A customer came to Mountlake Terrace Library today to replace his lost card. He said, "I haven't used my card in a long time but I just heard about listening to audio books and streaming movies with hoopla and I really wanted to try that out!" We were happy to oblige.
Staff, Mountlake Terrace Library
A customer let us know his he didn't let his kids spend much time watching TV while they were growing up. Instead, he took them to the Lynnwood Library regularly. They are now doctors and lawyers and he attributes their success to all the time they spent in the library and reading while they were young.
Jenny, Lynnwood Library
A tween-ager came to the information desk to ask whether Sno-Isle owned a copy of "Tentacles" by Roland Smith. Together we searched the catalog, found the book and placed a request. As I clicked the button to finalize her request, she was overcome with excitement and blurted out "I've been waiting my whole life to read that book!" Her enthusiasm was clearly infectious. Several nearby adults smiled and shared in her joy, if only for a moment. I love my job!
Marie, Oak Harbor Library
I got my red touched up last night. I asked my stylist how the move to her new house was going. She proceeded to tell me that she went to their new town's library, which was smaller than the salon we were sitting in. She'd gone in to print something because of course her printer was still at the old house. She and her toddler had gone right before toddler storytime began and both she and her daughter absolutely loved it. They'd never been to a storytime before. She then got really excited and told me "Carol I signed up for a library card right there on the spot." She went on to tell me how cheerful and helpful the staff were and that she was so happy they'd bought a house so close to an amazing library. I felt so proud of her! I'd had such a bad day yesterday, and this made all the negative stuff fade away until there was nothing left but giddiness as I imagined her library discovery through her eyes. I'm an employee at Everett Public Library and this story is about the Lake Stevens library. Way to go, Lake Stevens!
Carol, Lake Stevens Library
I dropped out of school at 7th grade; nothing interesting left to learn. I lived in libraries where ever I went!!!! My partner in life has two masters degrees amd says I'm the MOST educated person he's ever known!!! Libraries contain truth!
sandra alexander, Lake Stevens Library
Changed lives are a powerful thing. Recently an 18-year-old customer came into our library and, after hemming and hawing a bit, said he was needing to change his life. He asked: "I wonder if you guys carry Bibles?" I assured him we did and pointed him toward various versions of the Bible. He made his selection and left.
Three days later he came in and told me that ever since he began reading the Bible things have begun to turn around for him, which included landing a job! We live in a stressful culture that is hard on kids and it was a pleasure to know we had resources in the library to fill a need.
Susan Springer, Stanwood Library
One of our customers told us how, one year when money was really tight, she wasn't going to be able to afford much for Christmas for her elementary age son who was a voracious reader at a very advanced level. She was also concerned about getting books with appropriate themes. With the help of staff at the Lynnwood Library she was able to bring home a basket full of recently published books at his reading level, without grown-up themes, which she was able to present to him for Christmas. He loved it and remembers it well. He did get some things from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas, too, but she said, "the library saved me that year."
Jenny, Mukilteo Library
I came across a book at the library that I wanted to share with a relative. We don't live near each other and it was a somewhat obscure book, so I wanted to make sure that they could find the correct one. From the item in the catalog, I was able to share that specific book with them through Facebook! I didn't have to share the link separately or anything - it linked them directly to the book. I love the sharing capabilities of the catalog!
Chelsea, Edmonds Library
A customer recently told me, "The library has been so good to me. I have been using this library for years and recently your service has been very efficient and I have been receiving my items very quickly. It's been great." I noticed he had several DVDs and I mentioned that we shortened the loan period for feature films and we think that has helped with the turnaround rate, giving more people access to popular movies. He agreed and noticed that, too. He was thankful and said we probably get a lot of "sticks" (or complaints) but he thinks we should get some "carrots" (or praise) now and then, too!
