To Top

Library News

'Bookworms' dive into pizza at Mt. Pilchuck Elementary

Originally published Apr. 28, 2017

Third-graders at Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School have pizza on April 28 as part of their reward for winning the 2017 Sno-Isle Libraries Third-Grade Reading Challenge.

Party gallery - Reading challenge finals gallery - Finals video

What do Bookworms eat?

Pizza and cake.

At least, that’s what they eat when they’re third-graders from Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School and part of the winning team in the 2017 Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge.

On Friday, April 28, the goodies arrived at the school library, courtesy of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. They were delivered by Monica Jackson, children's librarian at the Lake Stevens Library, and Karin Thomsen, children's librarian at the Lynnwood Library.

Mt. Pilchuck Principal Christine Larson, librarian Linda Mauer, third-grade teacher Lisa Holland and para-educator Susan Kent participated in the event.

More than 40 students from Mt. Pilchuck Elementary in the Lake Stevens School District were part of the 2017 reading challenge. Participants read six books and then test their knowledge in a verbal, quiz-style test. More than 1,300 students on 194 teams from 50 schools across Snohomish and Island counties took part this year.

The winning Mt. Pilchuck team, self-named “Bookworms,” made it through semi-final competitions at the school and district level on their way to the finals on March 30 in Mukilteo. The Bookworms faced -off against six other teams and won the title on a tiebreaker question.

This is the second time a team from Mt. Pilchuck has won the reading challenge. The school took its first title in 2015.

The reading challenge encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading while honing their literacy and teamwork skills. The program is sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation and the Northwest Literacy Foundation. 

Ceremony honors Sno-Isle Libraries volunteers

Originally published Apr. 24, 2017

The volunteer awards event took place Saturday, April 22, at the Sno-Isle Libraries Service Center in Marysville. Photo gallery 

Applications for Sno-Isle Libraries volunteers are being accepted now.

Nearly 700 Sno-Isle Libraries volunteers contributed almost 23,000 hours in 2016 to help customers and their communities.

Thirty-six volunteers earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their efforts. On April 22, 2017, those awards were presented during a ceremony at the Sno-Isle Libraries Service Center in Marysville.

Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees Chair Marti Anamosa welcomed the volunteers in attendance along with their friends and families. Executive 
Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory in her remarks acknowledged the Sno-Isle Libraries nominees for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.
The 2017 award recipients, nominees and the location they work are:

- Linda Patterson*, Mountlake Terrace Library

- Kristen  Macaluso, Lynnwood Library
- Hedy Shiu*, Lynnwood Library
- Anthony Le, Mountlake Terrace Library
- David Benjamin Ochoa, Mountlake Terrace Library
- Andrea Vernon*, Service Center

- Dan Clark, Camano Island Library
- Helen Kinsella, Coupeville Library
- Kelly Smith, Edmonds Library
- Shirley Vanderbilt, Edmonds Library
- Gail Lajo, Freeland Library
- Bryan Beecken, Lynnwood Library
- Bonnie  Gerken*, Lynnwood Library
- Jean Minsky, Lynnwood Library
- Trish Motyl-Hruby, Mill Creek Library
- Chris Cannon, Mountlake Terrace Library
- Kevin Kleinecke, Mountlake Terrace Library
- Linda McCann, Mountlake Terrace Library
- Richard McGee, Mountlake Terrace Library
- Elizabeth Coxen, Monroe Library
- Bonnie  Drake, Monroe Library
- Michael Gantala, Monroe Library
- Amber Helman, Monroe Library
- Deborah Kyle, Monroe Library
- Randi Grossman, Mukilteo Library
- Huey-Jong (Amy) Liaw, Mukilteo Library
- David Wachob, Mukilteo Library
- Lillian VanWey, Oak Harbor Library
- Frances Ball, Service Center
- Jeffrey DePue, Service Center
- Denise  Nordland, Service Center
- Lyric Crane*, Snohomish Library
- Laura Lewis, Stanwood Library
- Shirley Snavely, Stanwood Library
- Samantha Sommers, Stanwood Library
- Teri Towle, Stanwood Library
*Governor’s Service Award nominee

Governor’s Service Award nominees
- George Winters, Darrington Library
- Bridget Wisniewski, Darrington Library
- Sue Norman,  Oak Harbor Library
- Zach Furney, Service Center
- Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria, Edmonds Library

Most libraries open on Easter Sunday

Originally published Apr. 13, 2017

On April 16, 2017, Easter Sunday, 15 of the 22 Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries will be open. This applies to libraries which are normally open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

The decision to open on Sunday, April 16, is meant to meet growing customer demand for access to the library on Sundays and reflects Sno-Isle Libraries’ principle of providing free and equal access to the library’s resources.

Sno-Isle Libraries are closed on all federal holidays. When those holidays fall on a Sunday, such as New Year’s Day 2017, libraries are closed on both Sunday and the following Monday.

Sunday, Dec. 24 will be a notable exception in 2017. All libraries will be closed on Christmas Eve. Community libraries regularly close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. That would mean libraries would only be open for 2 hours on Christmas Eve this year, with a regular Sunday opening at 1 p.m. opening and then closing the doors just two hours later. Those short open hours were determined to be an inefficient use of public resources.

