Library News

Sno-Isle Libraries business librarian headed in the right direction

Originally published Oct. 20, 2016

In March of 2016, Kassy Rodeheaver was attending her first SXSW conference.

In March of 2017, Rodeheaver will be presenting at the iconically cool, global gathering in Austin, Texas.

Photo Kassy Rodeheaver
Kassy Rodeheaver, Sno-Isle Libraries'
Lead Librarian for Business

“I couldn’t be more excited or honored,” said Rodeheaver, who is Sno-Isle Libraries’ Lead Librarian for Business. Rodeheaver and Jay Lyman from the Seattle Public Library received notice this week that SXSW (pronounced “south by southwest”) wants their presentation on how public libraries can help entrepreneurs for the event’s Interactive Festival in the “Startup Village.”

According the SXSW website, the Startup Village “brings together startups, entrepreneurs, investors and innovative tastemakers. Topics range from B2B, B2C, Bootstrapping, Business Strategy, Future of Money, Startups and anything in-between.”

Rodeheaver is familiar with the needs of entrepreneurs because she is one in the world of public libraries.

“Kassy is in a position that perhaps only a few libraries across the country have,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Deputy Director Kendra Trachta. “Our strategic focus says ‘We will build economically sound communities (through) entrepreneur and small business support and workforce readiness.’ The position of Lead Librarian for Business is dedicated to those outcomes.”

Rodeheaver started two years ago with those marching orders, but she was going to have to draw her own roadmap.

“I started learning about the market I wanted to serve, reaching out to potential partners, shaking hands, saying ‘hello’ and building a network,” Rodeheaver said. ”Many of the same things entrepreneurs do, or should do.”

In collaboration with business experts and other agencies, Rodeheaver launched a series of business classes this fall that cover a range of skills needed for startup businesses. “We’re offering ‘Steps to Starting a New Business’ and subjects such as ‘SEO and Getting Your Business to Rank on Google,’” Rodeheaver said.

The no-charge classes introduce attendees to the free resources available through Sno-Isle Libraries, which is also the subject of the SXSW conference presentation.

“Our presentation is called ‘Validate Market Share Without Breaking the Bank,’” Rodeheaver said. “Entrepreneurs may have a great idea, but it takes finding a market to make it a great business.”

The trick is that regardless of need, market research can be financially out of reach for a startup business. Rodeheaver is introducing local startups to what she says is a forgotten secret to business success: market research help from the public library.

“This region ranks near the top in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and business startups,” Rodeheaver said. “Library customers can access amazing market research databases and other resources related to business as a part of our regular services.”

Next March, Rodeheaver and Lyman will be letting that little secret out of the bag at SXSW.

Kiwanis help third-graders learn how to look it up

Originally published Oct. 14, 2016

Jack LaPoint at Mill Creek Elementary on Oct. 11. Photo gallery

No matter what the question, Jack LaPoint has the answer.

“Look it up,” he says. “If you know how to look things up, you can be the smartest person in the world.”

It’s a message LaPoint has been bringing to third-graders for 10 years as part of an annual dictionary giveaway sponsored by the Silver Lake Kiwanis and supported by Sno-Isle Libraries. On Oct. 11, LaPoint and fellow Kiwanian Jill Fraley brought dictionaries and the message to students at Mill Creek Elementary.

“Yes, we’re Jack and Jill and, no, we didn’t plan it that way,” LaPoint says to giggles from the crowd. LaPoint uses humor, but the core of his message is serious. It’s clear his squirmy-but-attentive audience sitting cross-legged on the lunchroom floor is listening when he taps his head and calls it the greatest super-computer in the world.

“And you’ve got one, too,” he says. “Yours is the newer model, but mine is still pretty good.”

Then come the books.

LaPoint, Fraley and the teachers hand out brand-new copies of “A Student’s Dictionary,” purchased by the Kiwanis from the With each dictionary, there is also a “Why Get a Library Card for a Child” and Homework Help brochures from Darlene Weber, Mill Creek Library Managing Librarian. He also provides Sno-Isle Libraries’ Homework Help posters for use in the students’ classrooms. LaPoint is also a Mill Creek Library Ambassador.

“This is a dictionary and it’s yours to keep forever and ever,” LaPoint tells the new owners, some with noses buried in the smell of the new, previously unopened book. “There’s a sticker inside where you can write your name and make this book yours.”

LaPoint introduces the students to their new books, shows them how to find information and pointing out it is more than just a dictionary.

“This book includes the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, maps and information about all 50 states,” he says. LaPoint urges the students to look up at least one thing a day, then go home and quiz their parents.

This year, LaPoint will visit more than 20 schools in the area, including all the Everett School District elementaries and about 10 private schools. “We’ll hand out 2,000 dictionaries,” he said.

Despite the obvious enjoyment that both LaPoint and the students get from the program, this will likely be its final year, he said.

“Our Kiwanis club has voted to disband; we’re down to just nine members,” LaPoint said. “I didn’t want to, but that was the vote. I think I’ll go try to start a club in Mill Creek.

Challenge prompts Island County teens to get down to business

Originally published Oct. 10, 2016

Student entrepreneur Challenge logo

Teens in Island County have a chance to build real businesses and earn cash prizes in the second annual Student Entrepreneur Challenge.

The challenge is a hands-on business learning opportunity organized by the Island County Economic Development Council Foundation and supported by Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. Teens form teams and then choose a product or service, do research,
write a business plan, market the goods or services and actually run their business for one week in November.

“It’s really impressive how motivated these students are to successfully manage their own businesses,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Lead Librarian for Business Kassy Rodeheaver, who along with others will teach team members how to use free business research tools available through Sno-Isle Libraries.

“Last year during the competition, the student-run businesses sold over $3,000 in product and services in one week. I know some small business owners who would love to have those sales numbers,” Rodeheaver said.