Jenny, Mill Creek Library
We have a new child coming to storytimes. He was recently adopted from Liberia. His name is David. When he first came to my Storytime he came with Dad and Grandma. He had only been here a week. I think he goes with Grandma to toddler storytime, too. They want to get him as much exposure to our community as possible. Today, he came with Dad. Dad is also from Liberia. I was talking to him after Stortyime about how David was doing. He began to talk about the process and how hard to was to get David here. It took two years. As he was talking, many of the other parents/grandparents started listening to the conversation and nodding or responding to his story. I’m sure many of them have never had to experience the corruption that can take place by government officials in other countries for basic services. It was enlightening for sure. I was watching them and they were so interested in what he was saying.
I’m glad I was there to witness it. You can learn amazing things you learn at storytime!
Melanie, Lake Stevens Library
I really appreciate being able to use Consumer Reports at home - it is so wonderful - thank you!
Customer, Edmonds library
I lived in Italy for almost a year. It was an amazing time and got so much from being there! The whole time I was there, though, I did not have a library to go to the whole time. As soon as I returned, the Lake Stevens library was one of my first stops. I love going to the library and am so grateful for it!
Naomi, Lake Stevens library
Just before Christmas a young couple came into the Arlington Library, explaining that they had just moved into the area and would like to get a library card for their 3-year-old daughter. But what's awesome about this story is that they were doing it as a Christmas gift for their daughter. Listening to them explaining how thrilled they are on doing this as their little girl loves to read, so that they could bring her here to explore more for books, it was a great snapshot of giving gifts that mean a lot (in this case, a library).
Lola, Arlington Library
I received a phone call from a customer at the airport waiting to board her plane who needed to access her downloaded books before departing. She explained she couldn't find her Kindle books on her Kindle Fire carousel, so I started to troubleshoot what could be wrong. After a few questions were answered we realized that since these were audiobooks she needed to access them using the Overdrive app. I helped her find the books by using the three line tap menu and selecting "Bookshelf." I asked her to touch one of the titles and I waited in anticipation. "Does it play?" I asked. She said elatedly, "Yes!" So she got her books before the plane departed. Whew.
Jenny, Edmonds library
I started taking my kids to the library when they were toddlers, I wanted them to listen and practice a better English than mine and to expand their vocabulary before they were headed to kindergarten. We were there at the magic and puppets shows, the Summer and Winter programs, borrowing books, DVDs and audiobooks. The nice ladies at the Sultan library knew my kids by name they were there so often. Now, they don't go as often but they continue to visit and borrow items. I'm very grateful because the library has been a great partner in my kids' education and it's a safe place for them. Thank you, thank you, thank you and keep going strong!
Maria, Sultan Library
According to family history, I taught myself to read when I was 3 1/2 years old. I can't remember a time before reading. I was born in Bellevue & lived perhaps three miles from the old library that my family visited at least once per week.
Though that building is long gone & I've been a Sno-Isle patron since 1993, I can still recall the smell of that first library & the layout. At one point in my life, due to depression & loss, I found myself unable to concentrate on reading. I'd scan a page repeatedly & not retain any of the words, let alone the plot. Those were some of the longest & most difficult months for me not just because of my mental health but because my usual self-care of losing myself in a book wasn't working. After some intensive therapy & moving to a new city, I quickly found the local branch & jumped right back into reading.
I'm a fast reader so I'm at the library a couple times a week & one of the librarians occasionally asks for recommendations on the books I return. The library is & always has been a sanctuary & a place of discovery for me. I'm blessed to know that my siblings, their spouses & my nieces & nephews all love to read as much as I do. Family dinner conversations are more stimulating with well-read people who don't regurgitate pap from common denominator media.
A customer just came up to the reference desk and said, "Can I tell you something? This library is the most outstanding library I have ever been in. The people and atmosphere are friendly, the collection is wonderful, the library is so clean, it's just stunning!"
Overheard at the library from a 9 or 10 year old boy in a tone of awe on his way out, “This place is like endless wonder!”
First off, I haven't been reading much for long. My interest and explosion into reading only started a couple years ago. I'm in my 20s. However, I now realize how I've been doing things incredibly wrong.
