Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Get Trained on Excel for Free!

I try to help folks with job hunting and resume updating, and there are times when people ask me what a good job skill to learn is.  I usually have a range of ideas based on the jobs they're hunting for.  Now, I've mostly worked with accounting, finance, audit or IT background folks, but one common trait I found was that they needed help with Microsoft Excel, which ends up being part of my advice for folks asking about job skills.  

It works great as a spreadsheet, but people use (or at least try to use) it as more.  The data is used for analytics, creating dashboards, performing complex calculations, performing simple calculations, and the list goes on.  There are times when people create formulas in their spreadsheets, and then leave a company, leaving the new person stumped as to exactly what's happening within the spreadsheet.

I have been called an Excel guru occasionally, though I am far from it, but what I've realized is, as corny as it sounds, that knowledge is power.  Understanding the basics of Excel, and being able to build upon them makes someone a 'go to' person when people need help.  It enhances your skill set and at the same time, you can show off your skills, train new people and grow.

While there are other programs that are similar to Excel out there, I think, for the time being, getting trained up in it would be invaluable.  The reason I bring this up is because there are a couple of free classes available at the Redmond Library this month, of varying levels.  If you have the chance, I'd highly recommend you attend one, or all of them, even if its to brush up on Excel.

Redmond Library Computer Class - Microsoft Excel Courses and Times

  • Level 1 - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Level 2 - Wednesday, January 21, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Level 2 - Wednesday, January 22, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Level 3 - Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Level 3 - Wednesday, January 29, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
For more information and to register, go to KCLS Calendar of classes and programs and search for 'Excel' under keywords.

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How about a Fresh Start?

Are you in grades K-12?  Have you accidentally forgotten to return an item to the library?  It happens, a busy school schedule with piling homework makes returning an item to the library be the last priority on your checklist.  Unfortunately that leads to fines here and there and before you know it, your library card is blocked.  With the new year approaching, maybe it's time to get a Fresh Start!

KCLS offers eligible participants to get a one time waiver and start using the library again.  That means up to $25 in fines can be forgiven on an existing KCLS card!

How do you know you're eligible?  Check out the Fresh Start page on KCLS and see if you can waive your fines.

Now you can go back to borrowing to your heart's content!


Friday, October 31, 2014

An Unexpected Tour

I had a chance to visit Chicago, the Windy City, a couple months back.  It was a short trip and I didn't get a chance to really prepare for the trip.  Once I landed, I decided to walk around and admire the architecture the city had to provide.  I came across an older building with the words "Public Library of the City of Chicago" etched into the side.

-You can barely see the etching in this picture-

I didn't want to miss this opportunity on seeing a new library in a new city and decided to hop across the street.   

 -Just waiting for the light to change so I can cross the street-

As I entered through the entrance, I was surrounded by tiled and marbled walls.  It was breathtakingly beautiful and I had to take a moment to soak it all in.

I noticed some quotes on the wall within the tile.  Lots of inspiring quotes etched into the walls.

Strangely enough, I started noticing that there were no books in the library I was taking pictures of.  As it turns out, I was actually not in the library!  It was actually the cultural center located within the building.  Talk about feeling embarrassed as I had not noticed until I reached the top floor.  I guess the beauty of the tile and marble had thrown me for a loop.

Ultimately, while it wasn't the library like I thought it would be, it was still a fun little unexpected tour of something I would have just walked by.  So just a little lesson, if you see something interesting, head to it, give it a shot.  If it ends up being something you were not expecting, then even better.  Take in the experience. :-)

  - James

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Spanish Literature Reading Circle

I've always been fascinated by languages in general.  There are so many beautiful ways of saying or communicating the same message to someone.  I've attempted speaking a variety of languages, and will continue to do so.  One thing I've learned is that a key thing with learning a language is immersion.  To listen and speak with others in the language you are trying to learn.

For those of you interested in Spanish, there is an interesting opportunity to immerse yourself, just even for a little bit, at the Redmond Library to talk about Love in Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Local author Nora GirĂ³n-Dolce will be hosting a Spanish language reading group (the first ever!) this Friday, September 5 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

If you can attend, I'd highly recommend you check out the first ever Spanish language reading group!

- James

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Washington Rural Heritage Collections

Washington Rural HeritageThe Washington Rural Heritage project provides access to images and documents that capture the culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the Washington State Library.

Here are several photos from the collection:

The town pumpTwo women stand at the public water pump in Langley during the 1920s. The pump served both people and horses, and was a popular meeting place for the community.

Horse drawn rail cart on Whidbey IslandLogging was widespread on Whidbey Island in the 19th century. Here, a horse drawn rail cart pulls timber at the Calligan Logging Camp in 1887.

Dorothy Looney, trick riderDorothy Looney, born in Kittitas County in 1927, developed a love of horses and riding early in her life. During the 1940s, she became one of best female trick riders in the Northwest.