Library volunteers earn President's Volunteer Service Award

Originally published Apr. 12, 2017

Thirty-six members of Sno-Isle Libraries’ extensive volunteer corps are about to receive a national honor.

“Nearly 700 people give their time and talent toward the mission of Sno-Isle Libraries,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “Volunteers at each of the 22 community libraries help us better serve our customers and their communities.”

On April 22, a select group of dedicated individuals will receive The President’s Volunteer Service Award. “We’re thankful for our volunteers and these awards are well-earned recognition of their efforts,” Woolf-Ivory said.

The award is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and honors those who achieve the required number of hours of volunteer service over a year or cumulative hours over a lifetime. The award recognizes milestones of service achievement and includes bronze, silver and gold levels for annual service. The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is for those who contribute more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime.

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

“I commend the volunteers receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award,” Larsen said. “I hope their exceptional service encourages more folks to get involved with their local libraries and give back to their communities.”

The award includes categories for school-age children, teens, young adults and adults. Honorees receive a commemorative pin, certificate and letter signed by the President of the United States.

In addition, five of the presidential award recipients were also nominated for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. Another five volunteers were also nominated for the governor’s award.

The 2017 award recipients, nominees and the location they work are:


  • Linda Patterson*, Mountlake Terrace Library


  • Kristen  Macaluso, Lynnwood Library
  • Hedy Shiu*, Lynnwood Library
  • Anthony Le, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • David Benjamin Ochoa, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Andrea Vernon*, Service Center


  • Dan Clark, Camano Island Library
  • Helen Kinsella, Coupeville Library
  • Kelly Smith, Edmonds Library
  • Shirley Vanderbilt, Edmonds Library
  • Gail Lajo, Freeland Library
  • Bryan Beecken, Lynnwood Library
  • Bonnie  Gerken*, Lynnwood Library
  • Jean Minsky, Lynnwood Library
  • Trish Motyl-Hruby, Mill Creek Library
  • Chris Cannon, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Kevin Kleinecke, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Linda McCann, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Richard McGee, Mountlake Terrace Library
  • Elizabeth Coxen, Monroe Library
  • Bonnie  Drake, Monroe Library
  • Michael Gantala, Monroe Library
  • Amber Helman, Monroe Library
  • Deborah Kyle, Monroe Library
  • Randi Grossman, Mukilteo Library
  • Huey-Jong (Amy) Liaw, Mukilteo Library
  • David Wachob, Mukilteo Library
  • Lillian VanWey, Oak Harbor Library
  • Frances Ball, Service Center
  • Jeffrey DePue, Service Center
  • Denise  Nordland, Service Center
  • Lyric Crane*, Snohomish Library
  • Laura Lewis, Stanwood Library
  • Shirley Snavely, Stanwood Library
  • Samantha Sommers, Stanwood Library
  • Teri Towle, Stanwood Library

*Governor’s Service Award nominee

Governor’s Service Award nominees

  • George Winters, Darrington Library
  • Bridget Wisniewski, Darrington Library
  • Sue Norman,  Oak Harbor Library
  • Zach Furney, Service Center
  • Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria, Edmonds Library

Mt. Pilchuck students on top in reading challenge

Originally published Mar. 31, 2017

Members of the Mt. Pilchuck Elementary Bookworms before winning the 2017 Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge on March 30 at Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo. Photo gallery 
Watch interviews and highlights from the 2017 Reading Challenge Finals

The Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School Bookworms are champions of the 2017 Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge.

Think of it as March madness, except for third-graders and they’ve got books instead of basketballs.

More than 1,300 students on 194 teams from 50 schools across two counties read the same six book titles. Starting in early March, the teams began facing off in book knowledge quiz bowls, first at their schools and then school districts.

The top seven teams met March 30 on stage at Rosehill Community Center. After three, six-question rounds, two teams were left standing with perfect scores, the Bookworms from Mt. Pilchuck in the Lake Stevens School District and the Diamond Dolphins from Discovery Elementary in the Mukilteo School District.

One overtime question later, the champions were crowned.

“This is fun for the students, but there is more to this event,” Sno-Isle Libraries Deputy Director Kendra Trachta told the crowd of more than 250 parents, family members, teachers and other supporters. “We know that reading proficiency at the third-grade level is a strong indicator of success throughout their school careers.”

The reading challenge program encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading while honing their literacy and teamwork skills, she added.

Judges for the finals included Mukilteo School District Superintendent Marci Larsen and Trudy Rosemarin from the Northwest Literacy Foundation. Four members of the Kamiak High School cheerleading squad also greeted the teams as they arrived.

Guest judges at semifinal events included:

  • Arlington Education Foundation Sherri Ballew
  • Edmonds School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy
  • Lake Stevens City Council member Gary Petershagen
  • Lynnwood City Council member Shannon Sessions
  • Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Lance Gibbon
  • Snohomish County Council member Stephanie Wright
  • Snohomish School Board Vice President Shaunna Ballas

The six books used for this year’s challenge were:

Joining Mt. Pilchuck and Discovery elementary schools in the finals were the Reading Rock Stars from Cedarhome Elementary, Stanwood-Camano School District;  the Reading Raccoons from  South Whidbey Elementary, South Whidbey School District; the Super Eight from Beverly Elementary, Edmonds School District; the Book-Reading Dragons from Spruce Elementary, Edmonds School district, and the Book Bashers from Seattle Hill Elementary, Snohomish School District.

