The King County Library System (KCLS) Board of Trustees on Thursday appointed a KCLS Foundation board member as interim director of the library system, following the March 29 resignation of former Director Gary Wasdin.
Stephen A. Smith has served on the KCLS Foundation board since 2011, the year he retired from full-time practice as a partner at K&L Gates law firm in Seattle. Smith has focused on matters related to free speech, and he has a particular passion for the role that public libraries play in enabling educated participants in democratic society, according to a KCLS media release.
“We are fortunate to have such an accomplished, passionate and dedicated scholar at the helm as we begin a nationwide search for a new director,” KCLS Board of Trustees President Jim Wigfall said in the release. “Steve Smith brings tremendous integrity to the role, along with deep knowledge of our library system. He has been a tireless supporter of both KCLS and the values that define it.”
Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1972. He was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar at the Columbia University School of Law, and he received his law degree there in 1975. He lives on Mercer Island with his family.
“It’s an honor to help lead this outstanding organization,” Smith said in the release. “I love libraries and support strongly the essential services they provide to our community. My career involved the protection of freedom of speech, press and information access and I look forward to assisting our public libraries in supporting those liberties for everyone.”
The Board of Trustees is finalizing the process for filling the director position and expects the effort to take several months.