Gary A. Stokes, longtime general manager of local PBS station KSPS and an active member of various community organizations, will join the Spokane Public Library Board at the start of the new year.
Nominated to the position by Mayor Nadine Woodward and confirmed Dec. 12 by a unanimous vote of the City Council, Stokes has been appointed to a five-year term.
Stokes has worked in broadcasting for over 40 years, including 13 in public television. He has served as chair of the Empire Health Foundation Board and the PBS Development Advisory Committee, president of Spokane Rotary 21, and a member of the board of Humanities Washington, PBS board of directors and the MultiCare Foundation.
A native of Philadelphia, Stokes’ love for public libraries began as a child, when he said his mother would routinely take him to check out books. He consumed books, he said, returning them so quickly that the librarian questioned whether he was actually reading them.
“One day, the librarian quizzed me,” he said. “She opened a book and asked me what was going on.”
All these years later, Stokes can’t clearly remember which book it was, but his answers were thorough enough that the librarian stopped doubting him. Instead, she got him an adult library card, allowing him to check out 12 books instead of the five typically allowed for his age group.
Decades later, when Stokes saw there was a vacancy opening up on the Spokane Public Library Board, he knew he had to apply.
“For a lot of kids, particularly those living in urban areas, the library was a great way to find out more about the world at large,” he said. “I understand the importance of libraries, not just for kids who grew up like me, but also for adults who have nowhere else to access that kind of information.”
Stokes will replace Casey Linane-Booey IV, a graduate of Gonzaga Law and former director of operations at Community Health Association of Spokane.