County officials meet with residents to discuss library programs and performance. Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

Representatives from KP organizations expressed gratitude for the local library at a meeting of Pierce County officials.

The Pierce County Library System Board of Trustees met Aug. 14 at the Key Center Library, giving locals the opportunity to share what the library means to the Key Peninsula community. The trustees and PCLS staff talked to residents about the scope of county services and future plans.

While construction plans are not in the immediate future for Key Center, data is being collected across the county to guide planning and expanding the footprint of full-service libraries. Plans are already underway for building new libraries in Lakewood and Sumner.

Board President Rob Allen said that having meetings at each of the 18 full-service libraries in the system promotes better understanding of facility needs and the needs of the communities. Libraries are “much more than a warehouse for books,” he said, they are also a portal for people to explore what libraries have to offer. 

Internet access has become one of the main reasons people visit libraries, Allen said. Users can access no-cost educational programs that allow technology certification in Adobe, Microsoft and QuickBooks; to find resources and help with job searches; and to access research tools for students.

Corrine Weatherly, the supervising librarian at Key Center, said, “The Key Center is a small but mighty library that works hard to meet the needs of all the residents of the Key Peninsula.”

From a modest start, the Key Center Library has become one of the busier libraries in the system, with circulation rivaling that of mid-sized county libraries and a meeting space that is in almost constant use, she said.

Weatherly also said the KP community is unique in its commitment to helping its neighbors. The library participates in this endeavor in a number of ways. In cooperation with Food Backpacks 4 Kids the library has distributed free sack lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the summer. The Angel Guild is one of the organizations that regularly uses the Brones meeting room, and also provides generous support to local organizations such as the library to purchase furniture and to support programs. The Mustard Seed Project is another reciprocal resource, and Two Waters Arts Alliance helps facilitate monthly exhibits by local artists.

Danna Webster, speaking on behalf of the Key Peninsula Community Council, thanked the trustees for coming out to get better acquainted with our “little bit of paradise.” She also shared results of a community-wide survey conducted by the Key Peninsula Partnership for a Healthy Community. Citizens were asked to rate 23 things on a scale of 1 to 5 “based upon how important they are to our quality of life on the Key Peninsula,” (5 being very important). The library received a score of 4.38—the highest of the 23.

Retired librarian Rosina Vertz spoke on behalf of The Friends of Key Center Library. She praised their strong sense of civic responsibility and keen understanding of what is needed to create a successful community.

Vertz credited the Friends for funding “all the little extras—and big ones, for that matter—to enhance story times, STEM programs, as well as supplies and equipment for staff” through the labor-intensive, twice-yearly book sales.

“For me as former supervisor of the Key Center branch, it meant I had a group that supported and helped implement my vision and the vision of the PCLS,” she said.

Vertz also commended the can-do attitude and supportive energy the group showed in a 2012 fundraising campaign to remodel the meeting room. “They raised $47,000 in record time and turned a dingy room into a light, airy room with cabinets, new rugs and furniture.”

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