I'm a software developer and consultant. A couple years ago, I hadn't read a book since school. I bought a Kindle on impulse with a weak resolve to start reading. The first book I read was Ender's Game. Then I read some Dan Brown. Pretty soon, I was hooked and loved to activity of reading and everything that comes with it. I was buying books on my Kindle left and right.
After a while, I bought the Amazon Fire HD. From there, I discovered Immersion Reading which is where the professional narration plays on top of the books, with the word being highlighted as it narrates. This got me hooked on Audible and I started paying the monthly membership at $14.99. Fast forward until a few months ago when I realize that I've actually become quite an avid reader and can hold intelligent conversations about many literary keystones. I'm not also able to spot subtle references to books in movies and TV. It dawned on me that I haven't seen the inside of the library since probably middle school! So I go open a library card.
Now, keep in mind. My entire reading experience thus far has been on various Kindles. I'd buy a new one (or two) each year and have them in all of my rooms and bags, each for their own purposes; Paperwhites, Voyage, Kindle Fire HD, Fire HDX, Fire HD6, Fire HD10, etc. So, I don't immediately see the benefit of using the library since I view paper books as a bit of a downgrade and was instantly turned off. Now, in the meantime, as a movie buff I've built an incredible Blu Ray library. To the point where I've created my own application to track my library. Where I buy things from, what I paid, what editions I own for movies, what formats, rentals, and the latest feature I just added was 'watches' where I can make an entry everytime I watch a title recording my rating for that viewing, what format I watched it in, etc. Giving me INCREDIBLY stats into my spending habits, watching habits, and a great digital catalog.
It's during this Blu Ray library building that I realize how much I love OWNING my stuff. I love the fact that I OWN these movies, their special features, the disc, the box, it's something that I never truly appreciated. I began buying my music, mostly MP3s that I'd keep an organize on my hard drive. Anyway, I developed this sense of ownership. Then when I looked at my Kindle, I was disgusted at the amount of money I've spent on my Kindle and Audible library, definitely four figures. I figured I'd at least give the library another shot, just to save money since I won't be getting ownership. I started checking out books and definitely became more attached to reading paper books over time and developed a love for the library. The atmostphere, the selection, the whole system.
I knew the library offered digital books, but I always thought it was some terrible system not even worth trying. Turns out, Overdrive is actually pretty damn awesome and it even adds the check outs THROUGH Amazon so I get to keep the same awesome Kindle reading experience. I started using Overdrive heavily. Saving money, reading more, and getting to keep the Kindle experience I loved...while ALSO like paper books now.
I then went on to my libraries website to see what other awesome things I'm missing out on and I found Freegal! Through my library, I can get 3, DRM free, legal, completely free songs every month! It's not some indie library either, I was able to download a 256kbp MP3 of Adele's new Hello...THE DAY IT WAS RELEASED! This will help me add to my music library which is growing nicely with a $20/mo investment. Being a software developer that uses Linux, I have an apt for keeping my digital files organized, sync'd, etc. So I'm not even having to use some 3rd party cloud service for this. All on my servers!
So, free books and audiobooks through Overdrive, free books through the Library, 3 free songs through Freegal, how can this get any more awesome? Blu Rays!!! The library has an incredibly amazing collection of Blu Rays available to check out, feeding the movie/TV buff in me. So now I'm going to the library just about every other day. Not only checking out novels, but skimming through "Dummy" books, and random biographies, even ATLASES! Which leads me to the ultimate discovery.
My library has a deal with a language learning site, a competitor to Rosetta Stone! So I can learn many major languages FOR FREE! At first, I was skeptical thinking it'd be some dumb online Rosetta Stone wannabe. Nope! It's definitely on par, if not better in some aspects, than Rosetta stone! I was incredibly excited. More importantly, as a Linux user, I've never been able to actually use the Rosetta Stone software. A couple years ago they made all of their courses available online through a browser, which was great! So I was able to take Rosetta Stone courses on Linux. However, the ONE language that I wanted to learn, Rosetta Stone still has not made available through a browser, meaning I still don't have access to it through RS; Latin. The company the library goes through...HAS LATIN! FOR FREE! ONLINE! WORKS WITH LINUX!