In 2015, teams launched businesses selling items such as candy and candles and providing services including baking, catering, landscaping and taking portraits of high-school seniors who couldn’t afford professional photographs. The 2015 winning team from Oak Harbor made more than $1,000 during the challenge week by selling breakfast items and conducting a raffle at Oak Harbor High School.

Teams are assigned mentors from local businesses to advise them during the challenge. Challenge sponsors include US Bank, Whidbey Coffee, Whidbey Island Bank, Brandman University, The Star Store, The Goose Community Grocer, Puget Sound Energy, Valentine Medical, Spoiled Dog Winery and Greater Freeland Chamber of Commerce.

To enter, Whidbey and Camano island teens can form teams with three to five members in grades 9-12 as well as home-schooled students. Then, complete and submit the online application before the 4 p.m., Oct. 19deadline. Teams are required to attend one of four training meetings scheduled for:

Teams will do market research and write business plans by Nov. 13. From Nov. 14-20, the teams will operate their businesses and then submit their business plans, bibliography and financial reports by 4 p.m., Nov. 21.

Challenge officials and sponsors will announce winners and celebrate all of the young entrepreneurs at an awards event in December.  Cash awards include a grand prize of $250 per winning team member, $100 for the business that officials believe has the greatest chance of continuing outside the challenge and $500 for the team that makes the best use of Sno-Isle Libraries resources in their business.

Earthquake expert coming to five community libraries

Originally published Oct. 10, 2016

Sandi Doughton  photo
Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton

As part of the Great Washington Shakeout, Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton will speak at five Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries on how to be safe during big earthquakes.

Doughton is author of “Full-Rip 9.0: The next big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.” Along with her presentation, “Shake, Rattle & Rebound,” Doughton will lead discussions of the earthquake risks in the region, the potential impact of a major quake on people and economy, and ways to better prepare for those impacts, both individually and collectively.

Doughton is scheduled to speak at:

All events are free and open to the public.

Sno-Isle Libraries is participating in The Great Washington Shakeout, part of an annual national earthquake awareness campaign billed as “the world’s largest earthquake drill.” At 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20, customers visiting many of its community libraries may take part in a drill called “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”

Displays of disaster-preparedness books, posters and other literature are available now in the libraries. Information also library district’s website at It features books on the subject, quick links to other online resources, and a news feed of earthquake stories.

Sno-Isle Libraries garners 'Top Innovator' award for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries

Originally published Oct. 7, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries has been recognized by a leading library organization for its inaugural TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event, held in November 2015.

Library district executive director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory accepted the Top Innovator award from the Urban Libraries Council on Oct. 6, at the council’s annual forum in Kansas City, Missouri. 

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries Transformations logo

“We launched TEDxSnoIsleLibraries as an opportunity to bring people together, to share ideas and transform our communities in that process,” Woolf-Ivory said. “We’re humbled to receive this award and energized to know that our work is not only meeting the needs of our communities, but seen as valuable by our peers, the best and biggest libraries in North America.”

Woolf-Ivory also noted that the award is timely.

“On Monday (Oct. 10), registration opens for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016, which is scheduled for Nov. 18,” Woolf-Ivory said. “The 2015 event was a powerful day and I’m sure this year’s lineup of speakers and experiences will be just as transformational.”

The Urban Libraries Council serves as a forum for library leadership to produce innovative ideas and best practices that ensure community impact. Member libraries are based in the United States and Canada, and include the largest systems, such as those in New York and Los Angeles.

"Today's public libraries are thought leaders, educational institutions and technology centers that play a critical role in building and strengthening the fabric of their communities," said Susan Benton, Urban Libraries Council president and CEO.

Sno-Isle Libraries was one of 10 libraries honored for their innovative work in specific areas. The Sno-Isle Libraries award is in the “Positioning the Library” category. Other top award winners include:

  • Race and Social Equity - St. Paul (Minnesota) Public Library
  • Civic and Community Engagement - King County (Washington) Library System
  • Health, Safety and Sustainability - San Francisco (California) Public Library
  • Organizational Change and Strategic Management - Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Libraries
  • Learning: Birth through Teens - San Mateo (California) County Libraries
  • Learning: Adults - Queens (New York) Library
  • Collections - Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County (Ohio)
  • Customer Experience - Wichita (Kansas) Public Library
  • Workforce and Economic Development - Rochester (New York) Public Library

For more information, contact: 
Jim Hills, Public Information Manager, 360-651-7050,

Sno-Isle Libraries hosts Indie Author Day events, fall classes for writers

Originally published Oct. 5, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will join almost 300 libraries across the U.S. and Canada on Saturday, Oct. 8, to celebrate the inaugural Indie Author Day with free public events. Sno-Isle Libraries will feature three classes aimed at aspiring and published authors.

Indie Author Day

The classes are part of the library district’s Write Now series of 32 fall classes covering all aspects of writing and publishing for aspiring and established authors, whether their interest is in traditional or independent publishing.  

This Saturday’s classes and presenters will be:

  • "Make Writing a Business: Nitty-Gritty of Being an Author Entrepreneur" by Maya Sullivan, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Stanwood Library, 9701 271st St NW, Stanwood, WA.
  • "Self-Publishing 101: Basics & Best Practices" by Joy Burke, 1 - 2:30 p.m., Lake Stevens Library, 1804 Main St., Lake Stevens, WA  
  • "Poems from Postcards (and Other Found Texts)" by Amanda Laughtland, 2 - 3:30 p.m., Brier Library, 23303 Brier Rd, Brier, WA.

The full list of fall classes is available online at

“We know that throughout our communities there is a real interest in learning about writing and publishing. With our Write Now series and Indie Author Day, we hope to address that interest and connect writers with library resources and each other to create an environment that facilitates their publishing dreams,” said Jackie Parker, Sno-Isle’s lead librarian for Readers’ Services.

Parker encourages writers to watch a live streaming presentation featuring publishing industry leaders that will be posted at at 11 a.m. Saturday. Library customers can watch the event from their personal devices or from one of Sno-Isle’s 600 free public computers.