Lorin Catudio 
Redmond Library Board, Emeritus

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Books That Shaped America

Books That Shaped America
Books That Shaped America is one of the most intriguing online exhibits in the Library of Congress. The books listed here span 2½ centuries of American history.

These books have had a profound effect on American life, but they are by no means the only influential ones. And they are certainly not a list of the “best” American books. Curators and experts from throughout the Library of Congress contributed their choices, but there was much debate—even agony—in having to remove worthy titles from a much larger list.

Here are some of the books listed for the time period 1950-2000:

E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
Charlottes WebAccording to Publishers Weekly, Charlotte’s Web is the best-selling paperback for children of all time. The likely reason is that it is just as enjoyable for adults to read as children. This story line centers on a clever and compassionate spider and her scheme to save the life of Wilber the pig. It is especially notable for the way it treats death as a natural and inevitable part of life.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

Atlas ShruggedAlthough mainstream critics reacted poorly to Atlas Shrugged it was a popular success. Set in what novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand called “the day after tomorrow,” the book depicts a United States caught up in a crisis caused by a corrupt establishment of government regulators and business interests. The book’s negative view of government and its support of unimpeded capitalism as the highest moral objective have influenced libertarians and those who advocate less government.

Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
The Feminine MystiqueBy debunking the “feminine mystique” that middle-class women were happy and fulfilled as housewives and mothers, Betty Friedan inspired the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Friedan advocates that women need meaningful work and encourages them to avoid the trap of the feminine mystique by pursuing education and careers. By 2000 the Feminine Mystique had sold three million copies and was translated into several languages.

Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
The Autobiography Of Malcolm XWhen The Autobiography of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) was published, the New York Times called it a “brilliant, painful, important book,” and it has become a classic American autobiography. Written in collaboration with Alex Haley (author of Roots), the book expressed for many African Americans what the mainstream civil rights movement did not: their anger and frustration with the intractability of racial injustice. In 1998, Time magazine listed The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of ten required reading nonfiction books.

What other books do you think are on this list? Find out at Books That Shaped America.

Lorin Catudio 
Redmond Library Board, Emeritus

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer (of Learning) is Here!

Growing up, reading was always the best way to let my imagination go wild.  While living in a military installation overseas, there normally wasn't much to do during the summer time, but there was always the good old library to visit.  We had a summer assignment of sorts, where we had a bingo card, with each square containing the name of a book.  The goal, of course, was to read through as many books as possible to get as many bingos as possible.

I don't really recall what the prizes were but I know that there were definitely no Tablets or iPads or anything of the sort at the time.  Maybe a cup that had a little label that had "Reading is Fun" along the side or something along those lines.  Still, it was a great program, and I had a chance to explore the center of the Earth or fight evil space men alongside my hero in an adventurous battle to save the world.

And now with the sun slowly starting to peek through the clouds, comes summer, and with it, the Summer of Learning at KCLS!

I didn't really grow up with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and contrary to my current career, I was actually more interested in arts, crafts and languages.  If STEM was a big thing at the time, I'm sure I would have fallen into Science and Technology but alas it wasn't something available for myself.  Which is why I find it so exciting to see KCLS offering Programs that not only hit Reading and Art but also STEM.

Here are just some of the ones that I find interesting, though they aren't in Redmond unfortunately:

Bubbles, Volcanoes and Rocket Balloons Workshop
Presented by Debbie Hansen, The Science Lady.
Ages 3 to 5. or Ages 5 to 7.

Discover scientific laws through fun experiments including rocket balloons, effervescent bubbles, a baking soda volcano and dancing raisins.
Dates & Locations

Presented by Thomas Pruiksma.
Ages 8 to 12
Discover secrets about numbers and learn to do mathemagic (math + magic) tricks to amaze your friends and family in this workshop.

Dates & Locations 

Hands-on Bunraku Puppet Manipulation Workshop
Presented by: Thistle Theatre.
Ages 8 to 12.
Discover Bunraku puppetry, a traditional Japanese art for hundreds of years. A brief history, mechanics and demonstration of the Japanese art form is included.

Dates & Locations

Candy Experiments Show
Presented by Loralee Leavitt.
Ages 5 and older.
The author of Candy Experiments demonstrates that candy is more than a sugary snack. It can be an amazing science experiment! 

Dates & Locations
Candy Experiments Workshop
Presented by Loralee Leavitt.
Ages 8 to 12.
The author of Candy Experiments leads a workshop with stirring, squashing and sinking candy. Become a candy scientist!
Dates & Locations

Of course, there's several more you can find at the Summer of Learning page on the KCLS site!

For children who participate in the Summer of Learning, there is quite the prize.  Go on to the Summer of Learning page to see the details! 

- James