The following is a blog that was posted about 3 months ago by “All About Renton” and while this blog points out some interesting facts about the library’s 2007 master plan study it also states some opinions. So, please be aware that the opinion put forth in this post may not reflect the opinion of  everyone who is trying to get the facts out about annexation to KCLS. We want to take this opprotunity again to invite anyone from KCLS to join in this annexation discussion as well as you, the residents of Renton. Feel free to comment or even submit a blog of your own telling why you think the Renton Public Library should annex to KCLS before we give our own library and city a chance to make the necessary changes and improvements.

From “All About Renton”

Back in 2007 Miriam Pollak and Associates, an independent library consulting firm, were hired by the city to do a Master Plan Study for the Renton Public Library. Being that Renton is facing a  huge crossroads with exponential population growth and newly annexed areas, the firm was hired to determine which direction the Renton Public Library should take in the next few years to deal with this new growth. Should the Renton Public Library remain an independent library or should they join the King County Library System? While I encourage all of you who are interested/concerned in a potential annexation to KCLS to read this study, at 86 pages it is anything but light reading and some may even consider it a cure for insomnia. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to briefly tell you about the results.

The study had a great cross-section of participants – library staff, Library Board of Trustees, city administrators, focus groups that included mom’s groups, immigrants and immigrant advocate groups, school librarians and even a survey for library patrons, see complete list of participants on page 5. The panel basically said things that are to be expected, we need more stuff. More room, more computers, more materials, more staff, more programs, more more more. How could we not meed more stuff, our population size has nearly doubled in just 5 years (8)  just by that fact alone it would make sense that we need more space or spaces for our library to accommodate that growth. In addition to needing more stuff we need to get up to date with technology and this mainly means new wires so everything can be faster and there can be more of it, you know computers. Totally agree with that one too.

Miriam Pollack agreed with these concerns and actually showed that Renton significantly lags behind other libraries in the region and throughout Washington in areas of technology, collection and programs. (6, 34-6) So, how do we bring the library up to date and start serving this diverse community? Do we continue to operate as an independent library or do we join KCLS?

The independent firm that was hired to help RPL make a master plan for the next 5 years suggested that we remain independent. That’s right, based on Renton’s history of independence, local control and sense of community our library would be better off remaining independent. So why are we voting to annex to KCLS in February. My personal opinion is that it boils down to work. It is easier for someone else to determine how our library will function, better yet it is easier to know who is funding our library. Again, that is just my own opinion.

The study gives a lot of good information and even discusses the pros and cons of joining KCLS (pp. 47-8) and please know that I will be sharing all of that information with you in the coming days and weeks but I can’t make each entry a novel or you won’t read.

If you can not tell by the tone of this email I am not in favor of joining KCLS. I think Renton needs to keep local control on our library. Let’s work as a community to decide what types of new facilities we want, what new programs we design, what staff we see consistently and most importantly let’s have pride in our library. It is amazing, I don’t know of any other library that is built over a river, let alone a river where salmon swim upstream. It truly is an icon of our community and I think we should keep it.