The Indie Author Day website helps libraries and authors stay connected throughout the year.

For more information about the events, contact Jackie Parker, lead librarian for Readers’ Services,

Speaker to explore women's changing political influence (rescheduled for Oct. 29)

Originally published Oct. 5, 2016

Jeanne Kohl-Welles

(Update: Due to weather conditions on Oct. 15, this program has been rescheduled for Oct. 29 at 10 a.m.)

What motivated women in Washington state to buck social norms and pursue political leadership roles?

Jeanne Kohl-Welles will answer that question and more in her Oct. 15 presentation at Langley Library, 104 Second St. Her talk, “Women as Political Change Agents,” will start at 10 a.m. It is free and open to the public.

Kohl-Welles will engage with the audience to examine the development and influence of women’s leadership roles from the late 1800s to the present. She will include a parallel examination of male leadership roles and discuss what is needed to increase representation of women in politics today.

Kohl-Welles is a member of the King County Council. Before being elected to that position in 2015, she served in the Washington state Senate for 21 years. Since 1985, she has taught women’s studies, sociology and education courses as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington. So co-founded Win With Women, which supports the election of women to the Washington state Legislature.

Her Langley talk is supported by Humanities Washington and Friends of the Langley Library.

About the sponsors

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

Sno-Isle Libraries,, serves 728,745 residents in Washington’s Snohomish and Island counties through 21 community libraries, online services, and Library on Wheels.


For more information, contact: 
Vicky Welfare, Langley Library Branch Manager, 360-221-4383,

Grant helps bring award-winning author to Mariner High School

Originally published Sep. 30, 2016

Matt de la Pena photo
Last Stop on Market Street book cover photo

On the basketball court and in life, Matt de la Peña knows something about taking the shot.

As a teenager, de la Peña says he dreamed of finger rolls in pickup games at San Diego’s Balboa Park. His persistence in pursuing that dream paid off, taking him 500 miles north and a world away to the University of the Pacific on a full-ride basketball scholarship.

A 6-foot-1 guard, de la Peña made an impact on the court, but what he found in the college classroom made an impact on his life. That’s where he was introduced to books like “The Color Purple,” “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and Junot Díaz’s “Drown.”

“When I finally fell for literature, I fell hard,” de la Peña said.

The self-described “half-Mexican hoop-head” earned a master’s degree in creative writing at San Diego State University and went from reading books to writing them.

In six young adult novels, de la Peña writes about what he knows in “Ball Don’t Lie,” “Mexican WhiteBoy,” “We Were Here,” “I Will Save You,” “The Living” and “The Hunted.” And this year, de la Peña received the Newbery Medal for his 2015 picture book, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

De la Peña’s stories, both in his books and his life, struck a chord with Mariner High School librarian Stephanie Wilson. Wilson was looking for a way to connect students with good role models and decided to try to get de la Peña to the school.

“There was an article he wrote on NPR a few years ago called ‘Sometimes the Tough Teen is Quietly Writing Stories,’” Wilson said. “I sent it to the English department and our principal. The principal said, ‘Get him here.’”

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Wilson’s own persistence will pay off when the author arrives for a full day of events with students and faculty. However, getting to this point wasn’t easy.

“I started applying for grants and got $1,500 from the Friends of the Mill Creek Library,” Wilson said.

Sue Ramsey, secretary of the Friends group, said the request was a bit unusual. “We have a professional development grant fund,” Ramsey said, adding that normally those requests are for teacher training opportunities. “This was for a whole school. We just thought this one was special.”

Still, more was needed. Some came from school-supporter funds and some came from Wilson's own library budget. In the middle of all that, she went on leave for a year.

“And then, he wins the Newbery,” Wilson said. “I’m not sure our students and maybe some of our staff understand the magnitude of him coming.”

Wilson is going to wring everything she can out of the visit.

“We will have two assemblies on that day, two book signings at lunch and he will work with staff after school in a seminar and Q&A format,” Wilson said. While those events aren't open to the public, de la Peña will be at University Book Store in Mill Creek from 7-8 p.m., Oct. 4, where he is scheduled for a free and open reading and book signing.

For his part, de la Peña says he still can’t quite believe what has happened in his life.

“Growing up, I never could’ve imagined anything like this,” de la Peña said in his comments accepting the Newbery Medal earlier this year. “Me and books? Reading? Nah, man, I was a working-class kid.

“Over the past 10 years, I’ve visited hundreds of schools and met tens of thousands of young people. And so many of them are just like that old version of me. Self-defined nonreaders who spend all day reading the world. My mission as an author is to help a few of them translate those skills to the written word.

“But what if I can nudge a few of these kids toward the magic of books at a younger age? What if I can write a story that offers that tough, hoodied kid in the back of the auditorium a secret place to feel?”

Registration opens Oct. 10 for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016

Originally published Sep. 28, 2016

Registration to see and hear the region’s most fascinating thinkers, innovators and performers live onstage will open Oct. 10.

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 will take place on Friday, Nov. 18 at Edmonds Center for the Arts. Admission is free, but online registration is required at

TEDx logo



Watch the 2015 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries speaker videos!  

“This event quickly became a very hot item in 2015, our inaugural year,” said Ken Harvey, Sno-Isle Libraries Communications Director and TEDx organizer. “We encourage early registration.”

The event at Edmonds Center for the Arts will start at 9 a.m. and run through 4:30 p.m. with morning and afternoon breaks and a pause for lunch.

And who will be presenting that day?

“We’ll be making that announcement in the coming weeks,” Harvey said. “Our 2016 TEDx speakers are preparing a fascinating line-up of ideas for the audience.””

In addition to the speakers, the IdeaLab will again be part of the experience at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

“This year will include a new opportunity for TEDx attendees to interact with presenters and event sponsors and other organizations through idea and innovation spaces within the IdeaLab,” Harvey said. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet Edmonds artist Mona T. Smiley-Fairbanks who was selected through the Snohomish County Arts Commission to serve as the 2016 TEDxSnoIsleLibraries event artist. “She is creating an interactive art installation which will be a centerpiece of the IdeaLab.”

