Library News

'Storytime' is about growth; the children and the community

Originally published Jun. 29, 2016

Logan Schlicker launches a toy airplane during Storytime at Lake Stevens Library. (Photo gallery)

Two or three mornings a week, the Lake Stevens Library is full of young readers.

Well, make that soon-to-be young readers and don’t expect it to be whisper-quiet because the groups that are filling the air and floor are all under age 5 and accompanied by a parent or caregiver. It’s called “Storytime” and children’s librarian Monica Jackson says it is a popular and growing program.

Lindsay Johns and her daughter, Ava, during Storytime at Lake Stevens Library.

Storytime Schedule


  • Toddler (18 months- 3 years): 10 a.m., Mondays, July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1
  • Preschool (3-5 years): 10 a.m., Thursdays, July 7, 14, 21, 28 and Aug. 4

    *Note: The July 7 Preschool Storytime at Lake Stevens Library will feature the Washington State University Extension Beach Watchers, a group of trained beach naturalists dedicated to the protection of Puget Sound beaches through education.

Fall (weekly, starting Sept. 20)

  • Baby (newborn-18 months): 10 a.m., Tuesdays

  • Toddler (18 months- 3 years): 10 a.m., Wednesdays

  • Preschool (3-5 years): 10 a.m., Thursdays

“Every week it seems a new child and parent are joining us,” said Jackson, who is the children’s librarian at the library. “The Lake Stevens area is just growing so fast with young families.”

On a recent morning, one of those first-timers was Mandi Schlicker and her son, Logan.

“It was our first time to visit the library for Storytime,” Schlicker said. “The program offered many aspects of entertainment for Logan, stories, singing, dancing and then a little play time with lots of toys. We look forward to going again!”

And, it’s not just the little ones who like these 60-minute sessions: “It was nice to socialize with other moms,” Schlicker said.

Lake Stevens Library Managing Librarian Sonia Gustafson agrees that while such reading programs are popular at most libraries, the community’s demographics make them particularly attractive in Lake Stevens.

“This area is growing fast,” said Gustafson, who stays close to community issues by regularly participating in meetings with city staff.

In 2000, Lake Stevens had about 6,300 residents and was the 12th largest city in Snohomish County. In 2014, the population was just shy of 30,000 and ranked fifth in the county. The city is planning for another 10,000 people by 2035. Much of that growth so far is coming from young families attracted by good schools and comparatively affordable housing.

“We see families come in, sometimes with laundry baskets to load up with books and DVDs,” Gustafson said. “The next week, they’re back to return those and load up again.”

For the younger ones, and their parents, Storytime is the draw.

“We started going there because my friend from high school takes her daughter here,” said Lindsay Johns, mother of Ava. “She posted on Facebook and we went and its lots of fun.

“The movement and interaction with kids her age is always fun. We love the songs and hanging out with other babies. I feel like she can move around there.”

Johns said she also appreciates the expertise of the library staff: “Monica is really great at what she does.”

Jackson has been a children’s, teen and adult services librarian in school, public and college libraries. Her undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education and she received her Master of Library Science from the University of Washington. She’s been at the Lake Stevens Library since 2011.

Sno-Isle Libraries closed July 4

Originally published Jun. 28, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, July 4 for Independence Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, July 5. See locations & hours.

Arlington Library starts summer program with Hungry Games

Originally published Jun. 27, 2016


Photo of children trying to eat doughnuts.

After removing the plastic bags, 12-year-olds Ocean Jang (left), Treety Jang and Sheamin Kim go after doughnuts on a string without using their hands Monday while competing in The Hungry Games outside Arlington Library.

Dan Bates photo/The Herald

By Kari Bray, Herald Writer

Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ARLINGTON — The wreckage of squashed bananas and shattered pretzels littered the grass. Shirts were stained white with whipped cream and teeth were stained black by Oreo cookies. Doughnuts dangled from a string between three trees on the edge of the battlefield.

Librarian Abby Bormann called out orders amidst the chaos, a megaphone her only tool for corralling more than 50 children and teens fueled by the thrill of starting summer break.

The students were challenged to participate in the Hungry Games, a series of food-themed contests, to kick off Sno-Isle Libraries' summer reading program Monday afternoon. The reading program started June 1 but many students are just now starting their summer breaks.

On Monday, kids lined up to “Face the Cookie,” where they balanced an Oreo on their forehead and tried to get it to their mouths without using hands or arms. They partnered up for the pretzel toss, where one teammate held a crazy straw in their mouth and the other tried to toss five pretzels onto the straw like horseshoes. They tied Twizzlers into knots with their mouths and searched with their faces for a piece of bubblegum buried in a plate of whipped cream.

In one of the most popular tournaments, participants faced off against each other for banana jousting. They mounted their trusty steeds — pool noodles with a horse or shark face on them — and exchanged blows with bananas to see whose would break open first. The person with the last banana in one piece claimed victory.

“For war. For glory. For bananas!” shouted Lucas Gibson, a 12-year-old who goes to Post Middle School. He and his friend, Shayne Shelton, were the first two to joust. Lucas won a squishy stress ball as a prize after Shayne's banana fell apart.

Friends Katanna Breece and Annabelle Hoffman, both 12, competed in all of the Hungry Games events. They were looking for something to do now that their school is out until fall.

“We've been kind of bored for the summer,” Katanna confessed.

Annabelle shrugged. “I just wanted to eat doughnuts off of trees.”

That was the final challenge of the day: trying to eat a doughnut hanging off of a tree without using hands.

After the games, Bormann urged students to stop by the library, across the street from the battlefield, and sign up for the summer reading program. All 21 Sno-Isle Libraries have programs this summer for elementary-age kids and middle or high school students. They can sign up in person at one of the libraries or online at

By keeping track of how many hours they read, participants can get books as prizes and be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to their nearest book store.

There also are dozens of summer reading events at libraries around Snohomish and Island counties.

“Each branch is doing something different,” Bormann said. “We're focusing on games and gaming.”

Upcoming activities in Arlington include a Harry Potter game day and a Doctor Who trivia and costume contest. Calendars of events for all of the libraries are available at Other libraries have planned activities with music, magicians and presentations from Sarvey Wildlife Center, among other highlights.

The summer reading program, called “Explore Summer,” goes until Aug. 31.

Sheamin Kim, 12, is excited to start her summer reading. She loves books and planned to go find a new one at the library after finishing the Hungry Games.

“If I could live in the library, I would,” she said.

Issues That Matter forum takes emotional look at teen suicide

Originally published Jun. 24, 2016

Photo of Issues That Matter panelists

Megan LaPlante, A Monroe High School student (at right) speaks during the June 23 Issues That Matter event at Snohomish Library. LaPlante, who is Miss Washington High School America 2016, has made teen suicide awareness and prevention part of her platform. Listening are fellow panelists Rena Fitzgerald, manager of the Crisis Chat line run by Volunteers of America Western Washington, and Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. Photo gallery  #snoisleITM

Issues That Matter forums

The remaining three Issues That Matter events on teen suicide are scheduled for:

  • July 7, Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center, 9612 271st St. NW, Stanwood
  • July 13, Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo
  • July 21, Oak Harbor Library, 1000 SE Regatta Dr., Oak Harbor

All events will start at 6:30 p.m. They are open are to the public and free, with funding provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. The forums feature panels of experts and community members to discuss what can be done about teen suicide.

An emotional and hopefully helpful evening unfolded during Sno-Isle Libraries’ “Issues That Matter” event at Snohomish Library.

The June 23 event was the first of four public forums about the causes, scope and prevention of teen suicide in Snohomish and Island counties. Local health officials have noted an increase in teen suicides over the past several years. The Issues That Matter initiative is designed to encourage conversations on topics that impact the community.

“Suicide affects all ages and entire communities,” said forum panelist Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the suicide rate in Snohomish County is higher than the national average.”

A study done by the health district in 2014 showed that 20 percent of high school students in Snohomish County consider suicide.

Goldbaum said the public-health approach to suicide is not blaming or shaming. “Suicide is not inevitable,” he said. “We can, we will prevent suicides.”

Rena Fitzgerald, manager of the Crisis Chat line run by Volunteers of America Western Washington in Everett, debunked the idea that talking about suicide makes people suicidal. Indeed, she said, the opposite is true.

“We think people don’t talk about it, but most people do talk about it,” Fitzgerald told the capacity audience in the library's meeting room. “They say, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or I’ve figured out a solution.’ You don’t have to be a mental-health professional to help someone. Call the crisis line for advice.”

Megan LaPlante brought a personal perspective to the panel.

LaPlante, a sophomore-to-be at Monroe High School, became emotional as she recounted the suicide of a friend. LaPlante, who is Miss Washington High School America 2016, has made teen suicide awareness and prevention part of her platform. LaPlante showed a video from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) called “Talk Saves Lives.”

Audience members also became emotional as they stood to share their stories. One mother asked what can be done so, "We don't have another funeral in Marysville.” Another tearful mother said: “I lost my son last year; he wasn't quite a teen yet. I wish I had known warning signs.”

Fitzgerald noted there will be an Out of the Darkness community walk on Oct. 15 at Legion Park in Everett. Sponsored by the AFSP, the walks are intended to raise awareness and funds to help the organizations work toward its goals.

Teen suicide resources


Teens can make a difference with ambassador program

Originally published Jun. 16, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries has volunteer opportunities for 14- to 18-year-olds looking to make a difference in their communities.

“It’s called the ‘Teen Ambassador’ program,” said Dawn Rutherford, teen-services coordinator for the library district. “We’re looking for a variety of personalities and interests, but the common denominator will be teens who want to help and communicate with others.”

Teen ambassador posterThe program is for teens across the district, which has 21 libraries across Snohomish and Island counties. Starting in August, ambassadors would commit to volunteering at least four hours a month for the next year.

“Our goal is that ambassadors will bring more teen voices - their own and others’ - to our libraries,” Rutherford said. “Ambassadors will gain leadership and workplace skills while educating and raising awareness about library programs and resources.”

“Not only will ambassadors have an opportunity to help build connections in their community, but they’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at how the library works.”

Just how ambassadors bring those voices forward will depend on the skills and interests they bring to the job, said Rutherford, who had a similar experience when she was a teen. “Teen Ambassadors may be good writers, have social-media skills, be great at video or photography, be interested in advocacy or maybe just love movies, music and books,” she said.

For those thinking about going on to college, this kind of experience may be beneficial. According to the College Board, which sponsors the Advanced Placement (AP) program and administers the SAT and other standardized tests, extracurricular experience on an application adds information for college admissions screeners to consider.

The Teen Ambassador-program application process includes:

  • Applications due June 30, 2016.
  • Interviews in July.
  • Training in August.
  • Teen Ambassador work begins in September.

“Teen Ambassadors may report on library events, create reviews, post on social media and blogs and generally represent the library in a friendly professional manner,” Rutherford said. “Sno-Isle Libraries already has a number of ways teens can get involved, including our video bloggers, or ‘vloggers,’ and the Teen Explore Summer. Teen Ambassadors is another way for teens to make their voice heard.”

Snohomish Library has carpet project covered

Originally published Jun. 14, 2016

Photo of worn carpeting at Snohomish Library
The carpeting at Snohomish Library is showing signs of wear after 13 years. Photo gallery

The Snohomish Library is going to shrink for a month this summer.

“We need to replace the carpeting and some flooring in the library,” Managing Librarian Darlene Weber said. “It’s a big job that requires closing the main part of the building. The good news is that we’re going to turn the meeting room into a mini-version of the library so that our customers can still access many of the materials and services they want and need.”

The book on August library service

  • The main area of the Snohomish Library building will be closed Aug. 7-Sept. 5 for a carpeting and flooring project.
  • The meeting room, lobby and restrooms will not be available for general public use from Aug. 7-Sept. 5.
  • From Aug. 7-31, limited library services will be available in the building’s meeting room from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Mondays-Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.
  • There will be no library service from Sept. 1-5 
  • The main library and all other areas will repoen with full services on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The main library will be closed from Aug. 7 –Sept. 5. During that time, there will be no public access to the main library, the entrance area and the restrooms.

“We will be able to provide limited library service during the closure,” Weber said. “Customers can come to the outside entrance of the meeting room to pick up items on hold, turn in ‘Explore Summer’ logs and get prizes and take care of issues related to their accounts.”

“We also hope to have some small collections for people to browse, especially for children, so come visit us!”

Weber said that, unfortunately, the limited space in the meeting room will make it not possible to provide some services, including access to public computers and normal programs and events. And, Weber said, since the meeting room is being used as the mini-library, it won’t be available for other public uses and reservations.

“While we won’t have computers available, the Wi-Fi will be on and accessible to those outside and with their own devices,” Weber said.

Most of the carpet and flooring in the 23,000-square-foot library is original to when it was built in 2003. “We’re really excited about this major update and replacement of worn out carpet and flooring,” Weber said.

The ongoing maintenance work is just part of what facilities manager Brian Rush has brought to the Snohomish facility in recent years. Energy efficiency upgrades mean that in 2015, the building used 17 percent less electricity and 70 percent less natural gas than in 2011.

“This is a standard replacement and update cycle of carpeting for us. After 13 years of use in a public space we would expect to be replacing the carpet,” Rush said. “We want to keep this building looking great, and this kind of routine, proactive maintenance is a part of doing that.”

For those who want or need to use a full-service facility during the closure, she suggests Snohomish customers look toward the Monroe or Marysville libraries. “If someone would like to get set up to use another location during the closure, we’d be happy to help, especially for public computing,” Weber said.


Four forums to tackle tough issue of teen suicide

Originally published Jun. 1, 2016

Teen suicide is a dark issue, one that can be difficult for family members and loved ones to comprehend. It’s also a problem that experts say can shrink when light is shined upon it.

Shining a light is what Sno-Isle Libraries hopeteen suicide forums posts to do in hosting a series of four public forums about the causes, scope and prevention of teen suicide in Snohomish and Island counties. The events are part of Sno-Isle Libraries' “Issues That Matter” initiative designed to encourage conversations on topics that impact the community. The events are scheduled for:

  • June 23, Snohomish Library, 311 Maple Ave., Snohomish
  • July 7, Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center, 9612 271st St. NW, Stanwood
  • July 13, Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo
  • July 21, Oak Harbor Library, 1000 SE Regatta Dr., Oak Harbor

All events will start at 6:30 p.m. They are open are to the public and free, with funding provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. The forums will feature panels of experts and community members to discuss what can be done about teen suicide.

One of those panelists will be Rena Fitzgerald, program manager for Care Crisis Chat run by Volunteers of America – Western Washington. “The suicide rate in Snohomish County is just about the highest it’s ever been. It’s more than a public health problem, it’s a crisis,” Fitzgerald said earlier this year.

Another participant will be Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. In June 2015, the Snohomish Health District released figures showing 13 young people had taken their own lives since September, 2014, more than double the annual number of previous years.

A 2014 survey of 11,852, sixth-, eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders in Snohomish County found significant numbers of students – from 16-21 percent depending on grade level – had seriously considered suicide. Nearly one in five surveyed students reported they did not have a parent or trusted adult that they feel comfortable confiding in for asking for help.

The health district has sent out fliers to school districts on what resources are available to help. The crisis line managed by Fitzgerald is open to people of all ages, but about half of the users are younger than 25.

Suicide prevention – for both youth and adults – was one of the top three issues of Snohomish County identified in the Community Health Improvement Plan. The plan aims to reduce the rate of suicide in Snohomish County from 14.6 per 100,000 to 10.2 per 100,000 by 2020.

Charlene Ray, Island County Mental Health clinical supervisor, will be participating at the Oak Harbor event on July 21. Island County Human Services provides a variety of mental health services including a school-based program in all four school districts of Island County; Oak Harbor, Coupeville, South Whidbey and Camano/Stanwood. Suicide prevention is among the concerns addressed by the program.

More information about the forums, along with library resources addressing the topic, is available online at

Get ready to 'Explore Summer' with Sno-Isle Libraries

Originally published May. 26, 2016

Think summer reading is lazing under a tree as a warm breeze turns the pages for you?

Well, could be, but the Sno-Isle Libraries, “Explore Summer – Read, Learn Discover” program is aimed at youth from tiny to teens and has something more competitive, energetic and probably louder in store.

Explore Summer graphic“While children and teens of all ages are welcome to participate in ’Explore Summer, it is designed to better prepare students when they return to school in the fall by battling the summer slide” said Leslie Moore, youth and outreach services manager for Sno-Isle Libraries. “We have a really full lineup of events, activities and library materials to keep kids engaged, entertained, and learning while having fun.”

“Explore Summer,” which runs from June 1-Aug. 31, may just make students smarter, too.

Educators from school districts across Snohomish and Island counties say that summer programs such as “Explore Summer – Read, Learn Discover” can improve a student’s performance when they go back to school in the fall. School officials supporting Sno-Isle Libraries’ program include:

  • Edmonds School District Library and Instructional Technology Coordinator Marianne Costello
  • Everett School District Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Joyce Stewart
  • Lakewood School District Director of Teaching and Learning Melissa VanZanten
  • Mukilteo School District Assistant Superintendent Alison Brynelson
  • Oak Harbor School District Special Programs Director Janice Gaare
  • Sultan School District Superintendent Dan Chaplik

“Explore Summer” challenges participants to become bronze-, silver- and gold-medal readers. The program includes reading logs for kids and teens that are available at any Sno-Isle library or can be printed at home by going to Gaining each level and other milestones will make participants eligible for prizes awarded at each library.

In addition, children can earn extra badges in Beanstack. Beanstack is a personalized online service designed for families with young readers discover books, activities, apps and other items that matched to your child's age and interests.

 Yes, “Explore Summer” definitely includes reading, but there is more.

“The Sarvey Wildlife Center is bringing their ‘Birds of Prey’ show to several libraries, we’ve got bands playing, magicians, the Pacific Science Center, the ‘Noiseguy’ … a whole summer of some pretty exciting and fun activities scheduled across our libraries,” Moore said.

The “Explore Summer” program addresses a number of the Sno-Isle Libraries strategic goals, including literacy and learning, community and culture, free and equal access and championing early literacy.

Dedication of library friends results in dedication of art

Originally published May. 24, 2016

It was a long time coming, but on Saturday, May 21, a dedicated group from Friends of the Camano Island Library were joined by their friends and supporters for an art dedication event at the library.

John Ebner and Ryan Jansen with Islnaders sculture

John Ebner (left) and Ryan Jansen stand with their art piece "Islanders" following a May 21, 2016 dedication event at Camano Island Library. Ebner conceived of the sculpture and Jansen fabricated it at the Stanwood High School welding shop. More photos

Officially installed and accepted as permanent art displays were:

"Wonders and Curiosities on Every Shelf," a 14-foot by 2-foot, mixed-media mural printed digitally on aluminum by Danny Koffman.

“Brown, Matsui, and Levi Strauss,” by Duane Simshauser includes metal plates, hardware cloth, jeans, branches, concert tickets, acrylic on wood panels.

"Islanders," a steel sculpture conceptualized by John Ebner and fabricated by Ryan Jansen.

The event included a reception to meet the three local artists, followed by opening remarks by Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, executive director of Sno-Isle Libraries, then the presentation of the three art pieces, followed by comments by Connie Hall, co-chair of the Camano Library Fundraising Committee and then closing comments by Woolf-Ivory.

The Camano Island Library began as a pilot project in 2006. The economic downturn and other factors turned the intended three-year timeframe into an eight-year odyssey that resulted in the opening of the new library in August, 2015.

Norma Mouton, chair of the Friends of Camano Island Library Art Committee, said art was always part of the plan and more is on the way. “We decided on five pieces and ended up with seven,” Mouton said prior to Saturday’s ceremony. “These are just the first three.”

Sno-Isle Libraries closed May 30

Originally published May. 24, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, May 31. See locations & hours.

Survey asks library customers about technology use

Originally published May. 24, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries is asking its customers to share how they use and value various library technology services.

Impact Survey graphicFrom May 23-June 12, an online survey will be open to ask library customers how they use and benefit from technology and related services at their library. Called the Impact Survey, it is an ongoing national research project created by the University of Washington Information School with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This is the second time Sno-Isle Libraries has offered the survey to customers. In 2014, library district officials used the information from the survey to inform and adjust services such as public computers, wireless internet access, online resources and digital literacy training.

Anne Murphy, lead librarian for public computing, said the 2014 results were informative and some have been put to work.

“We learned that our services such as internet access and printing are valuable, even to those with access at home,” Murphy said. “We also learned that staff assistance on the computers is frequently requested and highly valued by our customers.”

Murphy said that information resulted in added staff training to help ensure even service levels across the district’s 21 libraries.

“We want every customer that walks through our doors to receive the same high quality level of assistance with technology,” Murphy said. “To date, 42 information services staff members have received training about teaching technology classes, and many have already taught classes in their branches.”

More training will be on the way later this year with the development of curriculum around the most popular devices and electronic resources used by Sno-Isle Libraries customers, Murphy said.

The plan is to offer the survey every two years.

“We want to learn if the changes we make are effective,” said Christa Werle, public services project manager. “We want to stay close to our communities and learn how customers’ needs are evolving.”

The survey results from Sno-Isle customers also help inform the national study. Since October, 2013, 71,239 library customers from 1,167 libraries across the U.S. have taken the survey.

Camano Island Library project garners design award

Originally published May. 18, 2016

Camano Island Library photo

The Camano Island Library is a striking addition to Terry's Corner on Camano Island. Photo by Lucas Henning. Photo gallery 



Camano Island Library staff members are getting used to hearing customers’ verbal votes of approval about their building:

“Ooh, what a nice library!”

“Aah, what a pleasant space.”

And now, it’s official. The Camano Island Library is an award-winning design.

Library art dedication set for Saturday, May 21

From the beginning, art was part of the design for the Camano Island Library and on Saturday afternoon, May 21, work by three local artists will dedicated for permanent display at the library.

The event is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. at the Camano Island Library, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island, WA 98282.

 “When the library moved to the new location, we decided we needed permanent art as part of the décor,” said Norma Mouton, chair of the Friends of Camano Island Library Art Committee. “We worked with the architect to determine where (the art would be located).”

Art works to be dedicated on Saturday are:

  • "Wonders and Curiosities on Every Shelf," a 14-foot by 2-foot, mixed-media mural printed digitally on aluminum by Danny Koffman.
  • “Brown, Matsui, and Levi Strauss,” by Duane Simshauser includes metal plates, hardware cloth, jeans, branches, concert tickets, acrylic on wood panels.
  • "Islanders," a steel sculpture conceptualized by John Ebner and fabricated by Ryan Jansen.

The AIA Northwest Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects has honored architect Dan Nelson of Stanwood-based Designs Northwest, Stig Carlson of Stig Carlson Architecture in Coupeville, general contractor Kirtley Cole Construction of Everett and Sno-Isle Libraries with a Citation Award for their collective work in turning a former restaurant into a library.

The honor was bestowed May 5 at the group’s annual awards dinner in Bellingham. The awards celebrate projects that represent the finest standards in sustainability, innovation, building performance and overall integration with the client and surrounding community. Architects based in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties are eligible for consideration.

“I think the award is recognition that we took an existing structure and turned that into a focal point and an asset for the community,” Nelson said. “The award criteria included social enhancement and community involvement. There was really good community input, a lot of public meetings and working closely with Camano Islanders.”

The process for a Camano Island Library began in December, 2006, when the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees approved a pilot library project. Six months later a temporary facility opened in a storefront at Terry’s Corner. With voter approval of funding, work began in 2014 on the then-empty Islanders Restaurant, also at Terry’s Corner in Camano Commons, and the new library opened in August, 2015.

“We had a good working relationship with Dan at Designs Northwest, Stig Carlson and everyone on the project,” said Jeanne Crisp, Director of Facilities and Special Projects for Sno-Isle Libraries.

It helped, Nelson said, that his firm was familiar with the site.

“We did the initial concept for Camano Commons and the schematic for the restaurant that the library eventually became,” Nelson said. “”Then, Stig came together with Designs Northwest to work on the library. There were challenges in turning a facility that had been a restaurant into a library, but it helped the functionality to add approximately 900 square feet on to the original structure.”

By all accounts, the customers, community and the library district are happy with the now award-winning result.

“The support of the community meant we can provide what they had asked for: adequate library space for children’s activities; a larger selection of popular books, movie and music titles; as well as more space and public computers for research, school assignments and comfortable browsing,” Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director said. “A permanent library on Camano Island enables Sno-Isle Libraries to continue to focus on building literate, economically sound and connected communities.”

Other firms involved in the project include structural engineering by Lund Opsahl of Seattle, interior design by H2K Design of Stanwood, mechanical  consultant RICE Group of Lynnwood and electrical by Case Engineering of Bothell. Jayme Zold and Kim Williams were the project architects from Designs Northwest Architects who also worked on the project.

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation gets statewide award

Originally published May. 18, 2016

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation has received the 2016 Washington Library Association Foundation Merit Award.

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation logo“The foundation is a strong supporter of our efforts to serve our communities and customers,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “The foundation enhances programming aimed at early literacy, multicultural understanding, staff development and community involvement. The foundation has been a strong advocate for public libraries since its formation.”

The award was presented in April during the state library association’s 2016 conference in Spokane.

Three very visible examples of recent foundation support include the TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2015 event, the increasingly popular annual Third Grade Reading Challenge and just this past month, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries was the first TEDx event in Snohomish County. At the Edmonds Center for the Arts, the day-long series was an unqualified success. TEDxSnoIsleLibraries could not have happened without the support and trust from the foundation’s Directors. The foundation’s initial $20,000 pledge encouraged 22 community partners to jump on board, which resulted in over $80,000 of regional support for the effort.

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 is scheduled for Nov. 18, again at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The reading challenge, officially known as “The Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge,” began seven years ago with just two schools on Whidbey Island. This year, the program involved had 46 schools and 192 teams with 1,312 students participating. The foundation’s support helps prepare the next generation of readers to become the literate leaders of tomorrow.

The Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series was three years in the making, fundraising in honor of the former Whidbey Island educator and activist. The two inaugural lectures earlier this month by Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith drew overflow crowds.

“I’m just so pleased to be able to support an organization such as Sno-Isle Libraries,” said Paul Pitkin, the foundation’s executive director. “We have great people supporting a great mission.”

Chamber and Rotary honor Monroe librarian

Originally published May. 13, 2016

Monroe Library managing librarian Phil Spirito

And the award goes to … Phil Spirito!

Spirito, the managing librarian at the Monroe Public Library, was honored with the Community Caring Award presented by Monroe Chamber of Commerce at 25th annual Community Awards celebration. 

The April 27 event at the Monroe High School Performing Arts Center got underway with comments by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Yvonne Gallardo-Van Ornam, Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas welcomed guests and chamber member Sally Petty served as emcee.

“Phil Spirito at the library has just made quite a splash in Monroe,” Petty said. “If you’ve not gotten to know him, stop by the library; he and his team are phenomenal.”

Spirito came to Monroe in summer 2014 with his wife, Libby, and dove into community activities. In addition to being a member of the Monroe Rotary Club, Spirito is a musician and a community advocate who focuses on homelessness and poverty issues. In his spare time, he helps his wife operate Orange Star Farm, a sustainable small farm that sells vegetables at area farmers markets.

At the Monroe Library, Spirito is working to create a welcoming community space for everyone. Under his guidance, the children’s area was renovated to include activities that encourage early literacy.  Spirito also increased the size and visibility of the Spanish language collection to better serve Monroe’s Hispanic community, but his main focus has been on outreach to increase community awareness of all the amazing resources that are available at Sno-Isle libraries.

“From the moment he arrived, Spirito embraced Monroe and the people in it,” Petty said.

In addition to the chamber award, the Monroe Rotary Club honored Spirito for his contributions to the club and the community since moving to Monroe and becoming a Rotarian.

“I feel like I’m going to be a lifetime Rotary member,” Spirito said. “They’ve taught me how to do service in a year and a half, and I’m giving back and I feel just so lucky to be a part of this community.”

Sno-Libraries seeks input on Draft Capital Facilities Plan

Originally published May. 11, 2016

hashtag image

Sno-Isle Libraries is a tax-supported library district serving Snohomish and Island counties. The mission is to be a community doorway to reading, resources and lifelong learning, and a center for people, ideas and culture. Policy is set by a seven-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Snohomish County Council and Island County Board of Commissioners.

Sno-Isle Libraries provides a network of public library services to more than 713,000 residents across approximately 2,200 square miles. The population within the library district is projected to increase by 14 percent by 2025, with some areas growing at a much higher rate.

Library services and materials are delivered through 21 facilities in 21 cities, towns and communities; through mobile library services and online. Eight of the 21 community libraries are owned by the library district. The library district owns the Service Center, an administrative and distribution facility in Marysville which supports library operations across the district. Twelve facilities are owned and maintained by individual cities and towns. One facility is owned by a local Friends of the Library group.

Sno-Isle Libraries is planning how its facilities will meet the changing needs of communities and customers now and in the future.

A Draft Capital Facilities Plan available now for review includes proposed recommendations for all 21 of the libraries across the library district plus the service center in Marysville. The draft plan recommendations are informed by work that began in the fall of 2015 by library-district officials and consultants and included an extensive public input campaign

Before finalizing a plan, Sno-Isle Libraries officials are checking with communities to see if they got it right.

“We’re taking a fresh look at our facilities and how our customers and communities are using them,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “We listened to our communities, customers and partners. We looked at how customers have been using their libraries, as well as national trends in libraries and technology.

“We think we’ve got a plan that can guide our decisions over the next 10 years, but we want to ask for feedback before moving ahead.”

The draft plan is posted online at along with a link to an online survey that is open for public comment. The survey is open through June 3. In addition, each library will have information about the draft plan for review and library-district staff are taking the information to city councils, community groups and other public gatherings.

The draft plan includes recommendations to add services in three areas that currently have inadequate library service, including the Lakewood/Smokey Point area, the 128th Street area southeast of Paine Field and west of I-5 and the area east and south of the current Mill Creek Library.

Three current libraries are identified for replacement with larger facilities in Lake Stevens, Stanwood and Lynnwood. Renovation and/or expansion is proposed for the current libraries in Arlington and Mill Creek. The rest of the libraries in the district plus the service center, 14 facilities in all, are identified in the draft plan as able to meet current and predicted demands.

“As population and use has grown, some of our libraries are now undersized for their service areas. The need for new buildings is already being discussed in cities such as Lake Stevens and Mill Creek,” Director of Facilities Jeanne Crisp said. “In other places, remodels or additions are called for. And, some existing facilities as well as our newer libraries are well-suited for their communities -so we don’t anticipate any substantive changes in the next 10 years.”

Population growth is adding fuel to the need for new or expanded libraries in growing areas, Crisp said.

“Some areas of the library district are among the fastest growing in the U.S.,” Crisp said. “In some cases, that growth is coming to formerly rural areas. In others, unincorporated suburban areas are filling in as well as cities seeing significant growth.”

Besides the sheer number of people to serve, Sno-Isle Libraries and libraries across the country are seeing changes in how customers use services and the buildings which provide them. To help inform the capital facilities plan, plan, library project staff worked with design consultant Margaret Sullivan Studios to take a big-picture look at the future of library facilities. The idea is to create conditions that facilitate library activities that are timeless, even though technologies may change.

For example, Crisp said, many customers want access to computers, printers, wi-fi, maker-spaces and other technology. Meeting and study spaces are in increasing demand as well as small-business support centers. Also, while print books and DVDs are the most used materials, the popularity of downloadable items such as eBooks, audiobooks and movies is rapidly growing.

“This is a plan for our facilities, but it also aligns with our Strategic Plan which guides the services, programs and strategic priorities of the library district,” she said.

Crisp said the survey results will be compiled with the assistance of the Seattle-based consulting firm, EnviroIssues. “They helped with the outreach effort last fall and we’re fortunate to have them assist this time, too,” Crisp said.

Once all of the feedback is gathered and reviewed, library-district officials will determine if adjustments to the draft plan are needed. The goal is approval and adoption by the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees in mid- to late summer.

Camano Island Library art dedication set for May 21

Originally published May. 5, 2016

Camano Island Library art photo
"Wonders and Curiosities on Every Shelf" by Danny Koffman will be dedicated on May 21 at the Camano Island Library.

The vibrant and active local arts community has been working hard to support the Camano Island Library.

The results of those efforts will be on permanent display starting May 21 at a dedication event for works from three local artists. The event is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. at the Camano Island Library, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island, WA 98282.

“When the library moved to the new location, we decided we needed permanent art as part of the décor,” said Norma Mouton, chair of the Friends of Camano Island Library Art Committee. “We worked with the architect to determine where (the art would be located).

“We decided on five pieces and we ended up with seven.”

While not all of it is ready yet, pieces from three artists will be dedicated at the May 21 ceremony, including:

"Wonders and Curiosities on Every Shelf"

By Danny Koffman, the mixed media artwork printed digitally on aluminum depicts three surprised and amazed children as book subjects come to life on the shelf. The 14-foot by 2-foot mural is installed in the reading room. The artwork is donated to the library by Gay and Oren Campbell in memory of their son Drew Campbell.

“Brown, Matsui, and Levi Strauss”

Donated by the artist, Duane Simshauser, in memory of Julie Simshauser, this piece includes metal plates, hardware cloth, jeans, branches, concert tickets, acrylic on wood panels. The artwork is installed in the teen area of the library.


With the design concept from John Ebner, this steel sculpture was fabricated by Ryan Jansen of Stanwood High School Welding Shop. The pieces are flat steel and banded with one inch steel trim and powder coated. The installation is outside on the north side of the library.

The background of the artists and the committee members illustrate the library’s strong connections to art and the community.

Mouton is a watercolorist who came to Camano four years ago, she said. “Shortly after I arrived, I found out about the library project,” she said. “It made me more interested in my own art and became a way to meet more people.”

For Danny Koffman, the library project is close to his heart and his gallery.

“The idea for the piece is that the three children are responding to what they are seeing on the shelf,” said Koffman, who came to Camano 10 years ago after owning a gallery Monterey, Calif. “The titles on the book spines are coming alive and in the background is Port Susan and Mount Rainier.”

Koffman said the concept for the work “came to me immediately” as an outgrowth of his work with children at local schools. “I just want people to smile as they look at the shelves,” he said.

Mouton said the May 21 dedication event at the library is scheduled to include remarks by Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, the artists and others connected to the project.

With Mouton as chair, the Camano Library Art Committee includes community members Gay Campbell, Ann Barbas, Barbara Scott and Tamara Drake plus branch manager David Menard and district manager Becky Bolte.

The Camano Art Fundraising committee includes Rose Olson, a member of both the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation and Sno-Libraries Board of Trustees; Jackie DeFazio, a former Sno-Isle Libraries trustee; and Connie Hall, a member of the Friends fundraising committee and lead planner on unveiling ceremonies.

“The level of commitment to our community is impressive,” Mouton said.

Call to artist for TEDxSnoIsleLIbraries 2016

Originally published May. 4, 2016

call to artist logoTEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 is all about showcasing inspirational and innovative ideas from the region and now, in partnership with the Snohomish County Arts Commission, there is an opportunity to do the same for art.

The arts commission has issued a call-to-artist to create or provide a temporary interactive-based work of art, or performance art experience, to be included as part of the TEDxSnoIsleLibraries main event, scheduled for Nov. 18, 2016 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. The deadline for submissions is June 6 for a project that includes a $3,500 budget.

The theme for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 is “Transformations” which should be the inspiration for the installation.

“The Snohomish County Arts Commission is pleased to select and commission an artist to develop an interactive artwork for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries again in 2016,” said Robert Fairfax, Chair of the Snohomish County Arts Commission.  “We’re fortunate to have this wonderfully executed, well-attended platform to connect artistic talent to our broad Snohomish County community.”

Sparked by the celebrated TED conferences worldwide, TEDxSnoIsleLibraries is a locally organized event featuring over a dozen talks, demonstrations and performances under 18 minutes each. The day-long program will harness the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading" and focus on the rich innovation, invention and cultural depth of our region.

“The presence of art at last year’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event showed the perfect symmetry of ideas and beauty,” says Terry Lippincott, president of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Board of Directors. “We are excited that the Snohomish Arts Commission is working to make art available again for attendees of the 2016 TEDx event.”

The public installation/performance of the project will take place throughout the day of the event within a space identified as the TEDx IdeaLab. This space will be in the gymnasium of the Edmonds Center for the Arts. An exceptional submission would propose an original, bold and creative concept that is designed to engage a large audience as they enter and exit the IdeaLab, either of a large scale or interactive or kinetic in nature. The selected artist will be paid $3,500 to complete the installation.

For an artist prospectus:

  • Office of Economic Development, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S #411, Everett, WA, 98201
  • 425-388-3186


Filmmakers flood Stanwood Library on rainy weekend

Originally published Apr. 28, 2016

The Stanwood Library is about to get its 253 seconds of fame.

A rainy weekend, a kind librarian and a cast of creative educators were all in the script that will put the library up on the silver screen May 6 at Tacoma’s Grand Cinema 253 Short Film Party.

Filmmakers photo
The cast and crew of "How I Did It" at work in the Stanwood Library on April 23.

On film

“It all started about five years ago,” said Lance Cadena, who married into his wife’s family cabin on Camano Island’s Juniper Beach. The cabin became the site of an annual spring getaway for a Cadena, a Tacoma School District educator, and a group of fellow teachers and librarians from across the Puget Sound region.

“We used to bring our cameras and shoot photos during the weekend,” Cadena said. “Then, we saw that this film festival is the same weekend and said, ‘Let’s do a movie!’”

The 253 Film Competition is a quick-turnaround event, perfect for the group’s weekend plans. The rules are that the films can be no more than 253 seconds long, must include references to a list of “mystery items” that change each year and must be completed in just 72 hours.

The group calls itself Too Many Cooks Productions and their entry this year is titled “How I Did It,” an amusing look into the dream of making it big. The mystery items that all entries must include are a dialog line “That’s all she wrote,” an allergy, a toothbrush and a Tacoma business.

The library’s turn in front of the camera came in a book-signing scene with the help of group member Indie Berg, a Tacoma schools librarian.

“It was raining like crazy,” said Cadena, which washed out some anticipated locations. The library looked like a good and dry option. “Indie is a librarian so she says, ‘I’ll just go ask.” They said ‘yes’ and we started shooting.”

Berg said the library staff was very helpful. “When I asked and told them what wanted to do, they were just so accommodating,” she said.

Cadena said the crew for the weekend film-shoot is growing. “We’ve gotten so big that we now rent a house in addition to using the cabin,” he said, adding that the effort is starting to have local economic impact.

Still, the weekend getaway is all about having fun, Berg said.

“It’s like a 72-hour summer camp,” Berg said. “We’re all in charge of a meal. We bring our cameras and props and whatever we can scrounge up. Everybody brings sleeping bags, but we don’t get much sleep.”

TEDx Salon set for May 10 at Edmonds CC

Originally published Apr. 28, 2016

Matt Cail photo Jeff Ericson photo
Matt Cail Jeff Ericson
Sarri Gilman photo Shaela Niles photo
Sarri Gilman Shaela Niles

Think of it as a taste of TEDx.

On Tuesday, May 10, Edmonds Community College, Sno-Isle Libraries, Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation and The Daily Herald will serve up “Shift Happens: Creating New Futures.” The 7 p.m. event will be at Black Box Theatre in Mukilteo Hall at Edmonds CC, 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood. It is free and open to the public.

The program is a TEDx Salon event, an extension of TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016, scheduled for Nov. 18 at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

“TEDx Salons are bite-sized TEDx events” said Ken Harvey, TEDxSnoIsleLibraries organizer and communications director for the library district. “The audience and speakers can have a closer interaction. Attendees are invited to discuss speakers’ ideas and experience a cohesive community of thinkers.”

“We’re excited for this opportunity to partner with the Sno-Isle Libraries and The Daily Herald to bring rich dialogue to our campus and community,” said Dr. Jean Hernandez, Edmonds CC President. “The TEDx conversations are invaluable to our community.”

Host and moderator for the evening will be publisher of The Daily Herald, Josh O’Connor. The event will include three speakers and one video, including:

Matt Cail – An online marketer and consultant, Cail started out with message boards and expanded into social media, search engine marketing, web design and online advertising. His company, Super Charge Marketing, provides digital marketing support and services.

Jeff Ericson - Now in his second successful career, Ericson owns Camano Island Coffee Roasters, known for its zeal in making the world a better place. In addition to running the company, Ericson lectures around the world on business, sustainability and the future of social enterprise.

Sarri Gilman – Gilman’s book, “Transform Your Boundaries,” is based on insights gleaned from decades of experience as a marriage and family therapist. The founder of two organizations focused on youth homelessness, she created partnerships and programs to increase the chances of success for youth in overwhelming circumstances.

In addition, a video will show Shaela Niles’ inspirational battle to overcome mutism and unlock her life and future.

“Shift Happens” is a year-long theme for Edmonds CC providing the framework for a variety of campus and community events.  “Shift Happens: Creating New Futures” is part of a lecture series sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership to bring thought-provoking and inspirational speakers to campus.

“We appreciate the opportunity to host this event with Edmonds Community College and The Herald,” Harvey said.

Trudy Sundberg's legacy helping the community

Originally published Apr. 27, 2016

Trudy Sundberg photo
Trudy Sundberg

Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith speaking about his most recent book “Who Stole the American Dream?,” an analysis of the growing gap in income and wealth in the United States. Free, open to the public.

  • Friday, May 6, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Langley. Doors open at 6 p.m. for an informal reception in Zech Hall. Presentation is set for 7 p.m. on the Main Stage, followed by a question-and-answer session.
  • Saturday, May 7, Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center. The presentation is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
  • Listen to interview with Hedrick Smith on KSER radio, 90.7 FM at 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 3.

On Whidbey Island, “Sundberg” is synonymous with community.

A longtime Oak Harbor High School English and journalism teacher, Trudy Sundberg loved literature, history, the arts and advocacy.  She was a lifelong member and three-term president of the League of Women Voters of Whidbey Island.  Sundberg also founded the Save Our Kids Crusade anti-violence coalition in the 1990s.

When she passed away in 2013, Sundberg’s family and friends quickly began looking for a way to honor her legacy and keep her commitment to community and education alive. That search led to the creation of the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund.  Working with the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, Sundberg’s family members and friends began the process of creating an ongoing fund that would continue to bring the things she loved to the community she cared so deeply about.

A growing endowed fund is now in place to underwrite a lecture series that will explore Sundberg’s areas of interest, including education, literature, history, the arts, civic engagement and politics.

Dr. Marshall Goldberg, a retired Oak Harbor physician and friend of Sundberg, was a driving force behind the plan. He worked with Oak Harbor Library managing librarian Mary Campbell and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation to set up the memorial endowment. For Goldberg, it was a fitting way to honor and keep alive the memory of an extraordinary Oak Harbor woman who impacted and inspired him and so many others on Whidbey Island.

“She was very eclectic and interested in a lot of things,” Goldberg said of Sundberg. “So it was important to do this in a way that was appropriate for her.”

Campbell said just the process of raising money for the fund continued Sundberg’s penchant for community building. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to be able to contribute something that’s going to do good long into the future and provide memories of someone very special to Oak Harbor,” Campbell said.

Goldberg’s vision of an annual, significant speaker event is about to become reality.

On May 6-7, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith will be the speaker for the first installment of the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.

Smith will speak about his most recent book “Who Stole the American Dream?” an analysis of the growing gap in income and wealth in the United States. At 7 p.m., Friday, May 6, Smith will speak at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley. An informal reception will start at 6 p.m. in Zech Hall. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, Smith will speak at the Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center.

As a New York Times reporter, Smith was a member of the news team that broke the Pentagon Papers story in 1971, which won him a Pulitzer Prize. In 1974, he again won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Soviet Union and its allies. Smith also won an Emmy Award for his documentaries on the PBS series, “Frontline.”

“The enthusiasm and tremendous support for this lecture series from Trudy’s family, friends, the community and Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is a testament to her legacy,” Goldberg said. “Trudy made a real difference in her community, and I’m thrilled that we can honor her memory with such a renowned speaker on a topic that meant so much to her.”

Tax-deductible contributions to the Trudy J. Sundberg Memorial Fund may be sent to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, 7312 35th Ave. NE, Marysville, WA 98271. Contributions may also be made online at  Select "Giving" under the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation tab to support the endowment.

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library,
this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.
- Andrew Carnegie

Sno-Isle Libraries Administrative & Service Center
7312 35th Ave NE, Marysville, WA 98271-7417
360-651-7000 (local) • 877-766-4753 (toll free) • 360-651-7151 (fax)
©2016 Sno-Isle Libraries