Saturday, February 28, 2009

Historic Murals: A Walk Along Bothell’s Past

Walk into the past in downtown Bothell. Just off Main Street, you can view a series of historic murals depicting Bothell’s early days. These large murals shows Bothell as a settlement in the late 1800s that was reached by river boats and horse-drawn wagons. In time, the railroad would connect Bothell with Seattle, and farming would begin to replace logging.

Bothell Mural: river boat (click for larger view)

The original Bothell historic murals were created in 1989 as part of the Washington Centennial project. The murals were painted on the side of a City building. However, after the building was destroyed, a group of artists banded together to re-create the murals. If you’re wondering why the murals lack a lot of color, it’s because the murals were painted in a sepia color scheme to match the old photographs that the murals were based on.

Bothell Mural: logging (click for larger view)

To View the Murals
You can view the murals at the 18100 block of 101st Ave NE in Bothell, WA. Click here to view the location using Google Street View. You can also view a slideshow of the murals on the Redmond Library's Photostream on flickr.

Redmond Library Board

Thursday, February 26, 2009

10 Books A Year, For 10 Years

image 42. No, it's not the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. (Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")

42 is the number of books I've currently read on the Modern Library's Top 100 Best Novels written in the English Language since 1900.

On December 24, 2002, I printed out The List to check off the books and I've been working through it since. My general reading philosophy is to alternate "literature" and "not literature" in my daily bus commute reading. I won't comment on the number one book, "Ulysses", except to write that it took a very, very long time to get through. I noticed that it aptly made an appearance on the most recent episode of Lost (Ben was reading it on the plane).

I have experienced other wonderful, couldn't-put-down books that I'm certain I would have never read had I not been working through The List. A few of my favorites so far:

  • "Henderson The Rain King" by Saul Bellow,
  • "Under The Volcano" by Malcolm Lowry,
  • And forget what you think you know about "Lolita" if you haven't read Vladimir Nabokov's novel.

Despite the criticism The List received when published back in 1998 due to its lack of diversity in books by women and people of color (and also setting aside the fact that many of the books listed were published by the Modern Library. . .), it certainly served a useful purpose in introducing me to (mostly) enjoyable and interesting books written throughout recent history.

I've made it my goal to complete the list by December 24, 2012, only 48 more to go!


(There are two Lists - one put together by "The Board" and the other voted on by "The Reader". Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide" didn't make The Board, but it did make The Reader.)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiring Art: Student Artwork on Display at Redmond Library

Artwork from Rose Hill Elementary students is now on display through February at the Redmond Library. The artwork is the result of an Inspiring Art: Redmond Library showcase art appreciation initiative funded by the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, which has funded this effort for the past three years.

Chris Banks, a local artist and para-educator, has developed a series of lessons based on classic works of art. Each lesson focuses on key elements of art, such as color, line, pattern, shape, and texture. His work at Rose Hill Elementary has inspired his students to create this remarkable collection of art.

Student Artwork
One of the student art sessions focused on Impressionist art, especially the landscapes of Claude Monet. The following art was created using watercolor and dry pastels on rag paper:

Inspiring Art: Monet study

Students are encouraged to create art based on their own individual interpretations. The result is a very personal expression of art:

Inspiring Art: student creating art

One 6th grade student that Chris Banks has worked with since 2nd grade based her art on the work of Mark Chagall, using watercolors and charcoal on paper. “This is a remarkable drawing and painting, and shows how much she has grown in her abilities. It is based, as Chagall’s work was, on personal history and culture, hence her ‘Aztec’ roots are reflected.”

Inspiring Art: Chagall study

For more images of student artwork, see Newest Student Artwork on Chris’ myspace site.

About Chris Banks
Chris Banks, an artist by training, came to Rose Hill Elementary as an art docent in 2003. This was a major change from a career in the publishing business. He first conducted art classes with 2nd graders and Special Education students in 2003-04, and again in 2004-05. In 2004 he joined the staff of Rose Hill as a para-educator, helping students attain their basic educational objectives (reading, writing, mathematics). He is now in his sixth year at the school.

