King County Library System provides lifelong learning opportunities

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 9:00am
  • Opinion

Stephen A. Smith

Most of us who love libraries share a simple philosophy: Never stop learning.

And why would we? The joy of learning and the knowledge gained from it – through reading, experiences or simply connecting with others – can span a lifetime.

Learning nurtures the human spirit. Knowledge is transformative and empowering. It instills empathy by broadening perspectives, builds confidence to face life’s challenges and helps us navigate a complex world.

As King County Library System celebrates 75 years of service to King County residents, we thought it a perfect time to reflect on the many ways we support lifelong learning. Recognizing that patrons of varying ages have different learning needs, KCLS works hard to provide an array of programs and services ranging from practical to thought-provoking to just plain fun.

Infant Story Time programs for newborns and their adult caregivers introduce early learning through stories, songs and simple games, and reinforce the bond between parent and child. Preschoolers can attend Fiestas in Spanish to develop early literacy skills while their parents learn how to prepare their children for kindergarten. Family Story Time provides interactive fun for kids of all ages. For children in school, the Reading with Rover program gives students who are struggling readers an opportunity to practice reading with specially-trained dogs who listen attentively and encourage gently in a comforting environment. And Summer Reading keeps kids and teens reading over the summer so that students, especially those from low-income families, don’t lose gains in academic achievement.

Tweens and teens can feed their interest in technology by learning about robotics or 3-D printing in IdeaX classes or other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based programming, and Life After High School programs provide inspiration for the road ahead. For students pursuing post-secondary education, KCLS offers SAT tutoring and practice tests, scholarship and financial aid counseling and help with choosing the right college. High school graduates who choose a job track can attend resume-writing and financial planning workshops or classes on how to start a business. Adults who want to transition to a different career can seek assistance with resumes, interview practice and job searches. And it’s all free.

Older adults can attend retirement planning workshops or enjoy Wisdom Cafés, which emphasize the importance of aging creatively through intentional exploration and discovery. Retirees who have time to explore new interests can discover new art forms or experiment with emerging technologies at an Art &Tech Fest program or get computer help from a Tech Tutor volunteer.

Whether you’ve lived somewhere your whole life or just recently moved, it can sometimes be challenging to meet new people. Making connections and learning from others is not only good for the individual, it’s good for the community. KCLS’ year-around program, Everybody’s Talking About It, provides opportunities for community members to come together for meaningful conversations on important topics in an environment that fosters civility, understanding and respect for diverse perspectives.

By providing access to ideas, information and interaction, KCLS has helped individuals shape their best lives for 75 years. Whatever and however you want to learn, the programs, services and resources you need are at your fingertips.

I hope you will take advantage of everything KCLS has to offer on your personal journey of lifelong learning.

Stephen A. Smith is interim director of the King County Library System.

More in Opinion

We should allow Tukwila to grow, naturally

Our city has been undergoing a metamorphosis over the past years and… Continue reading

Summer Engagement of District Employees

What does work look like when the perception is “summer is a… Continue reading

Celebrate summer at Tukwila Pool | We’re All In!

Join Tukwila Pool this summer for family-fun activities including open swim, family… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
                                A 1973 photo of the Southcenter Theatre and the lower left corner of the mall.
Cinerama near Southcenter was popular movie venue

Generations of kids and young adults have fond memories associated with going… Continue reading

School may be out but June is still busy

June is exceptionally busy for the Tukwila School District because of the… Continue reading

Spoilers ahead: Season two did not disappoint

Diving into the new episodes of the Netflix hit.

Herman Anderson, proprietor of the Golden Arrow Dairy, purchased the first insulated dairy delivery truck in the area as well as the first electric pasteurizer. This business was a prominent icon in Tukwila until the coming of the Interstate freeways in the mid 1960s. Photo (circa 1940s) credit to Wynn (son of Herman) and Maxine Anderson. Submitted photo
City began annexation era in 1948 with Golden Arrow Dairy

Mayor Charles Baker and future mayor, John Strander, as chairman of the… Continue reading

It’s necessary for residents to feel safe

In February, I attended a council-sponsored meeting at the Church by the… Continue reading

Summer’s A-Comin’ at the pool!

We’ve had a few runs of sunny days this spring to give… Continue reading

Detached housing units could help struggling families

Here is a fundamental truth. Everyone needs to be some place. We… Continue reading

Thank you to those who support the school district

As the school district makes its transition to summer learning and vacation… Continue reading

Tips for staying safe at the pool

Let’s talk water safety. May is national Water Safety Month, and the… Continue reading