Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #8, #9, and #10: Black Diamond, Maple Valley, and Covington Libraries

Trip number 5 was another stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest day.  Lorin must be our good luck sunshine man as on both trips with him so far we’ve had beautiful weather. While much of the rest of the country has had record breaking cold and snow, Washington state notched its warmest January on record (!!).  February has only brought more sunshine and warm-ish temperatures. For this trip, I had stopped to pick up Doris on the way to carpool with Lorin and off we went bright and early.


Black Diamond Bakery It was an early start as we headed out to Black Diamond to experience the Black Diamond Bakery and visit the Black Diamond branch of KCLS.  We planned to arrive a little early to the bakery as I’ve heard it’s crowded and I’m glad we did!  Not only did we miss the turn and have to turn around a few miles outside of Black Diamond - there was definitely a wait when we left aboutThe Author + Giant Mug and Chair an hour later!  We were also lucky enough to snag a seat by the large window wall with a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier.   I have three libraries to talk about so I can’t wax on and on about the Black Diamond Bakery. I’ll just save you the time and effort of reading my glowing review and tell you to go the first chance you get!  Doris and I also left with a strawberry-rhubarb pie to share.  Divine.

Look Closely For Mt. Rainier, Behind Street Light! After a delightful breakfast (I took home leftovers to enjoy the next two days too), we headed off to find the library.  Should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!  Another missed turn necessitated the second turn around of the day.  Back on track, we quickly approached the Black Diamond Library and it was fantastic!  Designed to look a bit like a big red barn to fit into the rural neighborhood, there is also a stunning view of Mt. Rainier in the background.  Although I’ve attempted to include a picture, the rising sun was our enemy as we tried to snap pictures of the library and the  mountain. As we headed inside, a rooster crowed.  I’m not kidding, it was such a picturesque sunny Saturday morningWheelie and Black Diamond scene!  We introduced ourselves to Michele, a Library Assistant who was kind enough to talk to us about this particular branch.  The large community room is a popular draw and story times have had 60+ attendees!  After snapping a few pictures, we headed back into the sunshine, listened to one last rooster crow, and headed just a few miles back up the road to our next destination.

Library + Trees

Don't Try This At Home.

Sunny Corner in Maple Valley

The Maple Valley Library is an award-winning library set within the trees (90 percent were spared in the construction) and it’s well hidden enough that it required yet another turn around on the road.  I can’t even begin to do the design of the library and parking area justice, so I’ll let this article do it for me.  We had a delightful chat with two library staff members that have  each worked for at least 20 years in Maple Valley.  The circulation and reference desks have wonderful seven layer  glass laminated tops that are designed to mimic flowing water.  As usual, this library was hopping on a Saturday afternoon – most computers were taken, the parking lot was full, and there were many patrons enjoying the various seating areas. After thoroughly enjoying a reading corner with ample windows and comfortable seating and our talk with the staff, we were off to our final adventure of the day.

Wheelie + UFOs It was my original intent to visit only Maple Valley and Black Diamond. . .but, since the library is managed in clusters of 3-4 branches and we were so close to the final branch in this cluster, we headed out to Covington.  My first thought as we approached and entered the Covington Library was that it was huge!  I was surprised to find out it’s actually still quite a bit smaller than the Redmond branch.  We happened to arrive when the Managing Librarian, Catherine, was available and she was gracious enough to give us a complete tour. I have heard that this library is much envied, and the children’s area alone might contribute to much of it.  Covington has a fantastic space for children where they are encouraged to “Be Creative”.  They also have the coolestThis Is A Chair.  Really. chairs ever in the teen area – I had never seen anything like them before.  Other highlights include the automated handling machine and the quiet room, where patrons are known to self-monitor with even whisperers receiving glances! If you want to hear more directly from patrons at the library, listen here: Covington Book Bench.

As we piled back into the car to head home, I reflected on what KCLS has done to create common themes across branches, yet allow each one to reflect their diverse communities as much as possible.  While signage within the library is beginning to be similar and the computers remain popular at every branch, the individual emphasis on location, building, and programming makes one feel “right at home.”