All participating schools for 2017 were:

Arlington School District

  • Presidents Elementary

Coupeville School District

  • Coupeville Elementary

Darrington School District

  • Darrington Elementary

Edmonds School District

  • Beverly Elementary
  • Brier Elementary
  • Cedar Valley Community School
  • Cedar Way Elementary
  • College Place Elementary
  • Edmonds Elementary
  • Hilltop Elementary
  • Lynndale Elementary
  • Lynnwood Elementary
  • Maplewood K-8
  • Sherwood Elementary
  • Spruce Elementary
  • Terrace Park Elementary
  • Westgate Elementary

Everett School District

  • Forest View Elementary
  • James Monroe Elementary
  • Silver Firs Elementary
  • Silver Lake Elementary
  • Granite Falls School District
  • Monte Cristo Elementary
  • Lake Stevens School District
  • Glenwood Elementary
  • Highland Elementary
  • Hillcrest Elementary
  • Mt. Pilchuck Elementary
  • Skyline Elementary
  • Sunnycrest Elementary

Marysville School District

  • Grove Elementary
  • Pinewood Elementary

Monroe School District

  • Chain Lake Elementary
  • Frank Wagner Elementary
  • Sky Valley Educational Center

Mukilteo School District

  • Discovery Elementary
  • Fairmount Elementary
  • Odyssey Elementary
  • Picnic Point Elementary
  • Serene Lake Elementary

Oak Harbor School District

  • Broad View Elementary
  • Crescent Harbor Elementary
  • Hillcrest Elementary
  • Oak Harbor Elementary
  • Olympic View Elementary

Snohomish School District

  • Emerson Elementary
  • Machias Elementary
  • Riverview Elementary
  • Seattle Hill Elementary

South Whidbey School District

  • South Whidbey Elementary

Stanwood-Camano School District

  • Cedarhome Elementary
  • Elger Bay Elementary
  • Stanwood Elementary
  • Utsalady Elementary?

Now 30 years of clean state audits for Sno-Isle Libraries

Originally published Mar. 30, 2017

The streak is alive.

Sno-Isle Libraries recently received clean audit reports from the Washington State Auditor’s Office. The audits extend the library district’s record of state audits with no findings to 30 years in a row.

“We take seriously the responsibility of being accountable for the public funds entrusted to Sno-Isle Libraries,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “I want to note the leadership of Gary Sitzman, our administrative services director. Results like this show a commitment throughout the organization.”

The Auditor’s Office issued two reports, an accountability audit for the period Jan. 1, 2014- Dec. 31, 2015 and a financial statements audit for the period Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2015.

Accountability audits focus on internal controls that ensure compliance and safeguarding of public resources. Financial statements audits look at the processes in place that allow the library district to accurately monitor finances.

“We are committed to this high level of accountability for the public’s resources,” Sitzman said. “The current audit results and 30-year milestone reflect the continued efforts of dedicated staff focused on serving the public.”

Voices raise awareness at climate-action lectures

Originally published Mar. 28, 2017

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez speaks March 24 at Coupeville High School as part of the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Lecture Series.

The voice of experience and the voice of youth came together to speak about climate change at the 2017 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.

And the voices were in agreement.

“Yes, people are impacting the climate,” said 16-year-old Xiuhtezcatl (shoe-TEZ-caht) Martinez, youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of activists, artists and musicians from across the globe. “But this is not about saving the climate, this is about saving the people.”

Martinez, from Boulder, Colo., spoke to packed houses on March 24 at Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center and March 25 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. He was joined by KC Golden, senior policy adviser at Climate Solutions in Seattle and Board Chair at 350.org, a global climate advocacy group.

Golden said 350.org is named for the target level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere generally accepted by scientists as needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The current CO2 level is above 400.

During his remarks, Golden showed an image of the globe at the current CO2 level labeled “Earth” and another with higher levels labeled “Toast.”

“People ask, ‘Couldn’t we consider a more reasonable number than 350?’” Golden said. “It isn’t a matter of what is reasonable. It is what it is. You don’t negotiate with physics.”

Golden warned against cynicism, calling it capitulation: “The ability to turn the corner on climate change is now within our reach.”

Martinez said he comes from a family of activists and started his own efforts at age 6. The idea behind the Earth Guardians is that young people can make a difference by raising their voices and letting adults know that they are concerned about the environment. The group supports local youth-led “crews” across the U.S. and world that organize to make a difference in their own area. There is a Whidbey Island Earth Guardian crew.  

Audience questions ranged from how to deal with the climate impact of naval air operations to the best ways to use purchasing power to combat the problem.

“We can’t say we are anti-military because we are pro-climate,” Martinez replied. “That’s not going to get people on your side.”

Golden argued for making wise transportation choices. “Don’t feel guilty about pumping gas, but feel great and empowered when you do it less often,” he said. Golden also reminded people of the power of divesting from companies that are heavy carbon polluters.

Martinez urged the audiences to consider making personal choices such as supporting local and organic agriculture and cutting meat and dairy from their diets.

The Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series is sponsored by Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund. Sundberg was known for her commitment as an Oak Harbor High School educator and community leader whose causes ranged from progressive politics to founding the Save Our Kids Crusade to supporting the arts and promoting the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. Family members, friends and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation joined together to establish the memorial fund to underwrite a lecture series in Sundberg’s name that reflects her many areas of interest and promote lifelong learning. Oak Harbor’s Marshall Goldberg chairs the lecture series planning committee.

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation appreciates the funding support for the 2017 lecture series provided by Whidbey Sun and Wind, Coupeville; Windermere Real Estate South Whidbey, the Tulalip Tribes and Humanities Washington.

Forums on homelessness spark community conversations

Originally published Mar. 10, 2017

The homeless are not forgotten.

Jan. 10, Langley
Photos from the forum - Video from the forum - Audio from the forum
Jan. 26, Lake Stevens
Photos from the forum - Audio from the forum
Feb. 22, Arlington
Photos from the forum - Facebook live event video - Audio from the forum
Feb. 28, Mountlake Terrace
Photos from the forum - Facebook live event video - Audio recording of forum

Homelessness Resources

If there is one takeaway from the four-part series “Homelessness Here” hosted by Sno-Isle Libraries, it is that communities are aware and yearning to help those who are homeless.

The second lesson: While every community is doing something, more is needed.

“I was surprised at the crowd,” said Elizabeth Kohl, director of social services for Housing Hope. “It was wonderful to see so many people and so engaged.”

Kohl was a panelist at the Mountlake Terrace Library event on Feb. 28, the final forum of the series. An overflow crowd of more than 100 people came to Mountlake Terrace, spilling out to the entryway where some watched the proceedings via Facebook Live on phones and laptop computers.

The community response was similar for the other forums.

On Jan. 10, more than 200 people filled Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley with some standing in the wings. On Jan. 26 at the Lake Stevens School District offices, a full- house of more than 100 came to hear Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer moderate the panel discussion. On Feb. 22, Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert took on the moderator role at Weston High School where again more than 100 community members and local officials gathered to share their concerns.

Many homeless students

At the Langley event, panelists spoke about the need and efforts on Whidbey Island.

“We push aside thoughts of homelessness because it's too hard,” said Faith Wilder, president of the South Whidbey Homeless Coalition. “We started the coalition with a goal of making homelessness brief and rare on the island.”

Vivian Rogers-Decker is the Student Support Specialist and Homeless Liaison for the Oak Harbor School District. “I have 212 homeless students,” Rogers-Decker told the crowd. She saw the need to do more and in 2012 founded SPIN Café as a way of delivering services outside the school setting. Since then, the effort has become a multi-purpose agency serving all of Whidbey Island.

Rogers-Decker said there are many triggers of homelessness, including disabilities, catastrophic illness, domestic violence, abuse, neglect, death, financial hardship as well as drug use.

“I hope everyone in this room makes a commitment to do something to help,” Rogers-Decker said.

In Lake Stevens, panelist Julio Cortes, of Cocoon House, spoke about the invisibility of some homelessness. “Youth homeless are harder to see and identify,” Cortes said. “When they are couch surfing, moving from friend to friend, you don’t see them.”

Making connections

The Lake Stevens event prompted subsequent action that resulted in a couple getting help.

Paul Ryan, a Lake Stevens Library Board member and sergeant with the Monroe Police, said he saw a neighbor at the Lake Stevens forum and connected on Facebook the next day. “As a result, I was put in touch with a woman and her fiancé living in their vehicle in Monroe,” Ryan said. “I was able to meet with the woman and put her in touch with some vital resources.

“I took a lot away from the forum, but the opportunity to help the friend of a friend was the most rewarding.”

Arlington Mayor Tolbert noted in her opening remarks on Feb. 22 that while resources are available, the need is greater. “There are 156 students who are homeless in Arlington School District,” Tolbert said. “That’s not acceptable!”

In the audience that evening was Snohomish County District Court Judge Kristen Olbrechts. “I get kids in the courtroom who don't have life skills,” Olbrechts said. “There are resources for them, but they can't follow up on phone calls.”

Hearing from those without homes

The forums drew those who want to help, but the homeless came, too.

One tearful woman told the Arlington audience that she had walked around all night at a local casino just to stay warm. “It is scary,” she said.

A young man at the Mountlake Terrace event recounted how he lives in his vehicle.

“I'm living in my RV with no stable place to park,” he said. “I have a full-time job, but lost my rental house when the owner decided to sell. The state only requires a 20-days’ notice to renters. I don’t have the money for first, last and deposit; how many of us are one or two paychecks from being homeless?”

And on Whidbey Island, one young man asked about the brutal impact of some rules.

“You ask us homeless to suffer thru temps as low as freezing before getting shelter,” he said. “Why?”

Wilder of the homeless coalition responded.

“We're working for year-round shelter in Oak Harbor,” she said. “The (United Nations) says shelter is a basic human right. We see you, we hear you.”

Calls to action

Wilder outlined what audience members could do: “We need a manifesto regarding basic human dignity for everyone. We need to show up at port, transit, city meetings.”

That call to action was reinforced at the final forum

“We need champions for homeless at every level of government,” Kristen Cane, Director of Development and Policy for Housing Authority of Snohomish County, told the audience at Mountlake Terrace.