Registration options will be available for full-day, half-day morning and half-day afternoon at Edmonds Center for the Arts, as well as 16 community viewing sites where the event will be livestreamed.

Viewing sites include 13 Sno-Isle Libraries facilities at Camano Island, Coupeville, Darrington, Edmonds, Freeland, Granite Falls, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Oak Harbor, Snohomish and Stanwood.

Additional public viewing sites will be at the Snohomish Public Utilities District auditorium in Everett, the University of Washington Bothell and Edmonds Community College. No registration is required for those locations. 

Last year’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, speakers and partners.

“It was a powerful day,” said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Executive Director of Sno-Isle Libraries. “The 2016 event reinforces Sno-Isle Libraries’ role in transforming communities, convening people for public discourse and programs that address community needs and interests.”

The 2015 event drew more than 700 attendees for the live event at Edmonds Center for the Arts and thousands more viewed the livestream at the public viewing sites or their own devices.

In 2015, speakers and performers took the stage with subjects ranging from innovation strategies to preparing for a NASA mission to Mars. Attendees and viewers also reflected a broad cross-section with an age range from 14 to over 80 and a geographic draw from British Columbia, California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

“It was clear as we prepared for last year’s event that we have a deep well of ideas and innovations in our region,” Harvey said. “We barely scratched the surface then on ideas which were submitted. Inspiring nominations of amazing people doing innovative work came to us from the speaker nomination process that we hosted last spring.”

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is a key partner for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries.

“It’s critical to the purpose and values of the library district to make this event free for everyone, ensuring free and equal access to information and ideas,” said Paul Pitkin, Executive Director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. “Our support of TEDxSnoIsleLibraries was completely validated by our results in 2015.”

Other organizations that have chosen to become partners for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2016 include:

  • The Daily Herald
  • Edmonds Center for the Arts
  • Alaska Airlines
  • United Way of Snohomish County
  • The Everett Clinic
  • Economic Alliance Snohomish County
  • Institute of Flight
  • Community Transit
  • Snohomish County Arts Commission
  • Leadership Snohomish County
  • Washington State University North Puget Sound
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • Coastal Community Bank
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Crosscut
  • Starbucks
  • Island County Economic Development Council
  • KSER
  • City of Edmonds
  • Heritage Bank
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Anderson Hunter
  • OverDrive
  • Innovative-Polaris
  • First Washington
  • Pacific Copy & Printing
  • Snohomish County Public Utility District
  • Everett Community College
  • ED! Edmonds Downtown Alliance

Sno-Isle Libraries buys land for new Lake Stevens Library

Originally published Sep. 27, 2016

Sno-Isle and Lake Stevens city officials photo
Sno-Isle Libraries and City of Lake Stevens officials gather at the site earmarked for a new, larger Lake Stevens Library and new city facilities. From left are: Sonia Gustafson, Lake Stevens Library Managing Librarian; Kendra Trachta, Sno-Isle Libraries Deputy Director; Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees President Sue Cohn; Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory; Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer; Lake Stevens City Council member Sam Low, Lake Stevens City Council member Kim Daughtry and Lake Stevens City Administrator Mary Swenson.  Photo gallery

Sno-Isle Libraries is buying land for a new library to serve the Lake Stevens community.

A purchase and sale agreement for property on the northwest corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place was unanimously approved by the library district’s Board of Trustees at the Sept. 26 regular meeting.

“I’m thankful for the leadership and vision of our trustees,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “Their commitment to the Lake Stevens community brings us one step closer to the new, larger library the community deserves."

The land is adjacent to property purchased earlier this year by the City of Lake Stevens. The library district and city are working together to site the new library as well as new city facilities. The purchase price of the library district’s parcel is $850,000, plus closing costs.

The Sno-Isle Libraries 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan calls for replacing the Lake Stevens Library with a new, larger building. Community input strongly indicates the current library is too small to serve the growing Lake Stevens community.  Building and opening a larger library, however, would require voter approval for funding.

Sno-Isle Libraries will work with the City and County to place two ballot measures before voters for consideration. The first measure would ask whether a Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA) should be formed to raise necessary tax funds to construct and furnish a new Lake Stevens Library. A Lake Stevens library capital facility area would mirror the boundaries of the Lake Stevens School District.

This potential measure requires a simple majority approval to pass. A second potential ballot measure would ask voters whether library bonds should be issued for a new, larger Lake Stevens Library. For passage of this measure, 40 percent of those who voted in the previous general election must vote on this bond-issue question. In addition, passage of the bond measure requires approval by 60 percent or more of those voting.

Both library measures need to be approved for work to proceed on a new Lake Stevens Library. The first possible date for the measures to be on a ballot is Feb. 14, 2017.

Normally, the full price of the land would be included in the setting the bond amount, but not in this case. The trustees pledged half of the land cost, $425,000 plus closing costs, from library district reserves toward the purchase as part of the motion approved on Monday night.

“Sno-Isle Libraries’ commitment to pay half of the land purchase demonstrates our support for this project,” Board of Trustees President Sue Cohn said.

The site and building in which the current library operates are owned by the city. The City of Lake Stevens has long envisioned other uses for the property and is currently moving through a planning process for the downtown area. City officials have said the library and at least some city services must move from the downtown area.

“The current Lake Stevens Library serves the community as well as it can, but it is just too small to meet the needs of this growing area,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Community members told us they want a new, larger library and we’re working to help make their vision a reality.”

Board Vice-President Marti Anamosa added her support, saying, “This is a great partnership between the City of Lake Stevens and Sno-Isle Libraries.”

Beginning next week, the four-member committee called for in an interlocal agreement approved in August will start work on a joint site development plan. The committee includes two representatives from the city and two from the library district.