Bottom line is, it blows my mind how the vast majority of people don't utilize the public library. They are awesome!
I am an 83-year-old resident of Whidbey Island who has always been a reader. I find now that I enjoy books on tape and DVDs more than reading and appreciate being able to access these at the library.
A child came up to the circulation desk obviously peeved. Her lip was out and she kept glancing back to the children's area with an annoyance that could not be missed. Her mother told me that another child really annoyed her child and she (the child standing before me) was totally fried.
I noticed she was checking out materials of the new Disney movie, Frozen. I said to the little girl, "What is the name of the two characters?" She told me. Then I said, "Remember when Elsa sang the song, "Let it go?" Her head nodded enthusiastically.
I threw my arms toward the sky like the character in the movie and said, "Let it go!" She nodded, copied my gesture and then in a woeful sigh said, "Yes ... Let it go!"
I overheard her mother endorsing the idea and the little girl repeated, "Okay, I'll let it go!" as she walked out of the building in a much better mood.
At Edmonds library a woman leaned over to me as she walked by the information desk and whispered "This is one my favorite places in the world," and gave a big smile as she continued on her way.
I discovered the library at age four. I could read by then at kindergarten level and I found so many books to amuse me. I could take them home, I could read them at the library ... there was really no end to options for me. Now, the library is my favorite place and I am constantly buying new books. I have so many they would probably fit on about ten bookshelves.
In 2006, I decided to attend my first-ever rock music festival. I had been to a concert or two before, over the years, but never a multi-act all-day event. That year the Sasquatch Festival had Wolfmother, HIM, Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails. Now, I was over 40, and didn't have a clue about this thing called a mosh pit. I just wanted to have a good clear view of the stage. So I went very early, so I could get a nice spot up front. There were hours to go before the music started. So I took a library book with me to pass the time- "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown.
I read for awhile, and more and more people were coming. I was at the very front, very center, right by the stage. It was a standing area with a metal rail fence separating the crowd from the stage. The first couple acts, everything was okay.
But then one of the bigger acts started up. Suddenly, the crowd surged forward, and there were all these young men slamming themselves around behind the front rows of people. More and more people poured in.
Then a really popular song started. The crowd screamed and surged forward, shoving everyone before them up tight againt the metal fence. With a little five-foot-three, forty-odd year old woman right at the forefront of it.
The top rail of the metal fence came just to the bottom of my throat.
Suddenly I couldn't breathe. The crowd had us shoved in so tight the metal was pressing my airway closed, an iron rod across my neck.
I had my library book in my hand. I had picked it up when things started getting a little crazy, afraid it would be trampled or lost. Now, strangling between an immovable object and an irresistible force, some instinct told me what to do.
I started pulling the book up and around in front of me, a couple inches at a time, as the pressure shifted slightly with the movements of the crowd behind. The smooth plastic dust wrapper and strong rigid hardcover made it easy to force upward, a shove at a time. Soon I had it up to my throat.
One last shove, and "Da Vince Code" snapped into place between my throat and the fence, shielding my airway like a piece of armor. I sucked in a glorious lungful of air!
All around, people were getting hurt, fainting, having to be pulled out by security and handed off to medics. But thanks to my library book, I made it through the whole evening.
I ended up with two cracked ribs, a puffy bruised neck, and a great story to tell. Thank you Sno-Isle Libraries! And, by the way, library director - the extra expense of hardcover editions? It's totally worth it!!
Young customer came in and said he registered for a card. I asked for his ID and asked if he had something with his current address on it. He said, "Yes, I actually just got my first bill - something I think most people wouldn't think was great, but I thought 'Yes! Now I can get my library card!'"
So many books, so much information, so many programs, so many friendly faces. My library expands my living room, it is my salon where I can entertain and then leave the patrons to themselves. My Grandmother Melva was a school librarian and I was her library aide and so enjoyed sharing with others the favorite books of the time and reading to little ones just beginning to enjoy books. Smiles and thanks so for being my libraries.