“Here’s what you can do: Contact local, state, national officials to call attention to homelessness. Then, go volunteer in your community with nonprofit, churches, the groups that are out there doing the work.”

Other suggestions from audience members and panelists

  • Real estate agencies should talk with buyers, sellers, about not evicting renters quickly
  • Think about long-term solutions as well as short-term help
  • Give socks and cold weather gear those who are homeless, but don’t over-give because they have no place to store extras
  • Vote for initiatives that would help local government cope, and have money to match federal funds
  • Support the “housing first” approach, which helps stabilize people needing help with addiction and other problems
  • Spread the word about calling 211, a centralized number for social service resources
  • Serve as a mentor to youth at Cocoon House and other agencies helping the homeless

Issues That Matter events are sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, which relies on contributions. 

Best kept secret in the Sky Valley

Originally published Mar. 8, 2017

Monroe Library
Managing Librarian Phil Spirito

Photo by Valerie Rae

By Valeria Rae
Monroe Monitor Columnist

Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Since taking the post of Sno-Isle Libraries Monroe branch managing librarian nearly three years ago, Phil Spirito’s mission has been to change that situation.

“My goal is to make folks aware that this beautiful building is a community space. It is open 65 hours a week and it is free,” he said.

Most people think of a library as having books, of course, but the modern library system has much more to offer. Besides books and magazines, audio books and DVDs, Monroe Library offers valuable resources in the highly informed staff that are available to assist in many ways, including helping with general tech questions, how to use the libraries extensive online resources, writing resumes and searching for hard-to-find information. The public can ‘book a librarian’ for an hour by making an appointment.

More ...

Climate action the focus of Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series

Originally published Mar. 7, 2017

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez KC Golden

Two nationally recognized leaders on climate change are coming to Whidbey Island for the 2017 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.

Speaking on “Climate Action: What Now? Reports from the Front Lines,” will be KC Golden and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, two different generations speaking about their experiences in the world of climate-change activism.

The lecture series honors the memory of Trudy Sundberg, a beloved Whidbey Island teacher and civic activist who passed away in 2013. The lectures are scheduled for:

  • Friday, March 24, 7 p.m., Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center, 501 S. Main St., Coupeville
  • Saturday, March 25, 7 p.m., Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, 565 Camano Ave, Langley

Admission is free and seating is first come, first served. There will be Q&A time following the presentations. In addition to the two public presentations, Martinez will also make a special appearance on Friday, March, 24 at South Whidbey High School.

Golden is senior policy adviser at Climate Solutions in Seattle and Board Chair at 350.org, a global climate advocacy group. He has been a leader in the national climate movement for decades and served as a policy advisor to a number of Pacific Northwest governors and mayors. In 2012, Golden received the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his lifetime achievement as a climate advocate.

Martinez, 16, is youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of activists, artists and musicians from across the globe. The organization is stepping up to address climate change and other important issues. Martinez is a hip-hop artist and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the then-Obama administration for its failure to adequately protect their future against climate change. In 2015, the Boulder, Colo., teen received the Peace First Prize and the Nickelodeon Halo Award.

“These two climate leaders bring messages that speak to both young people and adults about the current state of climate action – or inaction,” said Oak Harbor’s Marshall Goldberg, who chairs the lecture series planning committee. “Both of our speakers are on the front lines of climate action and will have a lot to say about what’s working – and what the future holds.”

Sundberg was known for her commitment as an Oak Harbor High School educator and community leader whose causes ranged from progressive politics to founding the Save Our Kids Crusade to supporting the arts and promoting the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. Family members, friends and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation joined together to establish the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund to underwrite a lecture series in Sundberg’s name that reflects her many areas of interest and promote lifelong learning.

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation appreciates the funding support for the 2017 lecture series provided by Whidbey Sun and Wind, Coupeville; Windermere Real Estate South Whidbey, the Tulalip Tribes and Humanities Washington.

'Prose Bowl 2017' pits 16 top titles in playoff

Originally published Mar. 1, 2017

March Madness? Forget it.

Readers can get in the game with Prose Bowl 2017, a playoff series that pits 16 top books against each other in bracket competition starting March 1.

“Sixteen of our recent, popular titles will battle against each other in a bracket-style competition where participants will choose the winner,” said Jocelyn Redel, Teen Services Librarian at Lynnwood Library. “Don’t worry if you haven’t read all of the contenders,” Redel said. “Of course, you can check out the books through our catalog, but everyone gets to play.”

The contest details and entry forms are at The Biblio Files.  The page also lists all the books along with links to the variety of reviews, summaries and other information.”

As with that other bracket-thing in March, just getting to the Prose Bowl’s version of the big dance is a feat in itself. And, up to a committee.

“We pulled the top 300 titles for past 18 months or so, looking for a variety of genres so everyone could have something they can root for,” Redel said. “Then, we got together and whittled it down to 16.”

Here are the Prose Bowl rules:

Every week in March, participants can go online, see the matchups and then vote for their favorites. Participants will have one week to vote on each bracket, after which the poll will close for that week. At the end of the poll, participants can click to form that asks for an email address that will serve as an entry for consideration for the prizes.

“We’re still working on the prizes,” Redel said, adding that they could be advance copies of hot new books, perhaps a custom poster of the winner with their favorite book or other items and opportunities. “That, and the inherent satisfaction of being named a Sno-Isle Libraries Prose Bowl 2017 champion.”

