Monday, December 28, 2009

Newest Library Patron

Bellevue Library My husband took the KCLS plunge!  On Saturday, we visited the Bellevue branch so that he could get his first KCLS library card and check out a book on WWII.  He was the fifth person that hour to sign up for a card.

(Sorry Redmond, I would have loved to have him visit our home library, but you didn’t have the book he wanted on the shelf like Bellevue did.  Since he needed a card, we needed to visit the branch in person. But now he can place holds onlineRedmond Library to pick up future picks in Redmond. Note to other board members: please forgive me for bumping up a rival branch’s statistics as I checked out a few books while we were there too!)

While my husband is an avid reader of all things online, “traditional” novels have never been something we’ve held in common. Fortunately, we have a lot of other things we both like to keep the conversation going: music, bowling, and baseball to name a few.  And, at the end of the day, though the library has an amazing amount of other offerings, I still mostly use the library to check out novels.

I’m excited to introduce him to all of the other services the library has to offer. . . particularly the online offerings that are so abundant through the KCLS website.

p.s. It turns out he’s primarily interested in nonfiction history books,  a genre I don’t generally go near.  So, it looks like we still won’t be talking books anytime soon!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Books of 2009

As the year comes to a close, take a moment to review the  King County Library System’s Best Books of 2009. The books on this list can also make great (very) last minute holiday gifts! Compiled by the Material Selection Team, the list covers six categories:
  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction
  • Teen Books
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Children’s Nonfiction
  • Children’s Picture Books
  • Fireworks

    Sweetness Sadly, I’ve only read one of the books on this list, Alan Bradley’s “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, as it was also a Maiden Voyage selection through Elliot Bay Books. (This program also makes a great “last minute” holiday gift!)  “Sweetness” is a delightful book that I would have also loved as a teen girl.  I can’t wait to read the upcoming Flavia de Luce mysteries!

    Lists from 2007 and 2008 are also available.

    *Sigh* So many books, so little time!


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Redmond Digital Arts Festival: High Tech Meets High Touch

    Redmond Digital ArtsThe Redmond Arts Commission welcomes you to the 2nd Digital Arts Festival, beginning with special events in December 2009 and featuring workshops and presentations on January 15 and 16, 2010. Here are some of the free featured events:

    Motion Capture Open Studio 
    January 16th 10:00am-3:00pm  (free) 
    Ever dream of being like those Hollywood actors that get their movement captured onto a CG character? Well, now’s your chance! Come to Digital Double motion capture studio and experience this first hand as you jump, kick, or dance as a cute bear, sumo warrior, or even a character of your choice.

    Here's a Digital Double video that shows the process of motion capture:

    Digital Double motion capture studio is located at 15814 Bear Creek Parkway.

    Spontaneous Fantasia 
    January 16th 7:00pm  (free) 
    J-Walt performs a solo show of his own images and music, drawing virtual landscapes and geometric abstractions with software and computer interfaces he designed. The audience watches as J-Walt draws with a pen tablet and animates creatures and environments. Always pushing the envelope, J-Walt has made his show even more high-tech, immersing audiences into state-of-the-art digital fulldome and 3D stereo. The pieces are highly improvisational — each performance is unique.

    Redmond Digital Arts: J-Walt's Spontaneous Fantasia The performance is at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.

    Animation Through the Ages 
    January 15th 7:00pm  (free) 
    From feature films such as Pixar's "Up" to television shows such as Comedy Central's "South Park", the use of animation continues to grow and evolve. Digital technology now plays a significant part in how such labor intensive productions are created yet there are many core elements that stand the test of time. As part of Redmond's Digital Arts Festival event, DigiPen Institute of Technology will be hosting a panel discussion with animation industry experts on how the industry has evolved and what audiences can expect to see in the near future. Come join the discussion and learn more about this fascinating field!

    Redmond Digital Arts: Animation Through the Ages

    The event is at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.

    For info on all of the events, see Redmond Digital Arts Festival.

    Redmond Library Board

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Balloons Aglow: The Brightest of the Redmond Lights

    One of the most spectacular events of Redmond Lights 2009 was the lighting of the hot air balloons next to Redmond Town Center. Three brightly colored balloons from the Airial Balloon Company in Snohomish created a spectacular light show!

    Click for larger view of Redmond Lights balloon glow

    The three balloons would alternately fire up their burners for a 5-10 second blast. What a dazzling display of color against the dark of night!

    Click for larger view of Redmond Lights balloon glow

    Hopefully, the balloons will be back next year.

    Redmond Library Board

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    A Streetside View of Redmond

    You can now see a street-level view of downtown Redmond using the new version of Bing Maps. While you might have used the bird's eye views in Bing Maps, the new beta version provides a ground-level, or Streetside, view. Here’s a Streetside view of the Redmond Library:

    Bing Maps: Streetview of  Redmond Library

    Bing Maps: Streetside blue man iconTo access the Streetside feature in Bing Maps, click on the Blue Man icon at the lower part of the map screen. If the feature is available for the map area, you can drag the man to a location on the map, and the map converts to a street-level view of the location. Once in Streetside mode, you can explore the location around you by using your mouse and the Streetside controls to change your location and viewing perspective.