Originally published Sep. 26, 2016

Screenagers movie poster Delaney Ruston photo
  Delaney Ruston

Screen time.

Delaney Ruston is well-versed on the level of chaos that can erupt when a parent utters those two simple words to a child staring at a computer, smartphone or game console.

The filmmaker and physician examines the impacts of screen time on children, teenagers and their families in her 2016 documentary, “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.” The film will show at two Sno-Isle Libraries, including:

  • Coupeville Library, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 5, and 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8.
  • Monroe Library, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 5, and 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8

Ruston uses her own experience to probe the corners of family life and explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. A former University of Washington faculty member, Ruston saw her own children turning toward a screen-based world and learned that the average U.S. young person spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. Ruston decided to look into the possible impacts of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time.

One review says “Screenagers” is sure to prompt conversations about family communication and responsible use of technology, especially if parents and children watch the documentary together.

Ruston’s previous documentaries include “Hidden Pictures: A Personal Story into Global Mental Health” that explores personal mental health stories in five countries, and “Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia” depicting her journey to reconnect with her father after hiding from him for 10 years.

Ruston has been a family physician in California and Washington. She completed a Fulbright Fellowship producing short films on mental health in India. She has been a keynote speaker on mental health topics at the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

Ruston is currently the filmmaker-in-residence at Stony Brook Medicine, NY.

Road trips are reading trips for Lake Stevens siblings

Originally published Sep. 26, 2016


Saho (left) and Shogo Yamashita settle in with their books during a recent visit to the Lake Stevens Library. Both children were gold-medal winners in the Sno-Isle Libraries Explore Summer reading program, even continuing their reading logs while in summer school in Japan. Photo gallery

Reading-log jam

  • 107,870 – Hours of reading logged this summer by all participants
  • 4,217  - Bronze medal winners (10 hours of reading)
  • 1,965 - Silver medal winners (25 hours of reading)
  • 1,449 - Gold medal winners (50 hours of reading)

Saho and Shogo Yamashita are used to reading on the road.

The Lake Stevens brother and sister know that the trip to Kent for Shogo’s gymnastics lessons will take a good 90 minutes - each way - so they grab at least one book a piece for the ride. “We read the whole way there and back,” said Saho, 11, and a sixth-grader at North Lake Middle School.

However, reading on the road took on a whole new meaning this summer when the family took a trip to Kobe, Japan that included a month-long summer-school stint. “The school is for Japanese children born abroad and whose parents want them to have a Japanese language and cultural experience,” said Hiroko Yamashita, the kids’ mom.

On this trip, the children did two languages and two cultures at the same time. “We took our books from the library and reading logs with us to Japan,” Saho said. “We went to school in Japanese and then read in English.”

The reading logs were part of Sno-Isle Libraries Explore Summer program, which receives funding support from the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. Participants who logged 10 hours of reading over the summer received bronze medals while 25 hours brought a silver medal. Readers who racked up 50 hours were gold-medal winners.

“Saho and Shogo easily surpassed the gold-medal mark,” said Yoko Cailotto, a staff member at the Lake Stevens Library.

Finding the Lake Stevens Library turned out to be a stroke of luck for the family that has been in Lake Stevens for less than a year after moving from Chicago.

“We had to leave behind most of our books,” Hiroko Yamashita said. “We were very excited to find the library here. (Saho and Shogo) like to read; they would rather read than do anything else.”

Ironically, it wasn’t books that first made them aware of the library.

“Saho saw a flyer for a Minecraft class I was teaching,” Cailotto said of the popular virtual-world video game. “Then, she got here and saw this is a library.”

That discovery turned into regular visits and, this past summer, the Explore Summer reading challenge.

“The reading logs helped me find more books and made me want to read more,” Saho said. “I’m still reading more than before, even though the logs are over.”

Shogo increased his reading pace, too, and both children are generally reading two to three books at a time. “I just pick the one that interests me most at the time,” Shogo said.

In school, both Saho and Shogo gravitate toward math as a favorite subject. Saho, says she likes graphing equations while 8-year-old Shogo, a third-grader at Sunnycrest Elementary, says he likes “times-ing.”

Saho said she does see differences between Chicago, Lake Stevens and Japan.

“School is very different,” she said. “In PE in Japan, they run a lot and there’s lots of testing. There are pools and everyone must take swimming lessons. Here, there are a lot of games.”

She said the weather is different, too. “Chicago has lots of snow and wind and the summer is short and hot,” she said. “Here, it is rainy and the summer is not hot.

The one thing that is the same no matter where they are is reading. While Saho finds it easier to read English and Shogo says reading Japanese goes a bit better for him, reading is the constant.

“We read as soon as we get up,” Shogo said. “If I’m bored, I read.”

Voter registration coming to libraries on Sept. 27

Originally published Sep. 20, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be doing its part on National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, Sept. 27, to help eligible residents get registered to vote in time for the Nov. 8 election.

“Sno-Isle Libraries is committed to building connected communities through civic engagement,” said Susan Hempstead, Strategic Relations Manager for the library district. “Our libraries are partnering with the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County to help ensure that everyone has a voice in the electoral process.  The choices we all make by voting matter to our communities.”

The League of Women Voters of Snohomish County is a local branch of the national organization. It is nonpartisan and dedicated to enabling voter registration, organizing candidate and issue forums and encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government.

“We’re very pleased to again be working with Sno-Isle Libraries to help more people become in knowledgeable about and involved with their government,” said Jody Trautwein, League Voter Service Chair.

On Sept. 27, League volunteers will assist with voter registration at nine libraries across the district.

