Friday Jun 7, 2013

Bill Ptacek

Director King County Library System

A Place at the Table

Scribe: Jenny Andrews Editor: Jim Kindsvater

In this Issue

The Newcastle Library opened in December of 2012 and was our meeting venue this week. Bill Ptacek, King County Library Systems (KCLS) Director since 1989, gave an inside look of KCLS and the recent changes that have set them apart and gained KCLS recognition as “Library of the Year” in 2011. Tom Smith, Scholarship Committee Chair, presented scholarship awards to five Sammamish High School Seniors. The impact and performance of our many outstanding 2012- 2013 Community Service projects were reviewed and reported by Ruben Ladlad, BBRC Community Service Chair. New Generation Committee Chair, Desiree Yuzawa, reported on the year’s activities with youth and young adults through the Interact and Roteract programs.

Speaker Program

KCLS_SignBill Ptacek began his career at the Chicago Public Library and held various posts, including Head of Circulation and Chief of the Northeast District. Bill was Director of the Idaho Falls Public Library and Louisville Free Public Library before coming to KCLS in 1989. He is an active member of the Public Library Association and is a past recipient of its Charlie Robinson Award, which honors a public library director who is recognized as a risk taker, innovator and change agent. Bill is involved in a number of community activities, including King County Board of Developmental Disabilities, United Way King County Advisory board, Cascade Bicycle Club Board, Bellevue Arts Commission and Bellevue Rotary Club (Past President). He also serves on advisory committees for the University of Washington Bothell and Seattle University.

With the exception of the downtown Seattle Library, King County Library systems include all forty-eight (48) libraries located in the county. In 2012, there were 1 million visits to these libraries. The Bellevue Library will have the Grand Opening its new 300 stall parking facility, funded by a 2004 Bond campaign, on June 22nd.

Mr. Ptacek explained that what sets the KCLS apart from the rest is the continual focus on community needs through a thoughtful and purposeful research along discussions with community members on the following:


KCLSMagsAs with other real estate, it is all about location, location and location. Before, libraries were built on properties that the county held in the portfolio, typically on the outskirts of the community. Now these decisions are made through market research and input from the community to seek the best location with respect to access, visibility and to provide greater service to the community.


The goals are to bring the community into the library through use of windows as a way to advertise and engage the community be seeing the activity inside, size of collections and extended resources.


KCLS_StacksThrough research and learning customer behaviors, the KCLS is able to better understand the needs of the clients and lessen confusion when entering the building. Patron experience is heightened by use of color coded signage consistent throughout the KCLS (i.e. Children-Yellow, Services-Red, etc.).

Hold Books

Hold books account for 25% of all books checked out. KCLS has the world’s best delivery system with a 48 hour delivery turnaround. Delivery trucks and a sophisticated automated system in the Preston warehouse make it all possible. Technology has allowed growth with little or no growth in staffing. This also allows for a greater service orientation from existing staff.


The trend with libraries is to deliver content in lots of ways and maintain good access to books. End of shelf signage market the collection. Choice and Popular Reads are prominently displayed. There is a section for teens and E-Books access, KCLS hopes to grow this collection in the coming years. Collections are rotated consistently and overflow collections are stored in an Issaquah warehouse facility.

By use of these strategies, the Newport Library was recently named the Best Public Library in the United States.

President Chris, thanked Bill for his presentation and allowing us to enjoy the new facility as well as thanking Jeanne and Paul for coordinating the efforts for this off-site meeting.

Club Business

President Chris, with the accompaniment of Andrew Face on video, opened our meeting with music and visuals of the Doors.KCLS_Greet

The invocation and pledge was offered by Alex Rule with Larry May introducing visiting Rotarians and guests.

Tom Smith welcomed the proud recipients of the 2013 BBRC Scholarship Awards; Helen Kapitonenko, Mireli Contreras, Telma Fuentes, Alexey Avodayev and Shalom Kassa. The students were joined by parents, Olga Kapitonenko and Marina Avodayev, as well as Principal Katherine Lamb and returning Scholarship recipients; Aries Almanza-Almonte, Ela Pacewicz-Tierney, Molly Higgins and Shaban Pervez. Tom explained that this year’s Scholarship Award recipients were selected through an interview process that focused on students that possess the core BBRC values, service above self, with a desire and vision to create systemic and enduring change within the community and throughout the world. Easch spoke to their plans to attend college in the fall and continue community service.

Community Service Chair, Ruben Ladlad, asked the group to stand up and applaud for one’s self and fellow Rotarians for the outstanding impact each made in our community this past year. Ruben provided a handout with the many volunteer and funding activities that the BBRC participated during the year. With an annual budget of $43,000, the club was able to make a significant impact in our community and beyond, including the Adoption Party, Bellevue YMCA playground mural and upgrades, Rotary First Harvest, Dictionaries to local elementary students, Thanksgiving Turkeys to local families in need, Holiday Giving Tree, improvements to local parks and trail through Preserve Planet Earth program along with grants to benefit people with disabilities, a homeless shelter, and local high school students to develop business acumen, leadership skills and college education opportunities. Rubin extended sincerest thanks to the entire club for the outstanding performance this past year along with their generous contributions.

Desiree Yazawa spoke on behalf of the New Generations Committee. Both the Interact and Roteract programs are building a solid foundation. Roteract membership has grown from 3 to 12, and the club hopes to have 24 members by Rotary year-end 2014. The group participated in 19 community service projects and recruited new members through regular fellowship events.

Thought for the Week

If you were a library book, I’d check you out.

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