Library Map

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #7: Kirkland Library

Go West! The best laid plans. . .my 4th trip to my 7th library is again a little bit out of my original plan of order.  However, I visited Kirkland last Thursday night on business unrelated to Jaunting and I’m going to take the excuse to count it as a trip and talk about another passion of mine – adult literacy.

This is not Wheelie in front of the window wall!
First things first though, the wonderfully newly remodeled library. One of the best features is the wall of windows that overlooks the baseball fields in Peter Kirk Park.  It’s close enough that you can sit in the nearby reading areas and actively watch the game!  It’s the quiet area though, so you won’t be able to cheer on your favorite local team.  Of course, I don’t have a picture of it, so you’ll have to visit and see for yourself!

Wheelie says the answer is C!Upon the library’s re-opening in December, I occasionally meet my GED student at Kirkland and use the study rooms. (Our regular meeting place is the Lake Washington Technical College library.  I recently saw a replica of Lincoln’s casket there, probably worth a different post, now that I think   about it!)  In addition to a volunteer on this Library Board, I’m a volunteer Adult Education Tutor through Hopelink.  I’m currently assisting a student in her study plan to earn her GED. I completed the training late last summer and was matched with her in October.  It’s been an amazingly rewarding experience to  help her reach her goals and see visible progress every week.  Plus, I constantly learn new things!  The GED book is filled with literature, science, and math that I either don’t remember from high school or was never explicitly taught Study Room 1 at Kirkland(seriously, when was the last time you didn’t use Excel to graph a line!).  We constantly have further questions that I spend time looking up when I’m prepping for the tutor session or after our meeting.  The library is a great meeting place for this as sometimes we pop out of the room and look something up right away.

I love being on the Library Board because I can help the community at large.  I love being an Adult Education Tutor for the exact opposite reason – I can make a difference for one person at a time.


p.s. You can reserve a study room once a week for up to two hours by giving the library a call or visiting in person.

Library Map

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Census 2010: Why We Count

Census 2010 logo The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years. The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things such as:
   • Hospitals
   • Job training centers
   • Schools
   • Senior centers
   • Bridges and tunnels 
   • Emergency services

The data collected by the census also helps determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s quite possible that Washington, which currently has 9 congressional seats, may pick up an additional seat. All the more reason why every person counts.

In March of 2010, census forms will be delivered to every residence in the United States and Puerto Rico. When you receive yours, just answer the 10 short questions and mail it back. To find out more, see United States 2010 Census.

Census 2000 Figures for Redmond
You can find detailed 2000 Census information for your community by accessing the U.S Census Fact Sheets. To view the Redmond Fact Sheet, use the 98052 zip code. This fact sheets contain a wealth of demographic information, such as the percentage breakdown by age group of the 50,249 residents of Redmond.

Census 2000: Redmond residents by age groups

The Census Bureau Web site also includes demographic information about congressional districts at Fast Facts for Congress. Detailed maps for congressional districts are also available, such as the one for Washington’s Congressional District 1 (includes Redmond).

Congressional District 1 - Washington

Redmond Library Board

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #4, #5, and #6: Tukwila, Foster, and Southcenter Libraries

Go South! My third adventure into KCLS libraries dawned bright and beautiful last Saturday!  For this trip, Lorin and I headed out in the early afternoon as south King County beckoned yet again. As I was with Doris, I was happy to have Lorin accompany me as he is also a lot more outgoing than I am!  Plus, he remembered to bring his KCLS Library Board business cards, so we looked totally legitimate.

For this venture, we took a slight detour from my plan to visit the farthest libraries first with a trip to the “tiny” community of Tukwila. With a population of 18,080 over 8.6 square miles, it boasts three library branches and is the geographical center of the KCLS service area.  However, the smallest library, Tukwila, will be closing at the end of this month and was the impetus for my trip there sooner rather than later. 

A Really Small Wheelie The Tukwila Library is housed in a former schoolhouse and City Hall that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It’s a beautiful property located in a residential neighborhood, very different than the libraries I’ve visited before that were located primarily in business or shopping areas. Neighbored by Hazelnut Park, the building sits on a bluff and across the street from a trail system that connects to the Duwamish Green River Trail.