  • Edmonds Library, 650 Main St., Edmonds 
  • Granite Falls Library, 815 E. Galena St., Granite Falls
  • Lynnwood Library, 19200 44th Ave W, Lynnwood
  • Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St., Marysville
  • Mill Creek Library, 15429 Bothell-Everett Hwy., Mill Creek 
  • Monroe Library, 1070 Village Way, Monroe 
  • Mountlake Terrace Library, 2330 58th Ave. W, Mountlake Terrace
  • Mukilteo Library, 4675 Harbour Point Blvd, Mukilteo
  • Snohomish Library, 311 Maple Ave., Snohomish

“National Voter Registration Day and this year’s partnership between the Sno-Isle Libraries and the Snohomish County League of Women Voters put the spotlight on the importance of registering to vote,” said Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel. “Today’s society represents, in part, the choices of yesterday’s voters.  Be part of shaping the future; register to vote today!”

To register to vote in Washington, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States 
  • A legal resident of Washington state and not claiming the right to vote in any other state
  • At least 18 years old by election day (Nov. 8, 2016) 
  • Not under the authority of the Department of Corrections 
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order

Registered voters who have recently changed addresses may also update their voter information to be ready to vote in November. 

For more information


Library and colleges offer help to displaced students

Originally published Sep. 14, 2016

(An article published Sept. 14, 2016 by Daily Herald writer Kari Bray contributed to this story) 

The sudden closure of ITT Technical Institute campuses across the nation has hundreds of now-former students in this region looking for options.

business class photo
Sean Callaghan teaches a class in how to start a home-based business on Sept. 12, 2016 at Coupeville Library. The class is part of a business class series hosted by Sno-Isle Libraries.

Everett Community College is hosting an information session aimed at ex-ITT Tech students from 4-6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15, at Gray Wolf Hall, Room 166, 2000 Tower St., in Everett. Parking is free for the session and more information is available online or by calling 425-388-9219. Edmonds Community College launched a webpage for stranded ITT students.

Sno-Isle Libraries also has classes and resources that may help displaced students gain the skills and knowledge they need to continue their education or find a new path to employment.

“Our eLearning page features several learning tools, including Microsoft Imagine Academy, and LearningExpress that can be accessed with a no-charge Sno-Isle Libraries card,” said Lead Librarian for Business Kassy Rodeheaver. “We also have online access to funding databases for individual grantseekers, including students searching for scholarship information.”

For those looking to add skills to start a business, this fall Rodeheaver launched a series of classes aimed at helping entrepreneurs move from the idea stage to being in business.

The classes are scheduled at 11 libraries in five areas, including:

Registration for these classes is required and available through the class listings in the online calendar.

“Some areas have more or fewer classes based on the classes each library chose to host,” Rodeheaver said. “However, anyone can attend any of the sessions. They are all free and open to the public.”

ITT Tech is a for-profit college that last week announced the nationwide closures due to sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education. The federal agency in August decided that it would no longer allow ITT to enroll new students who receive federal financial aid. The Washington Student Achievement Council also barred the school from receiving state aid.

Library draws crowd at Lynnwood’s ‘Fair on 44th’

Originally published Sep. 12, 2016

Bookmobile photo
"Fair on 44th" attendees get a look at a Sno-Isle Libraries Bookmobile on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Lynnwood. Photo gallery

The Lynnwood Library is on 44th Avenue in Lynnwood so when the city announced its “Fair on 44th,” there was some expectation of seeing more people than on a normal Saturday.

Based on turnout for the Sept. 10 inaugural event, it’s time to raise expectations.

“We were swamped,” said Anne Jones, staff member with Sno-Isle Libraries’ Library on Wheels program. “We had more than 500 people come through and we checked out 77 items. We had to go into the library to get more books!”

The event was billed as “Lynnwood's Health & Safety Community Block Party” and drew agencies and businesses from across Snohomish County.

Fair-goers could explore items such as fire trucks, ambulances, police and SWAT vehicles, vactor trucks, the CrimeStoppers Camaro, a National Guard Striker vehicle, Community Transit bus and tow trucks. A climbing wall from the National Guard was available as were free health screenings including mammograms, flu shots, glucose testing and blood-pressure checks.  The Lynnwood Police K-9 and motorcycle units put on demonstrations and firefighters showed how to put out a grease fire with a fire extinguisher.

Sno-Isle Libraries brought what is known internally as the cart hauler, a visual twin to the Bookmobile, but outfitted with carts that hold library materials and can be rolled into locations such as assisted-living facilities to provide services.

“We turned the cart hauler into more of a bookmobile for the day,” said Jones, who worked the event along with Library on Wheels Manager Sherry Stevens. “The children were amazed and the adults were saying, ‘I didn’t know they did bookmobiles anymore.’ People just loved it.”

In addition, staff members from the Lynnwood Library set up a booth right next door with hands-on activities for children and information for adults.

“We interacted with hundreds of families,” said Lynnwood Managing Librarian Michael Delury. “Kids really enjoyed making bookmarks and building with Magna-Tiles.  Parents talked with librarians Jocelyn Redel and Jen Sullivan about upcoming events at the library. 

“It was one of those opportunities to help build a greater sense of community.”

Julia Chamberlain, a regular library customer, said she and her husband enjoyed the event.

“Norm and I were at the street fair (on Saturday) and found the Sno-Isle Library System well represented,” Chamberlain wrote in an email to library staff. “Love the ‘books on wheels’ van! So bright, so modern! Such a fun little place to visit! Too, the library staff manning the children's play (area) were wonderful!”

According to city organizers, besides Sno-Isle Libraries, participants included: Washington National Guard, Snohomish County PUD, Puget Sound Energy, Fire District 1, CrimeStoppers, Community Transit, Sound Transit, Molina Healthcare, Swedish Breast Health Center, Virginia Mason, Visiting Nurses Association, Edmonds Family Clinic, Support Seven, Verdant Health, Access Shred Truck, Mary's Towing, Foundation for Edmonds School District, Umpqua Bank, Lynnwood Today, Experience Momentum, Taekwondo Way.

Bookmobile librarian was best job in 100 years

Originally published Sep. 8, 2016

(This story was published Aug. 31, 2016 in the Mukilteo Beacon)

By Sara Bruestle
Mukilteo Beacon

Dorothy Larson photo
Dorothy Larson turned 100 on Aug. 22, 2016.