A woman came to the Information Desk to ask about printing a document from the public computers without a library card. I explained that it was not necessary for her to be a registered borrower to use our computers, but that this was a perfect opportunity for her to get a library card. I asked whether she’d like to do that and she smiled and said “Oh, I never come to libraries.” I said “Let me tell you what you can get without ever coming to the library.” I briefly explained about the variety of electronic media resources available from Sno-Isle Libraries and, in those few seconds, she decided she needed a library card after all.
She came in thinking the library had nothing to offer outside the physical confines of a building. She left with her free ticket to electronic media heaven, accessible from anywhere with a connection to the Internet.
I love that moment when someone realizes the library has more than they expected – it’s magical, every time.
A quick note to acknowledge the difference Pam (Winstanley) has made in my life. I used to read what I found under my bed, which worked and was convenient because I was married to a book hound and she had lots of interesting choices hiding under there. But, divorce happens and now there are just dust bunnies and spiders under there and my reading has grown Increasingly Impoverished and Lonely. Enter Pam, who suggested I visit the Freeland Library. Not only that: she has made some great book suggestions. So, apparently I don't have to be married to find great things to read!
Barbara, a Langley customer, just shared with me how much she appreciated our auto-renewal service. She checked out a DVD, and said it took her some time to find a friend with a DVD player so she could watch it, but was absolutely thrilled that it auto-renewed and allowed her to enjoy the material. She said she loved the "small town service" and that it respected her time and schedule to let her enjoy it.
On April 24, I was working the Lynnwood Library Reference Desk and a four adults approached me and asked if we had old telephone directories. I replied "No" and asked what they were looking for. The woman said they were looking for an old address for someone (her mother) from the early 1980s. I said we had city directories and we started looking in a couple that matched their time frame.
In the course of looking, I gathered that the woman's mother and her boyfriend had lived in Lynnwood for one year in the early 1980s. This party of four in front of me - woman, her current male partner, her son and son's boyfriend were from San Francisco. They had flown up here to find the old residence. She thought it would be easy to find, but with so many changes - when they arrived in Lynnwood they quickly became lost.
I thought of Ancestry.com and we started searching. The mother/grandmother had a very common name, but they had her birthday. Plus they knew the birthday of the man the mother/grandmother had lived with at the time. As we searched, the library became busy and I suggested they try looking themselves and gave them a temporary pass. The woman kept saying "you are being so kind - thank you so much".
I set them up on a workstation and they had me come back once and asked for assistance. About 10 minutes later, the woman announced - we found it! As they left she walked up to me and gave me a big hug and whispered "You have no idea what this means to me." She had tears in her eyes as she said it.
Today a customer with shaky hands came in to request a book saying, "You're better at computers than I am, would you mind looking something up for me?" I said I would be happy to. We found the book and she said "Oh, and there it is! You know, I have always had the best luck coming to this desk. You guys don't know how wonderful you are. I moved here from a town of 100,000 people and there was only one library! Here it feels like there is practically one on every corner. Well, not really, but every one of them has always had really great people. I've always seemed to find what I needed. So thank you!"
I would like to commend an employee of the Coupeville branch, Rabbitt Betzner.
Rabbitt Betzner, left, lends a helping hand
It's December 31st. The last day of 2014. I turned 30 this year. And I accomplished my "30" goal-- visit 30 libraries in my 30th year.
Jocelyn Richardson in front of her home library in Monroe
So, 21 Sno-isle libraries. Plus 9 more, but not all on my motorcycle (Duvall, Columbia City, Woodinville, North Bend, two in Everett, WA. Then Tigard and Portland in OR and Vancouver Central branch in B.C.). And I have pictures at each library.
There is so much more to say about my 30 library experience-- spills, thrills, books I read, pilgrimage motorcycle trip to one of our favorite kid's book locations, and foster children joining our family (and getting their first library cards). But for now, I'm just proud to say that I finished :)
I wonder what new libraries I will visit in 2015...