    This new mapping technology is built on Microsoft's Silverlight, which provides smooth scrolling for panning, as well as zooming in and out of locations. You will be prompted to install Silverlight if it hasn’t already been installed.

    A growing number of U.S. locations are gaining Streetside capability international locations will be available in the future. Here’s a Streetside view of the Fremont Troll in Seattle:

    Bing Maps: Streetside view of the Fremont Troll

    Photosynth images are also a key feature of Bing Maps. In simple terms, the Photosynth Web application allows you to take a collection of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.

    Here’s a photosynth of the climbing structure in Redmond’s Marymoor Park.

    Photosynth: Marymoor Park climbing structure in Redmond You can find out more about photosynths, including creating ones yourself, at Here’s one of more popular photosynths Isa Khan Niyazi's Tomb in Delhi, India:

    Photosynth: Isa Khan Niyazi Tomb in Delhi

    Isa Khan Niyazi was an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri's court of Sur dynasty, who fought against the Mughals. This tomb was built in 1547, during his own lifetime, and later served as the burial place for the entire family of Isa Khan.

    Other Blog Postings on Maps
    Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on maps:
    Is Your House on Google Street View?
    Maps for the City of Redmond
    Redmond Town Center: A View from Virtual Earth 3D
    Exploring the Skies with the WorldWide Telescope
    A bird's eye view of Redmond High School

    Redmond Library Board

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Green Holidays: Tips on D-ECO-rating

    Click for Green Holidays Web site Festive doesn’t have to mean wasteful. Green can be your holiday color as well as your way of life. This year the King County EcoConsumer team has expanded their Green Holidays resources to offer new and innovative ideas to green up your celebrations. Here are some of their suggestions:

    Eco-tastic Holiday Decor
    Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) or solar-powered lights add a sleek look to your holiday decorations,Green Holidays: LED lights and may save you $30 or more on your winter electric bill. Make sure your cut tree gets composted and turned into mulch after the holidays. Consider a living tree. These potted Christmas trees, available at many nurseries, are usually smaller than cut trees.

    Wrap It Up, Sent It Out
    Green Holidays: wrapping paper Wrap presents in old calendars, maps, posters, sheet music, wallpaper scraps, kids’ drawings or the Sunday color comics section of the newspaper. Consider wrapping a kitchen gift in a kitchen towel to make the packaging part of the present.

    Give It Up 
    Draw names for family giving so everyone just gives one personGreen Holidays: gift exchange a gift instead of buying for everyone. Nearly every family who switches to this method loves it! Pick a friend who you know will be receptive, and agree not to exchange gifts. Go out for dinner or drinks instead. If you're not sure what to give someone, gift cards can be a greener gift rather than just taking a wild guess at what they want. The recipient gets exactly what they desire, which usually reduces waste.

    Redmond Library Board

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Kirkland Library Re-Opens December 5th!

    The King County Library System has nearly completed the 4,500 foot expansion of the Kirkland branch.  This renovation project increases the library size by nearly 30% and accommodates new conference/meeting rooms, study rooms, materials, and computers. Additional space for children and teens as well as wireless access were also included in the project.

    Kirkland Construction

    A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will be presented on Saturday, December 5th at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be provided. Once the doors are open, the public has their full-service Kirkland library again after nearly a year of closure. (Note:  The temporary location in Parkplace Books will close on 5 p.m. Thursday, December 3rd.)

    Kirkland Construction

    The Kirkland library expansion is part of KCLS’ Capital Improvement Plan – funded by the voter-approved capital bond in September 2004.  This bond also funded the Redmond branch’s refresh in December 2008-January 2009.

    For those Kirkland patrons that temporarily used the Redmond branch’s amenities – we hope you enjoyed your time in Redmond and congratulate you on your expanded library site!


    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Washington’s Lighthouses: Point No Point

    The Point No Point Lighthouse, built in 1879, is considered to be the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. A visit to the lighthouse and the surrounding beach park makes for a great day trip. For info on lighthouse tours, see Friends of Point No Point Lighthouse.

    Point No Point Lighthouse
    The lighthouse is located on the northeast point of the Kitsap Peninsula and overlooks the main shipping lane in Puget Sound.

    Point No Point: shipping lane
    The lighthouse is part of the 61-acre Point No Point Park, which includes a half-mile accessible shoreline. Along the sandy beach, you can find all sorts of washed up items, including logging debris.

    Point No Point: log washed up on the beach
    On your way to Point No Point Park you might want to stop and take a look at the unique architecture of the boat house on NE Point No Point Road. The house is the actual bridge of a U.S. naval ship, the M/V Jupiter Inlet.

    Point No Point: tug boat house
    History of Point No Point
    From the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula, a low sand spit extends east for over a quarter of a mile into the waters where Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound come together. In 1841, Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition approached the spit thinking it was a substantial point. On finding that it was much smaller than he had expected, Wilkes named the spit Point No Point.