In the following photo, Chris shows brush technique to a 5th grade student:

Inspiring Art: Chris showing brush technique

Chris’s art is influenced by the natural world and its forms. “This one was inspired by a visit to the Palm Desert in California last year. I was so moved that when I returned home, I planted palm trees in my yard.”

Inspiring Art: Palm Desert Sunset

Chris has also been inspired by his foreign travels, such as his trip to China that included a visit to see the Terracotta Army figurines in Xi’an. About his painting entitled Imperial Guard, he says, “There’s a degree of unfinished-ness about it, intentionally so.”

Inspiring Art: Imperial Guard

For more info on Chris Banks and his art, see his myspace site, El Viejo.

Redmond Library Board

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Engage: Redmond Library 2009 Community Study

Every year KCLS selects several of its member libraries to provide an an in-depth study of its community library service area. The study provides details about the community’s history and demographics. The study also provides recommendations for improved library services.

Redmond Library 2009 Community Study Members of the Redmond Library staff, Debra Westwood (Cluster Manager) and Chris Livingston (Site Manager), presented the Redmond Library 2009 Community Study to the KCLS Library Board of Trustees on January 27, 2009. The theme of this study is Engage. You can find on online version of this document at Redmond Regional Library 2009 Community Study.

The current population of the City of Redmond, 51,320. Redmond continues to draw young families due to the relatively strong job market and available housing. The largest demographic is between 25 and 54 years of age, both single, single with children, couples and couples with children. The median age is 35.

Redmond Library Community Study: population by age

What perhaps is unique about Redmond is the influx of immigrants who come from all over the world to work in the high-tech industry, often bringing their families with them, including parents. Redmond Library 2009 Community Study There are also numerous Spanish-speakers who are attracted to the library’s many programs and services. The library has proved to be a natural gathering place — a neutral, welcoming oasis that, at times, appears to be a miniature United Nations.

Library Services
The Redmond Library is the second busiest KCLS library after Bellevue. The library has a collection of about 188,000 items and circulates more than a million items a year. More than 500,000 people visit the library annually. There are about 60,000 adult patrons and 10,000 minors registered to the Redmond Library, but the library attracts patrons from all over King County, including residents of Seattle who work in Redmond.

Summer Reading Program: Catch the Reading Bug Children are an important audience for the services of the Redmond Regional Library. The children’s librarians provide services and school visits to 15 schools in the Redmond Regional Library’s service area. Many families from several neighboring schools, not in our service area, visit and use the Redmond Regional Library regularly. This is reflected in program participation. Of all KCLS member libraries, Redmond has the highest number of participants in Ready, Set, Read and the second highest number of sign-ups for the Summer Reading Program, with more than 2,500 children in 2008.

For information on other current library services and recommendations for improved library services, see the full report at Redmond Regional Library 2009 Community Study.

Other Blog Postings on Community Studies
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on community studies:

Communities Count 2008: Social & Health Indicators Across King County
Sound Transit’s Plans for Redmond
City of Redmond: Pedestrian Program Plan
Redmond Community Indicators 2008

Redmond Library Board

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nintendo's New Office Building in Redmond

Nintendo is constructing a new office building complex at 4500 150th Ave NE in Redmond. The new building is 275,250 sq. ft with 820 parking stalls, and includes offices, an auditorium, a cafeteria, and exercise facility. To make room for the new building, six existing building (163,500 sq. ft.) have been demolished.

Nintendo construction

The following map shows the construction site — the area overlaid in yellow is the site of the new building. The building overlaid in red will be demolished once the new building is completed:

Nintendo building site

Other Blog Postings on Construction
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on construction:

A New Bridge for Redmond: The NE 36th Street Overpass
Microsoft Building 83 under Construction

Redmond Library Board

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Your House on Google Street View?

Your house may now be part of the images used in Google Street View, which is a feature of Google Maps. Street View provides 360° panoramic views of streets taken at ground level. When it was launched on May 25, 2007, only five American cities were included. Now, Street View has expanded to thousands of locations, including the Eastside cities of Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland.

Judging from the new construction of houses on NE 51st St, the Redmond photos in Street View were taken in Summer 2008.