Edmonds Library hosted a Lego Slam on Saturday, November 15th. For an hour, kids created and built contentedly. They eagerly looked at the Lego books on display. After the program, a mom caught my arm and said, "thank you so much for having this program. It brought my two boys back into the library. It brought them back to reading. They even checked out some books!"
This week at the Granite Falls Library, I was assisting a young man at the circulation desk. An older man got in line behind him with a set of World War II videos that he wanted to purchase from the friends book sale. The younger man commented on the World War II videos, and he asked the older gentleman if he had served in the war. The older man said he didn't serve in World War II, but he could remember it. He said that he had actually served in the Korean War. The two men from very different generations introduced themselves to each other and ended up having a very lively conversation about wars and war collectibles. Onlookers might have guessed that they were old friends and not imagined the two had just met. They shook hands as they parted ways, and the younger man thanked the veteran for his service. It was wonderful to see the intergenerational connection being made here at the library.
I am a patron of three different public libraries (in different states and countries), one of which was named the top library in N America last year. I just wanted to let you know that the Sno-Isle ebook acquisition is truly outstanding, your online browse and reserve book system is exceptional, and the co-operative Sno-Isle library system turns what could be a small (but heroic) library into a significant force in the more rural regions of Washington. Well, well done! These are high kudos from someone who has found libraries a source of great value and personal joy since my first visit to one some 55 years ago. I have since been associated with several universities with internationally revered collections, but I have always found that the local public library system was as important for allowing me to explore popular culture through fiction in a way that research libraries simply cannot and will not. I just wanted to say, you guys are the greatest! Thanks so much!
I used to just hate it when a customer would come into the bookstore where I worked and describe a book they could not live without. They did not remember the title or the author's name. Sometimes all they could say was , "It had a yellow cover...".
Well, August 20, 2014,it was my turn and the Librarian at the Freeland Branch of Sno-Isle actually found both of the books (one is in the collection)!
Well done! I truly appreciate her help.
I really appreciate how Sno Isle Library stocks graphic novels as soon as they are available. I took a pay cut and can no longer afford to buy comics. I love graphic novels so it means alot that I am still able to read my favorite characters by getting the books from the library. Keep up the good work!
I wish to thank Shannon Dye, Children's Librarian, at the Monroe Sno-Isle branch for allowing me to bring 10-20 students four times this summer to the special events. None of the students in our elementary care/summer day camp had their own library card until now. My library card is among my most valuable possessions. When I enter the library, it feels like Christmas any day of the year.
I love Sno-Isle Libraries because I am able to bring guests, and kids who love the atmosphere. I was amazed at how "awed" they were to see the bikes I had described as part of our summer quiet reading time "contest".
I feel it is important for every person to know libraries are free. They can go ask a question, find information and even get homework help!
The Marysville Library allowed me to use a quiet room to tutor a few high school students weekly last year, then the library placed me on a tutor's referral list. This is how I wish to spend time when fully retired. THANK YOU for everything you have thought of and prepared for us.
Two months ago I canceled my subscription to a mail order DVD rental service because it took up to six months to get a newly published DVD.
Then I looked at one of the rental machines in town and was reluctant to use it because of the one-day return policy.
One night my wife says, "What about the library?" Amazingly she found all the newly released DVDs I wanted. They were available 4 months before I could get them from the mail order service and I have up to a week to return them. Wow! The Sno-Isle Libraries continues to amaze me.
A customer told me that she remembers going to the Monroe Library as a child at the former library building. She said she remembers how small it was, and that when this one was built it was a real boon to the community. She continues to marvel that such a small town has such a fabulous library.