The schedule is:

  • March 1-7: Eight brackets (16 titles)
  • March 8-14: Four brackets (8 titles)
  • March 15-21: Two brackets (4 titles)
  • March 22-28: One bracket (2 titles)
  • March 29: Winner posted!

And, here’s the list of the contenders:

Lake Stevens vote encouraging, next steps under review

Originally published Mar. 1, 2017

The existing Lake Stevens Library (above) is one of the smallest facilities in the Sno-Isle Libraries system and serves the growing Lake Stevens community. A new, larger library is identified as a priority in the library district's 2016-2025 Capital Facilities Plan.

Sno-Isle Libraries officials are reviewing the results of the Feb. 14 Lake Stevens Library election and speaking with community members before deciding on next steps.

“The response from the Lake Stevens community is encouraging,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “The Library Capital Facility Area ballot measure passed with flying colors. The approval rate for the bond measure is exciting and it came very close to getting the required voter turnout."

The review and discussions began Monday, Feb. 27 with Woolf-Ivory presenting the election results to the Board of Trustees.

“I’m meeting with Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer on Thursday to discuss the results,” Woolf-Ivory told the trustees. In the coming weeks, she and other library officials will also touch base with members of the Lake Stevens Library Board and the Friends of Lake Stevens Library group.

“A solid foundation of community support for a new library is in place,” Woolf-Ivory said. “It is clear that the Lake Stevens community values library service and the need for a new building continues to be critical.”

The Feb. 14 election included two measures that needed to pass before the library district could move ahead with a proposed new, larger library to serve the Lake Stevens community. Proposition 1 passed with a 69 percent approval, establishing the Lake Stevens Library Capital Facility Area. Proposition 2 received a 66 percent approval, but failed to pass because it was 749 votes shy of the 8,464 ballots cast required for validation.

If a decision is made to go back to the voters, the earliest that could happen is Aug. 1, Woolf-Ivory said.  The deadline for submitting material to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office for that election is May 12.

'Bears vs Babies' play date at Arlington Library

Originally published Feb. 17, 2017

Matthew Inman (standing) talks with players of "Bears vs Babies" during a Feb. 15 playtest at Arlington Library. Photo gallery

What do bears and babies have in common?

Perhaps not a lot now, but that may change this summer and on Feb. 15, dozens of people at the Arlington Library got a sneak peek at what’s coming.

Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal website and Exploding Kittens card game is putting the finishing touches on his latest game, Bears vs Babies, due to go on sale this June. As part of the game launch process, Inman and collaborator Elan Lee, organized 45 “playtest” sessions across the globe. One of those sessions was at the library and, in this case, included Inman himself joining the players.

“I’ve been to about four of these,” Inman said. “At this point, the game itself is pretty locked down, but we’re still working on the instructions.”

Inman saw some work to do.

“Did you all get a bear to start the game?” he asked the players at a table while leafing through the instructions that had been distributed. Hearing a unanimous “no,” Inman sat down to get their game back on track. While advertised as being for players age 7 and up, instructions can be a bit cryptic at first. One player at Arlington read aloud: “Choose a baby army and discard half, rounding up.”

Inman said some playtest session are conducted with observers not being able to interact with players. “There’s nothing more frustrating,” he said. “This is nice, being able to help.”

That Arlington Library became a playtest site is largely thanks to the work of Abby Bormann, Arlington’s Teen Librarian. “I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign,” Bormann said. “Then a few weeks ago, I got an email about the playtests.”

Bormann and some teens who frequent the library quickly put together a short video to make their case as a playtest location. “We heard back right away,” Bormann said. “This whole thing came together in just a couple of weeks.”

Those efforts resulted in an afternoon of participants ranging in age from 8 to 67 getting to play what is likely to be one of the hottest games of the summer before its release. “It was great,” said a 66-year-old Stanwood resident. “I was playing with 14- and 15-year-olds, but during the game, there was no age.”

Inman and co-creator Lee, who is a veteran game designer and currently Chief Design Officer for Xbox Entertainment Studios, funded the game through Kickstarter. The campaign broke records for the online crowdfunding site. When Bears vs Babies was listed on Oct. 18, the goal was $10,000. In the first week, it received $1.4 million from backers and topped out at $3.2 million in less than a month.

Joining Inman at Arlington for the playtest were several family members, including his mom.

“I work for him,” said Ann Inman, who lives near Rockport. “I handle the merchandise, the warehouse is at my house.”

Mom says she’s proud of her son and his success, but when Matthew is with family, he’s just one of the family. “He works hard, but all the kids work hard and are successes,” she said.

And, it’s not like success guarantees recognition.

Inman recounted a recent experience in Seattle when the woman behind the counter pointed at his sweatshirt with a cartoon from The Oatmeal and said, “Oh, the Belch.”

“It’s Blerch,” Inman said.

“Oh, well, I’m not much of a fan,” she said.

“I created it,” he said and unzipped the sweatshirt to show his Exploding Kittens t-shirt. “She turned a little red.”

(If you missed the playtest at Arlington Library, the only other one in Washington is 2-6 p.m., Feb. 26, at the Raygun Lounge in Seattle.)