    Click to display full map
    Previously, Native Americans had given the point a more descriptive name - Hahd-skus, meaning long nose. The Point No Point Treaty was signed on the spit in 1855 by Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens and leaders of the Chimacum, Skokomish and S'Klallam tribes.

    Point No Point: treaty marker
    Renting Out the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage
    With the cooperation of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, Kitsap County Parks, and thePoint No Point: vacation rental Friends of Point No Point, the historic lighthouse keeper's home is available as a vacation rental. Come and experience the century-old history this unique property has to offer by spending time as keepers of the light. However, unlike the lighthouse keepers of days gone by, you won’t have any bothersome lighthouse duties to attend to! For more info, see Vacation at the Point No Point Lighthouse.

    Redmond Library Board

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Microsoft Commons: It’s a Mall World After All

    In April 2009, Microsoft opened The Commons on its new Redmond campus near Highway 520 and NE 40th St. The commons is a complex of restaurants, shops, soccer field, and meeting areas. It’s a popular lunch-time venue for Microsoft employees and their guests.

    Microsoft Commons
    Microsoft Commons: restaurants The centerpiece of the commons is The Mixer, a two-story building that includes a spinoff of Pike Place Market. In fact, many of the food vendors are local favorites, such as Mayuri, Typhoon, and Acapulco Fresh.

    Microsoft Commons: Post Alley Cafee
    The Mixer contains large sections of restaurant-style seating. Colorful decor and artwork add to the overall stylish effect.

    Microsoft Commons: seating areas
    This 106,000-square-foot building also includes a credit union, a post office, several cellular phone providers, and even a sports shop that sells bicycles and snowboards.

    Microsoft Commons: Ski and Sport shop
    The Gallery 
    The Gallery is located in the Submixer, a companion building to The Mixer. The current exhibit is entitled, “Through the Lens: 23 years of Collecting Photography”, and contains photographs from the Microsoft Art Collection.

    Microsoft Commons: The Gallery
    The Microsoft Art Collection includes almost 5,000 works of art and is displayed in more than 180 buildings throughout the world. The collection emphasizes contemporary art from around the world, displayed for the benefit and enjoyment of Microsoft employees, their guests, and Microsoft customers. The Microsoft Art Collection includes painting, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, ceramics, studio glass, and multimedia works. For more information on Redmond-area events, such as the Artist Lecture Series and Film Series, see Microsoft Art Collection.

    Is The Commons open to the public?
    No. The Commons restaurants, retail outlets and services are solely for Microsoft employees, vendors and Microsoft sponsored events. Microsoft employees may bring guests to the campus and The Commons, but all Microsoft badge security requirements apply. Guests will be required to register and obtain a name badge available at The Commons and any building receptionist.

    Other Blog Postings on Microsoft Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on Microsoft:
    Microsoft Lincoln Square: A Lunchroom with a View
    The Microsoft Visitor Center: An Interactive Experience
    A New Bridge for Redmond: The NE 36th Street Overpass
    Redmond Town Center: A View from Virtual Earth 3D
    Exploring the Skies with the WorldWide Telescope

    Redmond Library Board

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Just In Time For The Holidays. . .

    The King County Library System’s little helper – LibraryElf, assists patrons in keeping track of their library materials!


    Designed for families or individuals with accounts to more than one system, LibraryElf allows patrons a 3 month view of holds, dues, and overdues from multiple library accounts.  Notices are available by text, email, or RSS.

    KCLS is a subscriber to LibraryElf so that all patrons have access to premium services at no additional cost. For more information, including directions on how to sign up for the service, visit the KCLS website.


    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Take Winter by Storm

    Take Winter By Storm: downed trees As the windstorm season approaches, Puget Sound Energy urges residents to get prepared and exercise caution and common sense when encountering downed power lines.

    As part of Take Winter by Storm campaign, PSE has created a Web site ( that provides information about how to prepare for bad weather and what to do when storms come our way.

    December 2006 Windstorm
    Many of you may remember the record-breaking windstorm that hit the Pacific Northwest in mid-December 2006. Here are some facts about that windstorm:

       bullet_square Strongest windstorm since January 1993
       bullet_square Wind gusts of 70 mph, according to official record
       bullet_square Local gusts estimated at more than 80 mph (100+ mph in the Cascades)
       bullet_square 1.5 million customers served by Northwest utilities lost power
       bullet_square 700,000 homes and businesses served by PSE lost power
       bullet_square Governor Christine Gregoire requested federal disaster aid for 19 counties

    Emergency Preparedness
    PSE: shutting off gas procedureOne of the ways you can better prepare for a windstorm or other emergency is to know the shut-off procedure for natural gas service. You can find the steps to take for shutting off both natural gas and electricity at the Emergency Preparedness section of the PSE Web site.

    The Take Winter by Storm Web site also provides a Winter Preparation Check List that you can use to build an emergency kit of essentials, as well as a plan for action in the event of an emergency.

    Redmond Library Board