Inside, what a quaint little library!  The children’s section took about half of the square footage and as at other Vault libraries, the computers were a popular draw.  One of the most unique features of this library is its vault.  Original to the City Hall, it now houses office supplies (and in case of accidental closure, the combination is stamped on the handle!) Not to fear that the building will go unused once the library moves out, Patty and Carol, the librarian staff with whom we chatted, tell us that the local historical society and several city departments are vying for the space.

The original plan was to head to Southcenter after Tukwila, until Patty reminded us that the Foster branch was only a mile down the road.  Um, there’s a third branch in Tukwila, I enquired?  At the beginning of this post, I cleverly sounded like I knew what I was doing. But, when planning this outing, I did not notice that Foster had a Tukwila address. My spreadsheet designed failed me on this trip!  You can bet that I’ve now broken out the address field so that I can sort on the city name. And so, it was off to Foster we went.

Do Not Try This At Home! The Foster Library is located right across the street from Foster High School – home to students that speak 65 different languages.  There’s amazing diversity across Tukwila, to say the least.  My first impression when we pulled into the parking lot was that it was quite empty for a Saturday afternoon, and I made the erroneous, and terribly stereotypical, assumption that the library would be empty (me! who avidly rode the bus to work for 8 years!).  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  Stained Glass

The library was as busy as I expected once we walked in. We chatted briefly with Larisa, a library assistant that has been with KCLS for 15 years.  She enlightened us on the beautiful stained glass adorning one of the windows.  As we finished talking with Larisa, it was late afternoon and we were long overdue for lunch. . .

I’d like to promise that all of my excursions into the community side of these trips won’t revolve around food, but besides reading, eating is right there with my most favorite things to do.  We headed along International Boulevard to see what we could spot and we stumbled upon Salaama – advertising East African food that was 100% halal. I’ve never had East African, so we headed in!  The menu was simple, the service was friendly, I loved my spicy pasta, and I learned a little more about the Somali community in King County during the lunch.  Lorin was much more adventurous than I in his sampling of the goat dish. (See this Seattle Times article for more about dining experiences at Salaama.)

Wheelie at Southcenter Bellies full, we were off to the Library Connection at Southcenter.  I must say, the brightly lit library “storefront” fit right in with the mall!  And, it brought me back to my high school years in Vancouver, WA. The Vancouver Mall branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District was my home branch during those years so I’m quite comfortable seeing a library in the mall.  And again, the branch was hopping with patrons at computers and reading in all available seating.  Carol, an assistant librarian who has been at the branch since its opening in 2004, was kind enough to talk to Lorin and I about the uniqueness of a library in a mall - it carries mostly new books, doesn’t allow for holds (yet?), and keeps mall hours – staying open as late as 10 p.m. during the holidays!

As we headed out of Southcenter, I reflected on how such a compact space can hold so much diversity.  The closing of the Tukwila branch will only temporarily reduce Tukwila’s library count to 2 branches. . .a 3rd branch is planned for Tukwila Village as that development takes shape.


Library Map

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Liv-e-books: The Rise of On Demand Book Printing

e-books are getting the headlines. However, liv-e-books are making a comeback with the rise of on demand book printing sparked by specialized machines. The Espresso Book Machine is a fully integrated book making machine which can automatically print, bind, and trim on demand. This machine creates perfect bound library-quality paperback books that are no different from their factory made versions.

Expresso Book Machine

The book printer looks like an over-sized traditional office printer. However, this machine can create a book with up to 850 pages, including a 4-color cover, within minutes. Books that have been out-of-print for centuries can be easily and inexpensively published. You can choose from more than 500,000 titles to print.

Here’s a video about The Expresso 2.0 Book Machine by the manufacturer, On Demand Books.

There are only a handful of these on demand book printing machines installed in the U.S. Locally, the Expresso 2.0 Book Machine has been installed at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. To make the machine seem more approachable, the staff has named their printer, Ginger (me, I would have gone with Mary Ann).

Redmond Library Board