I was staying right outside of Stanwood for a work conference. I had been on the road the whole week before and had no time to even look at my assignments that were due that Monday. After my work conference was dismissed for the day, I jumped online to see what homework I had due that night, I assumed it was the typical 5-6 page paper. But not this time! I needed to make a collage out of magazine, Internet, and newspaper photos, as well as words and images from news stories and websites that focus on a single cultural group. GREAT! Being at the Masters level, I really did not expect this! How am I going to get this done when I had no magazines, no printer, no scanner, no scissors, and no glue. I quickly got online to see if Stanwood had a library. I was in luck! By the time I arrived it was well past 5pm. The staff were INCREDIBLE! I told them my situation and they jumped right in providing me everything I needed to succeed. I happily paid the fees to copy and print. Before I knew it, my collage on Poverty was complete. I dropped what few bucks I had left in the Friends of Library book sale box. But really it was not enough. I will never forget how helpful the staff was and how user friendly the entire library was. I wished I lived closer because I would be so proud if that were my hometown library!
I went to the Toyota Dealership with a friend. While waiting in the quiet room a woman came in. She was very distraught. After she completed her phone call she overheard me coaching my friend on using the regular catalog, eCatalog and talking about downloading eContent. She made a comment that she was having trouble with her Nook. I told her I would be willing to try to help her. She logged on to the computer that was available and she showed me where she was having a problem. While I couldn’t solve the immediate problem I showed her many things on how to get her problem solved, including the Overdrive support page. She was amazed at the number of available resources available to her. She couldn’t wait to go in to Arlington to try their book a librarian and eCoaching sessions. She came in mad about the car but left feeling good about the library.
A new customer with a new library card expressed delight at being able to check out movies for free.
A customer commented on the spring spectacular school age program line up. She appreciated the wonderful programs.
They walk in with stooped shoulders, downcast eyes and defeated grimaces with seemingly the weight of the world on their backs. Job losses, divorces, loss of a beloved mate, homelessness... it's all the same. World weary souls in search of information or a simple diversion of activity. What they get in addition to information sought is a smile and affirmations from staff of being "seen" in a world where they are mostly treated as invisible. I think of the fictitious bar, "Cheers, where everybody knows your name". The library can be that safe place of affirmation and camaraderie. A place to get an "atta boy or atta girl" pat on the back. We see you, we value you and we welcome you. More than just an information palace, the library is a place of safe harbor and a life line to bone weary souls in search of a friendly face and human comfort.
A few years ago I spent a lot of time in the Snohomish Library studying for a state licensing exam. The quiet and inspirational atmosphere proved conducive for learning, because I passed the exam!
I grew up in Everett and became a patron of the Sno-Isle Library System when I was about six years young. My library card was my first “real” plastic card and I worshiped it.
From the time I was able to sound out words on the page, I’d always loved the satisfaction I gained from reading, and I spent every summer as a child absolutely devouring books, forever longing to color in one more box on my Summer Reading Adventure tracking sheet. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so to speak, and I checked out gobs of books at a time - more books than I ever would’ve been able to read before they were due. My mother, after helping me move my loot from the library to the car and then from the car into the house on numerous occasions, instigated a rule in which I could “only check out as many books as I could carry.” On my next trip to the library, I brought with me a Rubbermaid tub, filling it to the brim while glaring at my mother in mock defiance. She just laughed.
I’m still an avid reader and Sno-Isle patron. As an adult, I’ve had the opportunity to familiarize myself with two other library systems, and Sno-Isle is by far my favorite. Sno-isle has the most comprehensive selection of books and movies I’ve encountered; I almost always find what I’m looking for, no matter how obscure or specific it might be. At least once a month, I search for an item, my expectations low, and upon finding it, think to myself, “They actually have that? Awesome!”
Still, books aren’t the only thing in Sno-Isle’s arsenal of treasures. A friend came over to my house not long ago and saw a few hot new DVD releases sitting on my mantle. “You got these from the library? For free?” he asked upon seeing the Sno-Isle barcode on their cases. “Didn’t these movies just come out on DVD?” I answered yes to all. “I can’t believe they have these movies at the library!” he exclaimed in surprise as he flipped through the stack.
Sno-Isle has teamed up with Freegal, which is a legal music download service with artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, John Mayer, The Fray, Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, Mumford & Sons, John Legend, Train, Sara Bareilles, and One Direction. As a Sno-Isle Library cardholder, I get three free downloads per week. Three free songs a week, people!