Google Street View: Houses on NE 51st St. in Redmond

How to Use Street View
Go to Google Maps, and enter an address, such as the one for the El Toreador restaurant in downtown Redmond:

Google Maps: search box

Next, click the Search Maps button. The following popup dialog box appears:

Google Street View: location dialog

To view the map location as a Street View, click the Street view link below the photo in the popup dialog box. This causes Google Maps to switch to Street View mode, and the photo for the location is displayed. It’s the view you’d see if you were standing across the street from the restaurant:

Google Street View: El Toreador restaurant

Once you are in Street View mode, you can use the navigation controls that appear in the upper left of the photo. These controls allow you to turn around and look slightly up and down:

Google Street View: navigation controls
Google Street View: navigation arrowYou can also use the large white arrows on the photo to move along the street. When you click on an arrow, you reset the GPS location and the corresponding photo for the location is displayed. At intersections, additional arrows are displayed, which allow you to move in any direction along a street that is part of Street View.

Lastly, you can change the Street View location by dragging and dropping the orange figure in the lower right of the photo. Only streets outlined in blue are valid Street View locations:

Google Street View: changing the location

Street View Locations in Washington
The following locations are some of the cities and surrounding areas in Washington that have been added to Street View: Bremerton, Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver.

BTW, uses Google Street View for its property listing photos — this is how I found out that Redmond had been added to Street View.

Click on the following links to view some interesting Street View locations in Washington state:
Redmond City Hall
Redmond Town Center
Microsoft Redmond Campus
Bellevue Square
I-90 Bridge
Volunteer Park, Seattle
Pike Place Public Market, Seattle
Fremont Bridge, Seattle
Union Station, Tacoma
Riverfront Park, Spokane

How Street View is Created
To create the Street View experience, Google combines mapping data with photographic imagery collected by specialized data acquisition companies. To capture the 360° imagery, vehicles crisscross the streets of the target city with multiple-lens cameras mounted on their roofs. These rapid-fire cameras take thousands of high-resolution images per minute. By correlating the imagery data with GPS information, Google stitches together complete panoramic scenes that become Street View.

Google Street View: multiple-lens camera mounted on vehicle

Other Blog Postings on Maps
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on maps:
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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Libraries: Not Just for Books, Part V

The following is the fifth part in a five part series on services offered at the library that most people might not think about when they think of their local library (or librarian!)

The final part in this series focuses on the best "thing" you can find at the library: a sense of Community. Fortunately, Community can be something kept, not simply borrowed.

The King County Library System's "Many Voices, One Land" programs exemplify the emphasis on Community. Redmond is a wonderfully diverse city with many opportunities to explore the world in our very own backyard. In addition to posting relevant book lists on a regular basis, live performances celebrate our culturally interesting Community.

An upcoming March 15th program entitled "The Barber's Wife" is an "adaptation of a familiar folktale from India [that] tells the amusing story of Sandhar, who receives a small plot of land from the prince of the village and the way his clever wife tricks a couple of thieves."

Other library branches will host topics as diverse as Cuban folk music, traditional African dance and songs from a family that lives in a yurt.

King County Library SystemThe King County Library System's motto couldn't ring more true: "Turn to us. The choices will surprise you."


Monday, February 2, 2009

Libraries: Not Just for Books, Part IV

The following is the fourth part in a five part series on services offered at the library that most people might not think about when they think of their local library (or librarian!)

What do Chopin, T Bone Burnett, and Twilight (the motion picture soundtrack) have in common? They are available for Music CDborrow from the King County Library System. In addition to traditional formats, like CDs, some music titles are available for download for a limited period of time.

Audio collections range from the latest Top 40 offerings to world music to choral performances. In partnership with KPLU, the system also brings the best in high school jazz for western Washington.

Smithsonian Global Sound Your library account also allows you to access to the Smithsonian Global Sound collection. Listening to music from all over the world and eras of time, plus recordings from W.E.B. Du Bois, Margaret Mead, and Sir Edmund Hillary can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Purchases from this collection continue to support the collection's mission.

More information about the Library's music collection can be accessed on the King County Library System's website.