Artists launch rocket mural at Stanwood Library

Originally published Feb. 16, 2017

Some of the young artists who contributed to the rocket mural stand before the artwork at Stanwood Library, Feb. 14, 2017.  Photo gallery

For a project that represents so much love and commitment, Valentine’s Day was certainly the appropriate launch date for a rocket mural at Stanwood Library.

The wall-size project was coordinated by Camano-based artist Danny Koffman with support coming from the library, the city of Stanwood and the Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center. Koffman started with artwork based on the theme “What would you take to the future” that was contributed by 32 families.

“I started with the list in alphabetical order and the art flowed so well I just kept it that way,” Koffman said. This is Koffman’s third such rocket mural with the others at the Resource Center and Church Creek Park.

The mural is printed on commercial-grade material that can withstand the elements and then mounted on posts along the east-facing wall of the library. “We’re very pleased to have this wonderful piece of art at the library,” said Managing Librarian Charles Pratt. “It is a reflection of the strong connection between the community and the library.”

Forum on homelessness comes to Arlington

Originally published Feb. 16, 2017

Less than a month ago, volunteers were gathering at the Stillaguamish Senior Center in Arlington to go count homeless people and while the numbers are still being tabulated, there is no doubt that homelessness is on the rise.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Weston High School Commons, Sno-Isle Libraries will host “Homelessness Here,” a public discussion exploring the causes and prevention of homelessness. The free event will be from 6:30-8 p.m. and moderated by Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. The event address is 4407 172nd Street NE, Arlington.

The event will include a panel discussion followed by audience questions and comments. Panelists will include Kristen Cane, Housing Authority of Snohomish County Director of Development and Policy; Seanna Herring-Jensen, program manager at the Arlington Community Resource Center; Nicolas Quijano, Cocoon House Advocate Supervisor, and Lynda Plummer, assistant director of social services for Housing Hope.

Over the past three years, the number of unsheltered individuals in Snohomish County has increased by 33 percent, according to a 2016 Snohomish County Human Services survey. Two-thirds of those said “out of doors” when asked where they stayed the previous night. The numbers from the Jan. 24 Point in Time Count will be available later this spring.

The Arlington forum is the third of four as part of Sno-Isle Libraries’ ongoing Issues That Matter series. 

“When we ask residents in our communities what issues concern them most, homelessness is always high on the list,” said Sonia Gustafson, leader of the library district’s Issues That Matter team and manager of Lake Stevens Library. A strategic priority for the library district is “Building civic engagement to address community issues.”

The final forum in the “Homelessness Here” series will be Feb. 28, Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W.  

Issues That Matter programs are meant to encourage community conversations on high-profile topics. Details, along with links to library and community resources, can be found at sno-isle.org/issues-that-matter.  Funding is provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

Sno-Isle Libraries closed Feb. 20

Originally published Feb. 14, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, Feb. 20 for Presidents Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Feb. 21. See locations & hours.

Mariner Library opens to appreciative crowd and community

Originally published Feb. 11, 2017

Watch highlights of the Mariner Library grand opening celebration from Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Photo gallery

For some, it was the realization of a dream held for years.

For others, it will help dreams come true for years.

On Saturday morning, Feb. 11, 2017, the grand opening of the Mariner Library drew several hundred people, with Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory welcoming the crowd and introducing some of those who helped turn dreams into reality.

“Years ago, I got a phone call,” Woolf-Ivory told the gathering. “I picked it up and the phone said, ‘This is Peggy. I’ve got 1,800 signatures on petitions for a library in the Mariner area.' ”

That call, Woolf-Ivory said, was her introduction to Peggy Nystrom, the former Mariner High School librarian who was a driving force in bringing a public library to an area that is now home to roughly 30,000 residents. “This is a community, but there’s no center, no gathering place,” Nystrom said. “This library will be a place people can come to be together.”

But it took time. While the will and need were there, the timing was difficult and made worse by economic conditions of the past decade. For the past 10 years, the library district has provided Bookmobile service to the area with stops at the high school, Voyager Middle School and the Albertson’s parking lot on 128th Street.

The service was important, but Nystrom didn’t give up on her dream of a library and Woolf-Ivory said the library district didn’t forget.

This past summer, the library district Board of Trustees approved the 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan which identifies the Mariner Library as a priority. By November, the library district had leased space at 520 128th St SW, and it was Woolf-Ivory’s turn to get on the phone.

In her comments at the opening, Mukilteo School District Marci Larsen recounted the call. “When Jonalyn said they were moving ahead, now, I was just so happy,” Larsen said. “I’m so grateful for the commitment of Sno-Isle Libraries to this community and this library.”

Also coming to the podium was Javier Garcia, a veteran of those 10 years of Bookmobile service.

“I was in sixth grade at Voyager,” said Garcia, who now is recently engaged and starting his own business. “I didn’t go at first because I thought it cost money and I didn’t have any.”

Garcia said he initially thought the Bookmobile was a bookstore, not a public library on wheels. And, he thought only books were available. “I had no idea there were DVDs and CDs and things,” he said. In fact, the very first thing checked out at the new library was a laptop computer, which are available for use in the library and connect to the internet through free Wi-Fi service.

Others attending the event included State Rep. John Lovick and Snohomish County Council member Stephanie Wright.