It doesn’t stop there. Sno-Isle has more free resources at its patrons’ disposal than I ever realized. Did you know that you can learn languages through Mango, get help with resumes and homework, receive full access to Consumer Reports’ online magazine, and utilize search engines of published articles and papers? There are resources upon resources! I recently discovered Khan Academy, a free, hip website offering quality education on a smorgasbord of topics to those who want to learn for the sake of learning. Sign me up!
It’s true that you never really know what you have until you lose it. I once had a dismal experience with another library system, after which I sorely realized how much I missed Sno-Isle. I had three overdue books in my possession, which I eventually returned, but the library kept sending me notices that I owed money. I called them to clear up the mistake. “The books aren’t lost,” I explained in frustration. “I returned them.” “I see that,” replied the librarian, “but you still owe the late fees.”
Late fees? What are those? As a born-and-bred Sno-Isle patron, I had no idea that late fees were the norm on overdue library materials. I finally realized how lucky I’d been all those years! I’ve definitely had overdue and even lost items (yikes!) on my record before, but I’ve always returned them, at which point Sno-Isle kindly wipes my slate clean.
Sno-Isle is also generous with its check-out guidelines. Anyone can check out any item for three weeks and can renew an item up to five times, provided no one else has requested it. I’ve seen other library systems be stingier with their popular items (such as newly released DVDs), reducing the check-out period to a mere seven days. Despite Sno-Isle’s lenient check out time frame, I always receive my requested materials in a timely manner. Even if I’m number 350 on the holds list for a popular new movie, I get the DVD reasonably quickly. Sno-Isle anticipates the needs of its patrons when it comes to highly sought after items, and it always seems to have a large number in circulation.
I adore Sno-Isle Libraries - all that knowledge and entertainment at my fingertips, and for free! What could be better?!
“The library is our family's launch pad for adventure. It's our haven. It's our treasure trove. We could never be able to have such a collection for ourselves. What a blessing the library is for our community!” – Ruthann Larson, Lake Stevens, Wash.
(Permission to use her name was sent by email 8/22/13, original quote from a Facebook comment)
I homeschooled my three children for seven years, and I could not have been successful without the help of the Lynnwood Library. This privilege has helped me to instill a love of learning, as well as a love for the written word, in my children. It is something I will always treasure.
There have been times in my life when I haven't been able to buy the books I want, so libraries have been a way to deal with my problems, going places I have never been and learning new things even at 60 years of age. Libraries are pathways to learning and fun.
We have a family that frequents our library. One of their older boys is away in California and the other day was his birthday. The father asked us for help installing Skype on his laptop. We quickly showed him how to sign up and he walked away in awe at how simple it was.
Shortly after, I heard "Happy Birthday" being sung from our meeting room. I looked over to see the mom and dad and four of the siblings gathered around the laptop, singing! With closer inspection, I was able to see their son's smiling face on the screen and even wish him a "happy birthday" myself. I was so thrilled to see this family "gathering" and had to smile at this clever application of technology.
The library remains a center for people, ideas, and culture; a place where families can congregate, even if it means using our high-speed Wi-Fi to do so. His mom's only complaint was that she wasn't able to hug him through the computer.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, artist and fly fisherman Bob Banks taught a Fly Tying class at the Marysville Library. Three people attended. Unsuccessful program? Not in the slightest.
One of the attendees, John, had flown in from Missouri to visit his brother-in-law and met Bob the day before through the Evergreen Fly Fishing Club. John works with veterans and had heard about a device called the ‘Evergreen Hand,' which enables people to tie fishing flies with just one hand.
Bob's assistant Jesse Scott, who also works with disabled veterans, is the designer of the device. When John had the opportunity to spend the two-hour workshop experimenting with the Evergreen Hand, he was delighted! He kept exclaiming, "I can't believe I'm getting to use this!" Then Jesse told John he could take it with him to use with veterans in Missouri, and the smile that split John's face is something I will never forget!
Getting to be a partial catalyst in helping people halfway across the country in a way I could never have imagined gives me one more reason to be thankful for my profession and the variety of services Sno-Isle provides.
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