When Lisa Rosenblum talks to book-lovers throughout King County, the phrase she hears most often is, “I love King County Libraries, but boy, you have a big job.”
The King County Library System (KCLS) is one of the largest in the country, with 50 libraries in 36 cities. That’s one of the many reasons Rosenblum was so eager to transfer to Washington state from the East Coast early last year to become the library system’s executive director.
Rosenblum said she sees herself as something of a mini city manager, since the library system includes its own finance and human resources departments, and has to follow the judiciary requirements of a taxing district.
“It’s not about choosing books anymore,” Rosenblum said. “A lot of my work is spent outwardly. It’s meeting with city managers, going to events, speaking at events, and overseeing the system.”
Over the past year and a half, Rosenblum has been humbled by the communities within the county. Whether it’s speaking at naturalization ceremonies, introducing aspirational teens to cutting-edge technologies, or sitting down with toddlers at story time, Rosenblum is constantly reminded of the vital importance of public libraries.
“Libraries are really important when they keep up with the pace of what’s happening in the community,” Rosenblum said. “They’re always going to be about literacy and books, but they’re also about what’s going on in your community. We’re uniquely conditioned to help people. We don’t judge them; we just provide the services.”
Turn the page to see a day in the life of this voracious reader.
Photos courtesy Lisa Rosenblum
6:30 a.m. | Morning must haves: fresh air, coffee, and gardening on the balcony of my apartment. Edible gardens are a staple in the Rosenblum household, no matter the type of outdoor space.
7 a.m. | Early morning workouts — whether weight training, yoga, or swimming — prep both body and mind for the day ahead. I find exercise essential for keeping me energized throughout a busy week.
8:45 a.m. | I treasure my commute by foot to the KCLS Service Center in Issaquah. Compared to my Silicon Valley and New York City commutes, this is by far the best!
9 a.m. | On my way in, I stop to greet Library2Go! staff as they load the bookmobiles for today’s deliveries out to community centers, childcare, and senior facilities.
9:30 a.m. | When we welcome new employees to KCLS, I always make time to be at the new-employee orientation to greet and meet each of them.
11 a.m. | Libraries are the perfect place to hold U.S. Naturalization Ceremonies, and I am the keynote speaker at the Burien Library this morning to congratulate new citizens from 17 different countries.
12:30 p.m. | In the afternoon, I head to the Newcastle Library to sit in on Japanese story time. I love seeing all these happy faces and our programs in action.
2:30 p.m. | Back at the Service Center, I stand with Library Advisory Board members to celebrate a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee that recognizes KCLS during National Library Week.
3:30 p.m. | Brainstorming with staff during a KCLS strategy meeting. I value these times to connect with others on the important work we are doing.
4:30 p.m. | Wrapping up the day with a KCLS Foundation focus group meeting. We are grateful for the input from our community partners and volunteers.
6 p.m. | Checking out KCLS’ new digital audiobook arrivals before I head home. These come in handy when I am stuck in traffic driving to and from meetings across King County.
7:30 p.m. | Time to wind down and relax at home with — what else? — a good book from KCLS. I highly recommend Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg.