Library News

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.

Seven personal finance eBooks available now

Originally published Apr. 25, 2016

Book cover photo
"Real Money Answers for Every Woman" is one of seven personal finance eBooks that are available now for immediate download. 

While the memory of Tax Day is still fresh, now may be the time to get a handle on those personal-finance decisions.

For those looking for a few tips, Sno-Isle Libraries has seven financial advice titles available as eBooks for immediate download through May 15. The eBooks are:

“This the first time we’ve offered a group of eBooks around a general theme with no-wait, no-hold access,” said Michael Hawkins, electronic resources librarian for the library district. No-wait, no-hold means that downloads occur immediately and there is no limit to the number of people who can download the eBooks.

The seven eBooks are available at along with a number of related titles. Once downloaded, eBooks can stay on a device for up to three weeks. A Sno-Isle Libraries card, which is needed to download eBooks, is available at

 “We want to provide access to materials no matter where you are,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “The use of eBooks continues to climb year after year.

The circulation of eBooks in the first quarter of 2016 is up 35 percent of the same period in 2015, according to library district data.

A wide variety of devices and platforms are compatible with eBooks from Sno-Isle Libraries, including: Android, Chromebooks, many eReader brands, iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod), Kindle eReaders, Kindle Fire, Kobo tablets, many MP3 players, NOOK tablets, Windows phones, Windows and Apple OS.

This eBook collection is tied to Money Smart Week, an educational effort by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and supported by Sno-Isle Libraries, publisher HarperCollins, eBook distributor OverDrive and the American Library Association.

Young scientists get up a head of STEAM with Sno-Isle Libraries program

Originally published Apr. 25, 2016

The forces of nature are not to be trifled with.

That is, unless you are an inquisitive 9-13 year-old attending a Sno-Isle Libraries “Tween STEAM” event. If that’s the case, then trifling, poking, questioning and experimenting is what it’s all about.

Photo of girl
Sela Kramer, a fourth-grader at Twin City Elementary in Stanwood, is all smiles during the Tween STEAM event, April 21 at Camano Island Library. Photo gallery

Remaining Tween STEAM events                            

Camano Library

  • Physics – Thursday, April 28, 4-5:30 p.m.

Edmonds Library, Saturdays, 2-3:30 p.m.

  • May 7 - Dry ice
  • May 14 - Physics
  • May 21 - Electricity & Magnetism
  • May 28 - Chemistry

Freeland Library, Mondays, 4-5:30 p.m.

  • May 2 - Dry Ice
  • May 9 - Physics

Sultan Library/Boys & Girls Club, Fridays, 3-4:30 p.m.

  • April 29 - Electricity & Magnetism (Boys & Girls Club)
  • May 13 - Chemistry (library)
  • May 27 - Physics (Boys & Girls Club)

The Tween STEAM program includes four, 90-minute sessions that let fourth- through eighth-graders get their hands on fun science experiments. With roughly one session a week at each of four libraries, the young scientists get an up-close look at electricity, magnetism, chemistry, physics and the amazing properties of dry ice.

“I just love working with the kids,” said Christine Longdon, who teaches the classes through her company, “I also like seeing the parents engaging with their kids.”

A Stanwood-area resident, Longdon said she hadn’t intended to start of business teaching hands-on science to children, but it just kept growing. “I scuba dive and I started volunteering with Oceans for Youth and World Oceans Day,” she said. “Then, I got involved in Beachwatchers.”

Longdon said she didn’t like studying science when she was young, but was motivated to give her son additional exposure to science beyond what was available in school. “I started developing these hands-on classes; everything is hands-on,” she said. “Now, I like science. Maybe I needed a more hands-on approach, too.”

Hands-on in Longdon’s classes means things such as each participant building an electric motor, including winding coils, stripping wire leads and watching it run. The chemistry lesson includes making a plastic-like material from whole milk and vinegar, while physics may include shooting ping pong balls with a leaf blower.

A dry-ice session at the Camano Island Library on Thursday, April 21, had about 20 youngsters wearing safety glasses and gloves to see and experiment with the wonders of solid carbon dioxide at minus-109.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Sno-Isle Libraries has just been so good to me,” Longdon said. “My first classes were at the Stanwood Library where they helped me work things out.”

The “STEAM” part of Tween STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The idea of STEAM, also referred to as STEM, is a growing educational focus for schools and industry. Sno-Isle Libraries offering of Tween STEAM and other similar programs is part of the library district's strategic focus to coordinate programs addressing community needs and interests.

Attendance at all four Tween STEAM sessions isn’t required, but space may be limited, so registration is advised. For more information, go to

About Sno-Isle Libraries
Sno-Isle Libraries serves 713,835 residents in Washington’s Snohomish and Island counties through 21 community libraries, online services, and Library on Wheels.

New lecture series to feature Pulitzer-winning journalist

Originally published Apr. 8, 2016

The Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series, three years in the making, will bring its first speaker to Whidbey Island stages on May 6 – 7.

Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith

Two talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith will inaugurate the annual series, which honors the memory of a longtime and beloved Whidbey Island teacher.

“We’re so grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received from Trudy’s family, friends, the communities and Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation to launch this series in her name,” said Dr. Marshall Goldberg, a retired physician who chairs the Lecture Series Planning Committee.

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.

Smith will speak on:

  • Friday, May 6, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Langley. Doors open at 6 p.m. for an informal reception in Zech Hall. Smith’s 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.

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 won another Pulitzer for his reporting on the Soviet Union and its allies. Smith also won an Emmy Award for his documentaries on the PBS series “Frontline.”

Who Stole the American Dream?Sundberg, who died in 2013, touched many lives with her passion for education, the arts and civic engagement. She was known as an activist and innovator whose causes included the Whidbey Island Democratic Club, League of Women Voters and Whidbey Camano Land Trust. She was also founder of the Save Our Kids Crusade anti-violence coalition and numerous book clubs.

Family members, friends and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation began in 2013 to establish the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund. The fund is 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.

“The effort has just been amazing, a real tribute to Trudy’s impact on the community,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Executive Director Paul Pitkin.

The lecture series will be part of an annual programming initiative for adults on Whidbey Island, promoting reading and lifelong learning and covering issues of local, national or global interest. The fund may also be used to enhance library resources and access to information for residents of the Sno-Isle Libraries district.

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.


For more information, contact: 
Jim Hills, Public Information Manager, 360-651-7050,
Marshall Goldberg, Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series chair, 360-675-5888,

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 is coming in November

Originally published Apr. 5, 2016


Sno-Isle Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory at the 2015 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event.

Tammy Mach presents "The Prototype of the American Dream" at the 2015 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event.

2015 event photo gallery

The region’s most fascinating thinkers, innovators, performers and speakers will be on stage this November at TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016.

This day of ideas is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18 at Edmonds Center for the Arts and will include live speakers, TED talks on video. The event will also be live-streamed for group viewing to multiple locations across Snohomish and Island counties.

Attendees will have opportunities to hear fascinating ideas from the stage, as well as discuss these concepts and mingle with TEDx speakers and fellow audience members. Sno-Isle Libraries’ inaugural TEDx event in 2015 received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, speakers and partners.

“It was a powerful day,” said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Executive Director of Sno-Isle Libraries. “We continue to hear from individuals who were delighted by the Libraries’ role in convening people around the ideas and issues featured in a regional TEDx event.”

Twenty-three speakers and performers took the stage with subjects ranging from innovation strategies to preparing for a NASA mission to Mars. Event attendees ranged in age from 14 to over 80 and traveled from as far away as British Columbia, California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

The event drew the attention of thousands at Edmonds Center for the Arts; at 10 community libraries around Snohomish and Island counties; viewing locations at Edmonds and Everett community colleges, the Snohomish PUD auditorium and the Arlington City Council chambers; as well as those who viewed the live stream on their own devices. TEDx talks posted from the event have received more than 17,000 views.

Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said the city is excited about hosting the TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event for the second year. “The stimulating and engaging talks presented during the day showcases the best and brightest in our region,” Earling said

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries organizers have opened the presenter nomination process for the upcoming 2016 event. The idea and presenter nomination period runs through May 8. Nominations must be made online and those interested in submitting an idea or nominating a speaker should read the content and speaker guidelines available with the online form.

“It was clear from last year’s event that there is a deep well of ideas and innovations in our region,” said TEDxSnoIsleLibraries organizer Ken Harvey. “We barely scratched the surface on the ideas submitted to us. So we are confident there are more great ideas and speakers out there for the 2016 event.”

Snohomish County Excecutive Dave Somers said he's pleased that Sno-Isle is moving ahead with a second year of the event.

"Snohomish County benefits when we have smart people articulating ideas to help our community be better, more just, and more equitable," Somers said. "I salute those who are stretching our minds and helping us imagine the solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges."

Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson served as one of the hosts in introducing speakers at the 2015 event. “The event applied the library’s values and influence to a whole other level,” Price Johnson said. “It was inspiring to watch the audience as the speakers shared their ideas and experiences. The stories were impactful, thought-provoking and very personal.”

Joe McIalwain, Executive Director of the Edmonds Center for the Arts agreed with Price Johnson.

“When Sno-Isle Libraries first approached our team as a potential venue for the event, we knew that we aligned with the Libraries’ mission to serve as a doorway to ideas and information,” McIalwain said. “We are looking forward to a repeat of one of the most popular events we have ever hosted.”

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation was a key partner for the 2015 TEDx effort and made the commitment to support the event again in 2016.

“TEDxSnoIsleLibraries was an incredible experience that raised the visibility of our organization,” said Paul Pitkin, Executive Director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. “Our support of the Library’s 2016 effort was completely validated by our results with last year’s experience.”

Organizations that have chosen to become partners for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 include:

  • Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation
  • The Daily Herald
  • Edmonds Center for the Arts
  • United Way of Snohomish County
  • Community Transit
  • The Everett Clinic
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Snohomish County Arts Commission
  • Economic Alliance Snohomish County
  • Leadership Snohomish County
  • Coastal Community Bank
  • City of Edmonds
  • Heritage Bank
  • University of Washington, Bothell
  • Island County Economic Development Council
  • Snohomish PUD

Lake Stevens team tops in Third Grade Reading Challenge

Originally published Mar. 30, 2016

With more than 50 third-graders on stage, hearing a pin drop seemed unlikely, but that was the scene at the finals of the 2016 Sno-Isle Libraries Third-Grade Reading Challenge.

Teams of students from seven elementary schools across Snohomish and Island counties participated in the quiz-style program, Tuesday, March 29, at the Lake Stevens High School Performing Arts Center. All the teams were on top of their games. Following three scheduled rounds of questions, it took 11 tiebreaking stumpers before the Sunnycrest Elementary “Wild Horses” from Lake Stevens School District emerged as the top scoring team.

Going down to the wire with Sunnycrest were the Angry Books team from Cedar Way Elementary in the Edmonds School District and the Wildcats from Discovery Elementary in the Mukilteo School District. The other teams in the finals were: the Cedarhome Elementary Word Chompers, Stanwood School District; Broad View Elementary Reading Cheetahs, Oak Harbor School District; Brier Elementary Book Busters, Edmonds School District, and the Machias Elementary Bob-Nanas, Snohomish School District.

The Sunnycrest Wild Horses team members, all from teacher Heidi Scott's class are: 
Grace Cook, Ryedan Reed, Logan Merkel, Carson Burley, Sarah Carpenter, Coren Coe, Autumn Bardsley
and Jessica Garingo.

Staying quiet is part of the challenge event to prevent distraction and giving away or influencing an answer. The team members gather their chairs into a tight circle as the quiz starts. Team captains are chosen and a runner designated to bring a team’s answer to the judges’ table. And “runner” is a misnomer, because quiet walking is required.

Even the celebrations are quiet. As correct answers are announced, team members raise their hands and shake their fingers in support.

Quiet doesn’t mean a lack of student enthusiasm.

“It’s just fun to see the excitement and how much the students enjoy reading,” said Pam Murkerson, library para-educator at Sunnycrest Elementary. Murkerson, who works with librarian Jill Haack on the reading-challenge project, said the challenge process all starts in the fall.

“We have them read the books, then they find websites with quizzes, they write their own questions and ask each other and we meet in the library and do practice challenges,” Murkerson said. “We even have the older grades come back to tell the third-graders about the challenge and what to expect.”

The reading challenge identifies six books from which quiz questions are drawn. The books this year were:

  • “Adventures of a South Pole Pig,” by Chris Kurtz
  • “The Great Cake Mystery,” by Alexander McCall Smith
  • “The Lemonade War,” by Jacqueline Davies
  • “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” by Beverly Cleary
  • “Odd, Weird, & Little,” by Patrick Jennings
  • “The Sasquatch Escape,” by Suzanne Selfors

Authors Selfors and Jennings were on stage as judges for the final, along with Chuck Pratt, managing librarian at the Stanwood Library.

The reading challenge is the brainchild of Jane López-Santillana, children’s librarian at the Oak Harbor Library.

“It started seven years ago with just two schools on Whidbey Island. This year, we had 46 schools and 192 teams with 1,312 students participate,” López-Santillana said. “Third grade is an important point in reading development. The reading challenge is an opportunity to get those 8- and 9-year-olds engaged and excited about reading.”

Parents seem to like what the challenge does for their children, too. A post-challenge parents survey brought these comments:

“My son always hated reading and getting him to read was always a chore … I've seen him go from despising reading to loving it.  He willingly signed up for the challenge and read longer than his required nightly reading so he could participate in the challenge.”

“A great experience for my daughter.  Builds confidence getting up on the stage.  Encourages them to read and work together as a team.”

 “It taught her to be diligent in note taking and to understand the words she is reading.  It also prompted more conversation between her and me as she shared what she was reading.”

“His pride in reading and being on a team has increased his confidence.”

“My daughter loves to read!  She tends to be pretty quiet, and isn't into team sports.  This is a great experience for her to shine at something she's passionate about while getting a great team experience, too.  Thanks!”

The Third Grade Reading Challenge is officially known as “The Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge” and made possible by funding from the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, the Northwest Literacy Foundation and Howarth Trust.

Photo gallery

Whidbey Reads hosts presentations by BC author

Originally published Mar. 30, 2016

Brian Payton knows the wilderness.

The British Columbia-based author has chronicled his own off-the-beaten-path travels in tracking down the eight remaining species of bears on Earth. He has also told the tale of a 19th-century ship and its crew sent into the Arctic in search of a lost expedition, only to find its own icy end.

Payton will bring his latest battle with the elements, "The Wind is Not a River," to Whidbey Island on April 13-14 for two free presentations. The first event will start at 2 p.m., April 13, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 18341 SR 525, Freeland, and the second at 7 p.m., April 14, Oak Harbor Library, 1000 Regatta Dr.

The public is also invited to an author reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 13 at Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge, 63 Jacobs Road, Coupeville. RSVPs requested to Jennifer O'Brien at the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

Payton’s visit is part of the annual Whidbey Reads program sponsored by Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, Whidbey Island Friends of the Library groups and volunteers from across Whidbey Island.  Other partners include Skagit Valley College, Best Western Harbor Plaza, Wind & Tide Books, and Moonraker Books.

In "The Wind is Not a River," Payton takes readers back to WWII and the mostly forgotten Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. He weaves the brutal facts of wartime with the emotions of human frailties and sets it all in the harsh realities of Alaska’s inhospitable environment. In the story, journalist John Easley, driven to uncover the truth of the invasion, is shot down over the Aleutian Islands where he struggles to survive and hide from Japanese patrols. Meanwhile, his wife, Helen, begins her own Alaskan journey by joining the USO in an effort to follow her husband and discover his fate.

“The environment in the Aleutian Islands is very much a character in the book,” Payton said by phone from his Vancouver Island home. “For the man, the environment is both his protection and a formidable enemy. For the woman, it is an unknown and persistent element in her search.”

As a teen, Payton spent time living in Anchorage where he first learned of the Battle of Attu during WWII. “In Alaska, the details are not well-known and outside of Alaska people generally have no knowledge,” he said.

A 2014 New York Times review called the book “gripping” and “meditative,” appropriate words given that the author’s background includes tracking down bears and an education by Benedictine monks at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, BC.

“I’m so pleased to be invited to be part of the Whidbey Reads program,” Payton said. “It is a very special treat to speak with people who may have already read the book. My presentation will be on the story behind the story, what drew me to it and what it took to tell it.”

"The Wind is Not a River" is available for immediate download through April 30 in both digital and audio formats at Sno-Isle Libraries where print copies may also be reserved.

Whidbey Reads, with Brian Payton

April 13, 2 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church
18341 SR 525
Freeland, WA 98249

April 14, 7 p.m.
Oak Harbor Library
1000 Regatta Dr.
Oak Harbor, WA 98277-3091

Whidbey Reads is an annual program that brings Whidbey Island residents together to read and talk about a book. A series of public events focuses on themes related to the story. The shared experience serves as a springboard to explore commonalities and differences. Donations to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation may be earmarked "Whidbey Reads" to help bring more great authors to Whidbey Island.

Sno-Isle Libraries to honor 38 President's Volunteer Service Award recipients

Originally published Mar. 25, 2016

The 2015 numbers for Sno-Isle Libraries’ volunteers are impressive:

  • 38 President’s Volunteer Service Award recipients
  • 654 total volunteers
  • 22,700 total volunteer hours

“The Sno-Isle Libraries volunteer program is an unqualified success thanks to the people who commit their time, talents and hearts to serving their communities,” Executive Director Jonalyn Wolff-Ivory said. “I’m so proud of the 38 volunteers who achieved the President’s Volunteer Service Award and all our volunteers who help across the system.”

Presidential Volunteer Service AwardsThe President’s Volunteer Service Award is a nationally recognized initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency founded in 1990. With a mission of inspiring more to answer the call to service, the agency and the award celebrate the impact volunteers can make in bettering their communities.

Congressman Rick Larsen said he supports the volunteers, their efforts and the award program.

“The contributions that volunteers make through service to our communities in Northwest Washington is invaluable,” said the 2nd District Democrat. “The hundreds of hours these volunteers have given make our libraries an even stronger community resource to encourage reading and lifelong learning. I thank these volunteers for their service and commend them on qualifying for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.”  

The award honors those who complete specified numbers of volunteer hours serving specific age groups over 12 months. Volunteers who achieve these milestones are recognized with gold-, silver- or bronze-level awards. The Sno-Isle volunteers who reached this goal will be honored during an event from 10:30 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 16, at the Sno-Isle Libraries Service Center.

For 2015, the 38 Sno-Isle President’s Volunteer Service Award recipients contributed a total of more than 5,400 volunteer hours. The recipients are:

Gold award

  • Anthony Le, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Shaela Niles, Oak Harbor Library

Silver award

  • Bryan Beecken, Lynnwood Library
  • Jeffrey DePue, Service Center
  • Molly Leung, Arlington Library
  • Linda Patterson, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Hedy Shiu, Lynnwood Library

Bronze award

  • Mary Aquala, Service Center
  • Frances Ball, Service Center
  • Sharon Bilbro, Snohomish Library
  • Karen Bodnar, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Mary Brown, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Elizabeth Coxen, Monroe Library
  • Lyric Crane, Snohomish Library
  • Bonnie Drake, Monroe Library
  • Michael Gantala, Monroe Library
  • Bonnie Gerken, Lynnwood Library
  • Thomas Ghebreyesus, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Suzie Gibson, Lynnwood Library
  • Justin Green, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Helen Kinsella, Coupeville Library
  • Gail Lajo, Freeland Library
  • Laura Lewis, Stanwood Library
  • Israel Maza, Lynnwood Library
  • Linda McCann, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Richard McGee, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Patrick McGourty, Marysville Library
  • Jacquelyn Meadows, Arlington Library
  • Jean Minsky, Lynnwood Library
  • Trish Motyl-Hruby, Mill Creek Library
  • Julie Nord, Lake Stevens Library/Service Center
  • Norbu Sangpo., Mill Creek Library
  • Ryan Scheffer, Arlington Library
  • Rosie Severns, Lynnwood Library
  • David Wachob, Mukilteo Library
  • Hayley Wedler, Snohomish Library
  • Terry Wright, Stanwood Library
  • Tina Yang, Lynnwood Library

While volunteers have long played an important role with Sno-Isle Libraries, the volunteer program was formalized in 2006, resulting in an immediate jump in service hours. In 2010, Sno-Isle joined the   

President’s Volunteer Service Award as a certifying organization and 2015 was the sixth year Sno-Isle volunteers have been honored with the awards.

More information, contact:

Nancy Pursel, Volunteer Program Coordinator,, 360-651-7003

Jim Hills, Public Information Manager,, 360-651-7050

Sno-Isle Libraries closed March 27

Originally published Mar. 21, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Sunday, March 27 due to low customer demand on Easter Sunday. Regular hours will resume Monday, March 28. See locations & hours.

Jim Hills new public information manager for Sno-Isle Libraries

Originally published Mar. 18, 2016

Jim Hills photo

Jim Hills has joined Sno-Isle Libraries as Public Information Manager.

“We’re very pleased to have Jim’s help in our work with community newspapers and other news media,” Communications Director Ken Harvey said. “His newspaper and local college experience will enhance our drive to provide innovative and responsive information about what and how the library is serving our communities and customers.”

Hills comes to the library system after eight years as Special Assistant to the President for Communications, Marketing and Government Relations at Shoreline Community College. Before that, Hills was editor and publisher of the former Enterprise Newspapers, which served South Snohomish and North King counties and were owned by The Herald newspaper in Everett.

“I love Sno-Isle’s commitment to serving the community,” said Hills, who started on March 14, 2016. “The library district’s values, purpose, services and strategic focus make this a very exciting place to be.”


For more information, contact:

Ken Harvey, Communications Director, Sno-Isle Libraries,, 360-651-7030

Jim Hills, Public Information Manager, Sno-Isle Libraries,, 360-651-7050

Techfest2016 coming to Marysville Library April 16

Originally published Mar. 18, 2016

Creativity, collaboration and technology will all come together for Techfest2016, from 1 to 4 p.m., April 16 at the Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St.

Techfest2016 logo

Highlights of Techfest2016 include:

How to fund your project

Matt Cail, executive manager of Super Charge Marketing and 2015 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries speaker, will present from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the difference between crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. He will explain how to determine if your organization, project or idea is a good match for this concept.

Get free profile pictures

A quality profile picture is essential for social media accounts. Have three to five professional pictures taken and saved to your flash drive by Samuel Lee, photographer for Super Charge Marketing.

Learn digital photo editing

Bring a few photos on your flash drive and learn basic image editing techniques using the free, open-source software, GIMP.

Create in the gadget gallery

Explore the library’s Creative Tech Center, including learning about digitizing photos, negatives and slides or gain skills in the Microsoft Imagine Academy and use Apple iMacs to discover the potential of Adobe Creative Suite.

Be a technology scavenger hunter

Find your way through various devices while learning about software and equipment and those who complete the scavenger hunt will be entered in a drawing for a Kindle Fire.

Support for Techfest2016 is provided by the Community Foundation of Snohomish County and Marysville Rotary.


More information, contact:

Mark Barnett, Librarian, Marysville Library,, 360-658-5000

Jim Hills, Public Information Manager, Sno-Isle Libraries,, 360-651-7050


Sno-Isle Libraries, Snohomish County team up to spur business development

Originally published Mar. 10, 2016

New initiative targets entrepreneurs

Sno-Isle Libraries and Snohomish County will host a series of free business programs, to promote entrepreneurship and support business growth.

Sno-Isle Libraries provides free access to tools and resources for business owners and budding entrepreneurs to do market research, find new potential customers, and understand trends in their industry. New entrepreneurs and fledgling business owners can explore these resources through the Sno-Isle Libraries website and at all 21 community libraries.

"Snohomish County has become a magnet for entrepreneurs and business development,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “I am very pleased that we can partner with the Sno-Isle Libraries and provide tools to the people who are the backbone of our local economy."

Free library-based classes specifically for business people further support them in their efforts to make their businesses more competitive,” said Lead Librarian for Business Kassy Rodeheaver.

Some workshops are taught by business experts, while others that focus on market research are taught by library staff. Topics rotate based on community needs, but include social media marketing, human resources, understanding finances, writing business plans, finding financing, and more.

Upcoming classes scheduled at libraries in Snohomish County include:

Information about all of Sno-Isle Libraries' business events and resources is available online at

“At Sno-Isle Libraries, our work is guided by a three-year strategic plan that balances ongoing efforts in delivering world-class core library services and resources with longer-range efforts to build literate, economically sound and connected communities,” said Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory. “Our partnership with Snohomish County is all about providing library services, resources, materials and events which meet community and customer needs.”


For more information, contact: 
Ken Harvey, Communications Director, Sno-Isle Libraries,, 360-651-7030
Kent Patton, Communications Director, Snohomish County,, 425-388-3883, 425-330-1858

'Wind is Not a River' chosen for 2016 Whidbey Reads event

Originally published Feb. 26, 2016

Wind is not a River

Whidbey Reads, an annual event designed to bring Whidbey Island residents of all ages together to discuss the same book, has chosen “The Wind is Not a River” as its 2016 title.

The novel by Canadian author Brian Payton tells the story of Seattle journalist John Easley, who is shot down on an island in the Aleutians occupied by the Japanese during World War II. While John fights to survive and escape detection, his wife, Helen, joins the USO in order to travel to Alaska and discover her husband’s fate.

All five Sno-Isle Libraries on Whidbey Island will feature the book and related programming during March and April. Program topics range from swing dance to Aleut culture to wilderness survival. The culminating event will be presentations by the author at 2 p.m. April 13 in Freeland at Trinity Lutheran Church and at 7 p.m. April 14 at the Oak Harbor Library.

A full schedule of events, author information, and book discussion questions are available online at

Brian Payton

Brian Payton

For its customers who prefer downloadable books or audiobooks, Sno-Isle Libraries is offering no-wait, no-holds access to “The Wind is Not a River” from March 1 through April 30. Electronic books can be ordered through the OverDrive app or the library’s catalog at Print copies are available through the catalog and in Whidbey Island community libraries in Clinton, Freeland, Langley, Coupeville and Oak Harbor.

For an explanation of how Whidbey Reads books are chosen, read the blog post at


For more information, contact: 
Kathy Bullene, Assistant Managing Librarian, Oak Harbor Library,, 360-675-5115
Julie Titone, Communications and Marketing Manager,, 360-651-7081

Sno-Isle Libraries launches year-long book reading challenge

Originally published Feb. 19, 2016

16 in '16

Sno-Isle Libraries has invited the public to read along with staff this year in a program called Reading Resolutions: 16 in ’16.

Every 20 days, a new thematic reading challenge will be posted to the BiblioFiles blog. The first two challenges are to read a local author and a graphic novel. Readers can earn points by submitting titles they read that meet the challenges.

On Dec. 19, the customer with the most points will be crowned the Sno-Isle Reader of the Year. The winner will get to choose a theme for the 2017 contest, and will be rewarded with a stack of pre-release advance reader copies.

BiblioFiles will also feature a list of the winner’s favorite 2016 books. Staff will provide reading suggestions for each challenge and participants are encouraged to share how their reading progresses and share additional title suggestions.

While a Sno-Isle library card is not required to participate, an email address is needed.

For more information, including the 16 thematic reading challenges, visit the blog at, or contact Jackie Parker, lead librarian for readers’ services,


For more information, contact: 
Jackie Parker, Lead Librarian for Readers’ Services,, 360-651-7049
Julie Titone, Communications and Marketing Manager,, 360-651-7081

Freeland Library to host presentation on political incivility

Originally published Feb. 11, 2016

Cornell Clayton

Cornell Clayton

Author and lecturer Cornell Clayton will present “Political Incivility and Polarization in America” at 11 a.m. Feb. 17 at the Freeland Library, 5495 Harbor Ave.

This free event is sponsored by the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau and Sno-Isle Libraries.

Clayton will explore such questions as: Does political incivility threaten American democracy? Is there a correlation between political incivility and productivity? He will lead a discussion about the connections and what they mean; he will challenge assumptions about the relationship between civility and democratic participation and consider factors that contribute to political polarization.

Copies of the book “Civility and Democracy in America,” co-edited by Clayton, will be available for free to audience members, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Clayton has been a visiting fellow and lecturer at institutes and universities around the world. He is the director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, where he also serves as the Thomas S. Foley distinguished professor of government. He holds a doctorate of philosophy from Oxford University. Clayton currently serves as editor of Political Research Quarterly and as a Section Chair of the American Political Association.


About Humanities Washington

Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across our state. For more about Humanities Washington, visit


For more information, contact:

Tracy Miller, Library Associate II, Freeland Library, 360-331-7323,
Julie Titone, Communications and Marketing Manager, 360-651-7081,

Sno-Isle Libraries closed Feb. 15

Originally published Feb. 9, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, Feb. 15 for Presidents Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Feb. 16. See locations & hours.

OverDrive reports problem with its app

Originally published Feb. 2, 2016

Some Sno-Isle Libraries customers who downloaded the recent OverDrive iPad and iPhone app update (version 3.5.0) are experiencing problems with the application.

In many cases, the problem can be solved by uninstalling and then reinstalling the app. OverDrive is developing a new update to resolve the issues that are not fixed by a reinstall.

Customers can get the latest information by visiting the OverDrive on Twitter or Facebook.

Sno-Isle Libraries offers special TEDxLIVE event

Originally published Feb. 1, 2016

TED Live

Over a thousand attendees will spend at least $6,000 to attend the upcoming TED2016 DREAM Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. But Sno-Isle Libraries will livestream the second day of the conference free of charge at its Coupeville and Darrington libraries.

The events will take place Tuesday, Feb. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Coupeville Library, 788 NW Alexander St., and Darrington Library, 1005 Cascade St.

The TED2016 conference will be dedicated to the greatest dreams humanity is capable of dreaming. The 19 speakers featured at the library events will range from a cardiologist to a cartoonist, a hip-hop artist to a “stranger enthusiast.” The list of speakers and times of their presentations are available online at

Attendees are asked to register online to attend the Coupeville Library event. They can register for Darrington Library by emailing the library manager at

The library district is calling the events TEDxCoupevilleLibraryLive and TEDxDarringtonLibraryLive. Some of the talks shown may not be made available to view later online. Library attendees and staff will be given time during the event to discuss ideas that surface from the talks.

More information is available online at

Ken Harvey, communications director for Sno-Isle Libraries, noted that TEDxRainier will live-stream talks from the TED conference on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Spitfire Lounge in Seattle. Registration and information are available online at TEDxRainierLive.


About the TED Conference

The TED2016 conference theme is “Dream” and will be dedicated to the greatest dreams humanity is capable of dreaming. It will be a week spent examining humanity’s toughest challenges, as well as listening to approximately 100 of the greatest thinkers, artists and storytellers in the world.

The annual TED Conference, is taking place Feb. 15-19, 2016. This annual conference is held on the West Coast of North America, in Vancouver, British Columbia. More than a thousand people attend this five-day conference about Technology, Entertainment and Design. The conference also covers science, business, the arts and global issues. Speakers from around the globe appear on the main stage to give 18-minute talks and shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy.

For more information on the TED Conference, go to


For more information, contact: 
Ken Harvey, Communications Director,, 360-651-7030

There was one place where I could find out who I was and what I was going to become.
And that was the public library.
- Jerzy Kosinski

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