Dorothy Larson’s birthday cake read in frosting: “A century in the making.”

Larson, of Mukilteo, celebrated her 100th birthday at American Legion Hall in Marysville on Aug. 20.

In a building as old as she, Larson celebrated with 150 family and friends. She blew out three candles on her cake this year – with the numbers 1-0-0.

“All I can say is that I feel that I am extremely fortunate to be as healthy as I am and to be able to wake up every morning and enjoy the day,” she said. “Every day is a blessing.”

Larson was born near Sexsmith in Canada on Aug. 22, 1916 – the same year that Blanche Fisher Wright published the book “The Real Mother Goose” of traditional nursery rhymes.

When she was 4, the family moved to Sexsmith, Alberta, so that her father could open his own doctor’s office. When her father died in 1927 at age 47, her mother supported the family by offering room and board to teachers.

“My father died when I was only 11 years old,” Larson said. “I thought my world had come apart. My mother was left to raise my brother and myself.”

Larson graduated from Sexsmith High School in 1933 and from the University of Alberta in 1938, earning a degree in education. She taught for 10 years at various schoolhouses in Alberta before she decided teaching wasn’t for her.

“I tried teaching in the local schools, but I decided it was not my cup of tea,” she said. “I really liked reading and books, and I learned to read early. I read every book in the town library. I thought, well, why don’t I pursue my passion?’”

In 1948, she moved to Everett to pursue a librarian degree from the University of Washington.

After graduation, Larson was hired as a bookmobile librarian for the Snohomish County Rural Library District. She loved her job because she loved to read. She worked for the library district for 20 years.

“It was the most interesting job I ever had,” Larson said. “I loved helping children, especially. It was very fulfilling to direct the children to good books on the bookmobile.”

Perhaps she even recommended that the children check out the book “The Real Mother Goose.”

That same year, Dorothy met her husband, Clarence Larson, on a blind date at the Elks Lodge in Everett. They married three years later, in 1951. Together they had two children; Patricia and Michael.

“I married an adorable American,” she said. “I fell right away.”

Larson retired in 1973 after working for 12 more years at the Everett School District’s main library.

In retirement, she and Clarence toured Canada and the United States for six months in a motorhome. Gasoline was then just 35 cents per gallon.

After Clarence died in 1990, Larson kept herself busy by traveling, playing bridge and Scrabble, reading books and even writing two of her own.

She wrote “Beyond the End of the Steel” (2004), which tells her grandparents’ story, and “Don’t We Have It Good!” (2012), which tells her parents’ story.

At 100, although she has lost most of her sight, she still enjoys Scrabble and books – she gets help playing the game and listens to audio books. She particularly likes books by doctors.

“She’s had a pioneer spirit her entire life,” said Michael Larson, her son. “She’s been kind of on her own, since my dad died, for 26 years now. She has maintained herself and enjoyed life.

“She doesn’t give up on things; she follows through on things. Even writing books. That was a lot of work, a labor of love for a number of years. It’s likely she would have done more if her vision [hadn’t gone].”

Though she has lived in Mukilteo since 1995, she also stays part time at her nephew’s house in Tulalip.

At her birthday party, friends and family showered her with gifts, even though the invitation asked them not to. One friend presented her with a $100 bill – one dollar for every year lived.

They traveled from Alberta, Wisconsin, California and Japan to wish her a happy birthday – and many more.

What’s her secret to longevity? She credits her good genes and positive outlook on life.

“I try to be more optimistic,” Larson said. “Each day is a blessing, and I’m fortunate to be able to enjoy it.”

Business resources take entrepreneur's 3D printing idea to next dimension

Originally published Sep. 7, 2016

Sam Hightower photo
Samuel Hightower holds two of the containers he makes using the 3D printers at "3D Buildtower," his kiosk-based business at the Everett Mall.

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Some people like to say they are “serial entrepreneurs.” They get an idea, create a business and then move on to the next idea.

Samuel Hightower’s brain is just too full of ideas to wait for one project to finish before starting another; call him a “simultaneous entrepreneur.”

“I just like doing things I’ve never done before,” the 27-year-old said, standing in the middle of the Everett Mall next to his kiosk, “3D Buildtower,” an on-demand, 3D-printing service which opened for business in late May. “I always wanted to make my own business, I just wasn’t sure what or how.”

That’s when he bumped into Kassy Rodeheaver, lead librarian for business at Sno-Isle Libraries.

“I met Kassy at a SnoCo Makers meeting,” Hightower said of the maker-space group headquartered on Casino Road in Everett. “Kassy showed me the market research and databases available at Sno-Isle Libraries. It helped form my business.”

Rodeheaver says that visit to SnoCo Makers was a first for her, too. “I’d heard about them and wanted to check them out,” said Rodeheaver, who has a focus on helping entrepreneurs.

For Hightower, that meant showing him just what was available for free through the library.

“We have market research that can identify trends in an industry,” Rodeheaver said. “There are databases, company profiles, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analyses and thousands of periodicals and news reports.”

Rodeheaver also referred Hightower to SCORE, the business mentoring service that now offers their services in four Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries.

“Every part of that web is important in terms of the business-support ecosystem,” Rodeheaver said. “And, they’re all available to everyone.”

That ecosystem helped Hightower launch his business.

“I now have two Leapfrog printers here and a scanner with two more printers at home,” he said. The printers use various kinds of plastic materials to print objects, anything from keyrings and business-card holders to cosplay masks and an arm.

An arm?

“A clothing manufacturer came by and wanted an arm to use as a model for some clothing,” Hightower said. “So, I used the handheld scanner, scanned the person’s arm and printed it in plastic, exactly the same size and shape as the real one.”

Hightower’s kiosk also has a sign, “3D artists wanted.”

“My training is in graphic design and art,” said Hightower, who came to the region from Minnesota in 2009, a two-year degree in hand. Once here, he enrolled at the Seattle Art Institute earned a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts degree.

“I want to bridge the gap between technology and art. Once I found what 3D printing can do, I felt so free to create,” he said. And he’s trying to bring that freedom, and business, to others, too. An artist can bring their file to Hightower and he’ll print and display it for sale in the mall.

“The artist gets most of the money, as they should. I keep enough for the material and small fee,” said Hightower, who also sells the printers he uses from The Netherlands-based company.

After doing the market research with Rodeheaver’s help, Hightower found that his mall-based business may be just one of a kind.

“There’s one at Mall of America (in Minnesota), but they scan your whole body and then print you in miniature,” he said. “My model is like a sign shop of 3D printing, which I did that, too, worked at a sign shop in Minnesota.”

Hightower brings all of his experiences together to make this business work, including the customer interaction: He was a member of the crew that opened the Microsoft store at University Village in Seattle.

“That was my first exposure to retail and I learned a lot there,” he said, adding that just getting the job was an education. “They had a job fair for all the finalists. There must have been 150 of us and all the other people were from Microsoft, watching us interact.”

It was while at the Microsoft store that Hightower says his interest in 3D printing began: “I became the local expert on 3D.”

The start-a-business bug bit in 2015.

“I jumped off the cliff,” Hightower said. “I let Microsoft go in August 2015. I was doing freelance web and design work and had this 3D idea. A buddy said, ‘Try the mall.’”

Hightower said he started talking to officials at Everett and Alderwood malls this past January and met Rodeheaver about the same time.

“I’ve had lots of help: Kassy, Kelly Gruol at SnoCo Makers; I got the (printers) from Kelly. And, I couldn’t do all this without the support of my grandparents,” he said. “As you would imagine, its 24-7 running a business.”

Yes, 24-7, but somehow Hightower finds time for other interests.

Hightower and his roommate are both halves of the duo, “Wombo Buxom.”

“We started playing music together and that became the group which became DJ’ing at clubs,” he said. According to their website, Wombo Buxom is “an audio visual design duo … (to) produce and DJ (electronic dance music) that will send you … to a place filled with hiphop and house drenched dance music.”

The duo perform at The Crocodile in Seattle and other venues in the area. The two worlds do overlap a bit, he said: “We wore the masks I printed, lit up with LED lights. It was a big hit.”

So what’s next?

“I like the technical aspect, the business side and the creative side. And, I’m interested in gaming,” he said. “I’m definitely juggling, but I have a high level of interest in creating whatever I can.”

Snohomish Library shows off new flooring and layout

Originally published Sep. 6, 2016

children at library photo
Children play in the children's area at the Snohomish Library on Sept. 6, 2016. Photo gallery

The Snohomish Library doors reopened at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 after being closed since Aug. 6 for a flooring project.

“Customers have been coming in waves all morning,” Managing Librarian Jude Anderson said on Sept. 6. “People are saying they really like the new carpet and flooring.”

Those sentiments were echoed by customer Alicia Percival, who was there with her two children and two of their friends and liked the new look. “We’ve been waiting for this day,” said the Lake Stevens-area resident. “This is our favorite library.”

The library was closed for a month for the project that replaced most of the flooring throughout the building. Some things got rearranged, during the closure, too.

Some material displays and furniture were moved, based on customer patterns. The media area was expanded and there is better browsing of reference and non-fiction materials, Anderson said. There are more quiet study areas now and power outlets have been added to more carrels.

The flooring work is part of ongoing maintenance and upgrades to the Snohomish facility in recent years. After energy efficiency upgrades in 2015, the building is using 17 percent less electricity and 70 percent less natural gas than in 2011.

Snohomish Library about to open with new carpet and layout

Originally published Sep. 1, 2016

Snohomish Library hours

Starting Sept. 6

  • Mon-Thu: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Fri-Sat: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sun: 1-5 p.m.

Note: All Snohomish Library services, including the meeting room mini-library, will be closed Sept. 2-5.

The Snohomish Library will re-open Tuesday, Sept. 6, following an extensive replacement of the flooring.

And Managing Librarian Jude Anderson says customers should be ready to be floored, too.

“We’ll be open and celebrating all day on Sept. 6, so come on over to the library,” Anderson said, Tuesday, Aug. 30. “The new carpeting looks just great, but we also took this month-long closure as an opportunity to rearrange some of our materials and services to give customers a better experience.”

While some of the shelving remained in place, other material displays and furniture have been moved. The adjustments are in response to the customer usage levels and patterns library staff were seeing.

“We have better browsing of reference and non-fiction materials,” Anderson said. Also, media materials such as CDs, DVDs and audiobooks get new, more accessible shelving and are now grouped with the appropriate age areas.

“Teen audiobooks are near the teen section; children’s music CDs are in the children’s section,” Anderson said.

The library also addressed carrels and study areas.

“We added quiet study areas to supplement the space available for groups,” Anderson said. “We’ve also added power access to study carrels for electronic devices.”

And, special attention was given to special collections.

“The international collection gets a high profile location and the classics collections is expanded to better meet high demand,” Anderson said.

While the library was closed, staff operated a mini-library out of the meeting room.

“That went very well,” Anderson said. “The mini-library was well-used and customers said they really appreciated the effort to keep some library services available.”

The flooring project that enabled all these changes went smoothly, said Brian Rush, facilities manager for Sno-Isle Libraries.

“The work went well and was actually ahead of schedule,” Rush said. “After 13 years of use in a public space, it was time to replace the carpet,” Rush said. The staff work area also had its hard floor replaced with hard tiles that are easy to replace but also more resistant to wear.

The flooring work is just part of ongoing maintenance and upgrades to the Snohomish facility in recent years. After energy efficiency upgrades in 2015, the building is using 17 percent less electricity and 70 percent less natural gas than in 2011.


Sno-Isle Libraries closed Sept. 5

Originally published Aug. 30, 2016

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, Sept. 5 for Labor Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Sept. 6. See locations & hours.

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

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