“Every Saturday, I would take my children to the Lynnwood Library,” Lovick said. “Libraries are just so important to a community.”

Wright said she agreed: “This library will make such a difference to the Mariner area.”

The Snohomish Health District, Community Transit and Mukilteo School District participated in the grand opening with staff and information for attendees.

The Mariner Library is in the shopping area that includes Albertson’s. It is across Fourth Avenue W. from the Community Transit Mariner Park & Ride Transit Center. Regular library hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The library will be closed on Sundays. 

In addition to books, CDs, DVDs and other materials available in the new location, customers at the library will have access to everything in the Sno-Isle Libraries collection including eBooks, audiobooks, other electronic resources and research databases. Materials can be delivered to the Mariner Library or downloaded from the Sno-Isle website.

The library features a “laptop bar” at the front windows where customers can sit on stools and use the computers for a coffee-shop-like experience. The library has a dedicated children’s area, flexible study spaces and a public meeting room that can be scheduled for use.

Woolf-Ivory made a point of thanking all the library district staff members and partners who helped make the dream of a Mariner Library come true for the community: "This was truly a remarkable effort."

Rocket mural to be unveiled at Stanwood Library

Originally published Feb. 10, 2017

By Stanwood-Camano News staff

Thirty-­two local families contributed artwork for a rocket mural to be placed on the exterior wall of the Stanwood Library.

Artist Danny Koffman coordinated the 21­-foot rocket mural art project for which the city of Stanwood, the Stanwood­Camano Community Resource Center and the Stanwood Library joined forces to underwrite its construction. The mural, dedicated to the future, will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

This is the third and largest rocket mural designed by Koffman to be launched in Stanwood in the past year. “The question posed – What would you take to the future? – is a constructive and optimistic topic for family conversation,” Koffman said. As with other rocket murals now in place at the Resource Center and Church Creek Park, participants' responses to the question are in images and words.

Their responses are even more powerful when stitched together because … "we are all on this journey to the future together,” said Koffman, a Camano artist who owns Koffman Gallery, Art with a Smile!

Footsteps in Cuba, today and yesterday

Originally published Feb. 7, 2017

Alex Wells in Cuba next to a sign pointing to “Fidel’s House.” 
Sumner Welles (left) shakes hands with Cuba’s Col. Fulgencio Batisa as U.S. Gen. Malin Craig looks on.

The door to Cuba is swinging open and Alex Welles has seen what’s on the other side.

Twice … in the past two years.

Welles will share his recent personal experiences along with the perspective gained from his grandfather, Sumner Welles, a diplomat who served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s special envoy to Cuba. Welles will make two presentations of, “Cuba: Following in my Grandfather’s Footsteps:”

  • Sunday, Feb. 12, 2-3 p.m., Coupeville Library, 788 NW Alexander St, Coupeville.
  • Monday, Feb. 13, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Langley Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 301 Anthes Ave, Langley.

Both events are free, open to the public and have limited seating.

In addition to speaking about Cuba, Welles will show photos and videos from his visits, including a walk through Havana's Old City. Other sites he visited include the Bay of Pigs, which became politically famous in 1961, and San Juan Hill in Santiago, where Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charged the Spanish troops in 1898.

Welles is a former Wall Street broker and international banking specialist. He is co-owner of Welles & Rinning Commercial Real Estate Services in Bellevue. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Hobart College in Geneva, NY and an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix. He lives in Seattle with his wife, King County Council Member Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

Funding for these events is by the Friends of the Clinton, Coupeville, Freeland and Langley libraries.?

Sasquatch (information) coming to Whidbey Island

Originally published Feb. 7, 2017

Sasquatch (info) sightings

Thursday, Feb. 23

  • 4 p.m.
  • Oak Harbor Library
    1000 SE Regatta Drive
    Oak Harbor
Friday, Feb. 24
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Langley Library
    104 Second St.

It is quite possible there won’t be a Sasquatch sighting Feb. 23 or Feb. 24 on Whidbey Island.

If, however, those joining the exploration on either day by author David George Gordon of the exceptionally elusive creature should spot a hairy, ape-like being loping across the road on the way home from either the Oak Harbor or Langley library, they will be well-prepared to make a positive ID.

Gordon is author of “The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America’s Most Elusive Creature.” His approach to answering real-or-myth question focuses on evaluating the data gathered about the legendary Northwest icon and the rules of critical thinking and the workings of the scientific method.

Aside from various footprint casts and eyewitness accounts, some recounted by the earliest humans in the Northwest, no scientifically accepted evidence has been offered to establish this being’s existence. In his presentation, Gordon explains how to be an effective “citizen scientist” by gathering credible evidence that can be used to substantiate the Sasquatch’s status.

He encourages attendees at his talks to share their tales and experiences related to mysterious creature.

Gordon has spoken at the American Museum of Natural History, The Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museums in San Francisco, Hollywood, and Times Square.  He has been interviewed by National Geographic, Time, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Gordon is also well-known as "The Bug Chef" and getting TV host James Corden and Edmonds-raised actor Anna Faris to eat various cooked bugs on Corden's "The Late Late Show."

Gordon’s presentations are free and supported by Humanities Washington, the Friends of the Langley Library and Friends of the Oak Harbor Library.?

Sno-Isle Libraries: Connecting people, ideas and culture