Proponents of KCLS annexation like to refer to the line in the Library Master Plan Study which says, ‘Renton lags far behind in the resources available to provide responsive, high-quality library services needed by its growing and diverse citizenry.’ My gut tells me that since proponents of annexation to KCLS do not visit the Renton Public Library they would not know of the amazing programs and services that have been created since the completion of the Library Master Plan Study. It is important to note that the following list of new programs and services have been created and implemented without any additional library funding.

The Library Master Plan Study stated goals and objectives for the Renton Public Library and you will see those referred to next to the name of the program.

Baby Time (Master Plan Goal #4A & #4B) –

Baby time is intended to provide age appropriate early literacy programming for children 0-24 months and their caregivers.  The activities are designed to stimulate babies’ and toddlers’ developing language and literacy skills.  The first two years of a child’s life are crucial in brain and language development and later school success.  RPL believes that by providing age-appropriate story times for different age groups we can target these skills and encourage caregivers that it is never too early to start developing pre-literacy skills.

Partnerships (Master Plan Goal #8A & #4A) –

RPL is developing community partnerships with agencies such as Renton Technical College and Renton School District.  In the past year we have cooperated with the library and child care center at Renton Technical College to get reading materials and early literacy information to parents.  We have continued and strengthened our partnership with Hillcrest Early Childhood Center in presenting story programs and providing resources for students and families.  We have also developed more connections with area child cares.

Teen Programming @ the Highlands Library (Master Plan Goal #6B) –

By providing gaming, anime, and art programs at the Highlands library, we promote activities to enhance the leisure time of area teens.  We share with them what the library has to offer, and we show them that they are welcome and viable members of the community.

Adult Summer Reading (Master Plan Goal #6B and #5D) –

By offering an all-ages summer reading program, we encouraged lifelong learning of adults in the community.  We displayed library materials chosen by our patrons to share with others and we provided a variety of materials for adults to use in their leisure time.

Ongoing Themed Displays (Master Plan Goal #5D) –

We have started displaying library materials by theme, promoting areas that had been underused, and sharing what others were reading.  This has helped us to encourage patrons to expand their reading and show what interesting things we have to offer.

 Computer Instruction (Master Plan Goal #3B) –

We have started to offer instruction and tutoring in computer use for patrons who struggle.  We are trying to bridge the gap for residents who are limited in their access to resources by a lack of experience or training in computer use.

 Homebound Patron Service (Master Plan Goal #5A) –

In order to help our residents access personal interest and lifelong learning materials, RPL has started delivering materials to patrons who are unable to use the library due to age or disability.  Our service has grown from 2 to over 20 cardholders in a ten-month period.  We are serving patrons in their personal residences throughout the city and in two assisted living facilities.  While we still have some space to grow this program, we have been unable to advertise or broaden this service as much as we would like due to the limitations of staffing and our vehicle.

Wireless Printing –

 People using their laptops on the CROWN network now have access to wireless printing.  This can be from inside the library or out in the parking lot–anywhere you can get the signal.  It costs 5 cents per page, just like any other print job.  Prints can be sent to either branch and they will be held in the print queue for 90 minutes.

As you can see Renton Public Library is working hard to implement the suggestions that came out of the Library Master Plan Study and they are doing it with no additional funding. Let’s not allow these improvements and the hard work of our committed library staff  to go unnoticed, vote “NO” on library annexation.