly 10 million people walked through the doors of their local library and more than 21 million items were circulated. The library catalog of the King County Library System had nearly 89 million visits and the system's received nearly 27 million hits. In other words, I can think of very few public organizations busier than the King County Library System and the System has responded, stepping up to meet the challenge in a big way.

Director Ptacek and his staff have expanded collections and streamlined service using technology and terrific, innovative organizational structure and management. The King County Library System has increased its technological output and reached out proactively to underserved communities in King County with great success. The system has ensconced itself in the communities it serves and has become a huge asset for families, community groups and local governments. The King County Library System has researched and developed programs specifically targeting young children in their formative years to get excited about literacy and research; they've done the same specifically targeting children who speak English as a second language. Overall, the King County Library System is providing the people of King County with a large public organization that is best described with one word: innovative.

Director Ptacek, his managers, and the employees of the KCLS deserve our utmost respect and admiration. The system answers the call of communities each and every day, without fail. A large public organization with such an innovative spirit and flexible structure always deserves accolades and encouragement. I am proud to honor the KCLS during National Library Week, during a difficult period and for serving our communities in such efficient, creative, and meaningful ways.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).