Public libraries play an integral part in meeting the needs of communities today. Computers with Internet access allow people to apply for jobs, or keep in touch with family and friends miles away. Students can drop in after school for Study Zone, where they will find volunteer tutors to help with homework. STEM programming, including coding and robotics classes, are offered in many libraries for children and adults alike.
And the list goes on. From presentations on current events to ESL and citizenship classes, the variety of programs and services is incredible.
While new things are happening all the time in our libraries, one thing remains constant — a passion for books and reading. Whether you prefer eBooks or the feel of a printed book in your hands, reading is alive and well in King County.
As 2017 begins, KCLS celebrates the closing of another amazing year, lending nearly 21 million items. That’s impressive!
It was a wonderful year for readers, with a rich and diverse collection of great books published over the past 12 months. And since it’s the season of making lists, here is my personal — and eclectic —list of the top ten books of 2016.
• “The Gustav Sonata” by Rose Tremain
A beautiful story of childhood friendship set in Switzerland during World War II.
• “Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals” by Lisa Q. Fetterman
If you’ve not yet discovered the wonders of sous vide cooking, start with this book.
• “The Theoretical Foot” by M.F.K. Fisher
Fans of this great writer were excited to learn an unknown manuscript had been discovered. Not her best work, but still a great read.
• “American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-loved Cakes from Past to Present” by Anne Byrn
A fascinating history of some of America’s most famous desserts, along with updated recipes.
• “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam M. Grant
A great look at how individuals can champion new ideas, and how leaders can encourage originality in their organizations.
• “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly
The remarkable (and relatively unknown) story of a group of African-American female mathematicians who were hired by NASA during the labor shortage of World War II. Read it before the movie comes out!
• “LaRose” by Louise Erdrich
The latest novel by this talented author explores themes of justice and forgiveness.
• “Today Will Be Different: A novel by Maria Semple”
Local author Semple pens a hilarious story of a well-planned day gone awry.
• “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead
A fascinating historical novel about Cora, a slave from Georgia who escapes into a world filled with terror and oppression.
• “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
This epic tale tells the story of two half-sisters born in Ghana in the 18th century.
If you’d like to see the top picks of our talented King County Library System staff, visit us online and compare your favorites with ours.
Gary Wasdin is the director of the King County Library System.