King County Library System Foundation 


The KCLS Foundation raises private funds from individuals, foundations, and corporations for pilot projects, special collections, and new resources and programs that support service delivery at KCLS for its 1.3 million card holders. Funding from the Foundation allows KCLS librarians to develop innovative ways to increase literacy and learning, student achievement. Our collections, free programs, and computer access are located throughout the county at 48 neighborhood libraries and Library2Go! vans.

Mission Statement
The KCLS Foundation promotes literacy, learning and libraries by funding initiatives and programs that enable the King County Library System to better serve the needs of our community.
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King County Library System Foundation
960 Newport Way NW 
(425) 369-3450 

Beth Castleberry 
Executive Director 


King County Library System Foundation Programs

Our three main program areas are Literacy, Learning, and Libraries. KCLS Foundation supports KCLS programs for children, teens, and adults. Below is a brief description of a few programs with the greatest impact for individuals and communities. 

Let’s Read
Funding for story times, book talks, and educational programs at summer meal sites throughout King County with emphasis on south county locations. KCLS provided outreach to over 20,000 children through 147 visits to 40 sites in the summer of 2014. Thousands of free books were handed out for each child to start their own home library.

Summer Learning Program
The Foundation provides funding in support of reader incentives and completion awards to kids and teens who complete the summer reading challenges and underwrites bus service to bring summer school youth to the library for programs.  

Creating a Community Mosaic at the New Tukwila Library
The Foundation is raising $1 million for the new Tukwila Library. Funding from the Foundation secures an extra 2,000 square feet as a community meeting space for group activities, classes, cultural events, programs, and citizenship ceremonies for this multicultural community.   

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

One of our patrons' greatest needs is helping students succeed in school. With support from donors, we can expand programs and resources that match the demand and the need for library services in our libraries, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods. Current projects focus on reaching out to ethnically diverse and underserved parts of our service area.

Our recent success with the Let's Read! program helps reduce the "summer slide." On average, during the summer break, kids lose about two months of math skills. And low-income children lose an additional two months in reading achievement. This occurs in part because parents do not have the time or the resources to read to their children. It is also because they do not have the time or ability to take their child to the visit the library. As the child grows older, the achievement gap widens.

Even if children from different income levels learn at the same rate in the classroom, by the time a child from a lower-income household reaches the 5th grade, she will have experienced five “summer slides” and be 2.5 years behind her classmates. Public libraries and free summer programs are essential to stopping the summer slide especially for low-income and minority families that may not be able to afford, not know of, or not have access to enrichment activities over the summer. 

One of our current needs is to fund Let's Read! for 2016 and beyond to keep kids engaged over the summer months.


The KCLS Foundation funds special programs in the libraries and through extended outreach activities with the goal of reaching all residents and encouraging use of libraries.

Proven Success
The area served by the Library System and the KCLS Foundation is growing in terms of population and diversity. This area includes 30 suburban cities and rural areas and 18 school districts. They are bringing Renton into the system in 2010. Seattle and Enumclaw are the only cities not part of the King County Library system.

The Library System is a strong partner with school districts, even more so as school districts cut funding for libraries and librarians. The KCLS supports Study Zones, pairing volunteer tutors with students in over 30 libraries, and they fund free SAT classes for students in South King County.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
The Library System and the KCLS Foundation continually respond to meet the diverse needs of the range of cities, suburbs and rural areas, number of languages spoken and children, youth and adults in the region.

New funding is being raised for four new Library2Go vans. This new service will reach low-income populations, licensed family childcare homes, adult family homes, low-income housing sites and community centers. The vans are smaller and can easily go out to sites.

Financial Health
The King County Library System receives the majority of its funding from a property tax levy. The levy passed on February 9, 2010, and will help maintain basic services. The Foundation raises private funds to enhance programming.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/10/2010 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.


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