Saturday, March 27, 2010

Opportunity For All: How the Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries

Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older – roughly 77 million people – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a recently released national to view the full report - Opportunity For All In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.

The report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries.Opportunity For All It also looks at the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. It was conducted by the University of Washington Information School and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Making libraries more accessible has spurred library usage. In the King County Library System, the mini-libraries in the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue and the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila generate heavy traffic and usage.

KCLS Library Connection @ Southcenter

Those of us in the Redmond area are indeed fortunate to have a rich variety of services offered at the Redmond Library. Take advantage of the opportunity!

Redmond Library Board

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #13 and #14: Algona-Pacific and Kent

Go South!Mother Nature, (even without Lorin this time!), continues to smile on our weekend adventures.  Trip number 7 found Doris and I heading south in sunny skies, yet again. Redmond’s geographical location within King County means that all of the South King County branches are farthest away and therefore on the top of my list to visit first!  I think I’ve been on SR 167 more times in the past few months than I have been in my entire 10 year Redmond residency.

Off-Road Wheelie! Our first destination was the Algona-Pacific branch.  Although located quite near SR 167, it’s in a fairly rural area.  Similar to our trip to Black Diamond, I heard a rooster crowing as I was walking into the branch!  We were greeted by library staff, Brandy and Travis, who regaled us with descriptions of the popularity of their computers and story times (I think I see a library theme. . .)  One of the things I loved about this branch was the architect’s use of angles and curves in the building.  The entryway had a rotunda-likeEntryway Ceiling feel, and the library immediately opened up into the children’s area and remaining collections. The high exposed beams in the area after the entryway made me think of The Great Hall at Hogwarts, though I’m not really sure why!  Doris, as is her usual custom, found a book to check out and then we were off to head north into Kent.

For our visit to the Kent branch, we were on a bit of a time schedule.  I was super excited that we were going to visit a Libros Acerca De RatonesSpanish Story Time!  Story Times are exceedingly popular at every library branch, and after participating in one for the first time, I can definitely see why.  Our storyteller for the afternoon, Xiomara, was muy magnifica!  Our story theme for the day was los ratones (mice) and watching Xiomara with the children was simply precious.  Happily, my much-neglected high school Spanish served me well at the toddler level! I still have quite a few more libraries to visit and this might not be my last Story Time. 

Stuffed Dragon with Wooden and Cloth Wings The Kent branch was recently remodeled, opening just a few weekends ago after a six month closure.  It feels simply huge when you first walk in.  One of my absolute favorite pieces of “art” I’ve seen in any library so far is the stuffed dragon in the children’s area.  I hope you enjoy my blurry cell phone picture of it. . .I neglected to re-charge my camera battery and it died shortly after we arrived!  At about this time we started to get hungry so we headed out for the community portion of the visit – a late brunch at Bittersweet in downtown Kent.

Delicious!  Doris and I were finally smart and split the breakfast strata and the oatmeal pancakes so that we ate a little more sensibly. (As a totally unrelated aside, I made Molly Wizenberg’s oatmeal pancake recipe a few weekends ago and have not been the same since.)  Our waiter was very friendly, the service was fast, and we snagged a window seat so that we could people watch.  True to the area’s heritage, at both Bittersweet and the nearby Kent library, we continued to hear trains a’comin frequently.

While not all of my future trips will be on Saturday mornings, visiting libraries and local eateries has been quite a pleasant way to start the weekends!


p.s. My cool new, “Jaime’s joined the 21st century” map is here. . .but I can’t get my saved pushpins to display in my embedded version for the blog.  Stay tuned while I work out my technical difficulties!

Library Map

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Redmond Recycling Event: April 10th 2010

The Spring Redmond Recyling Event is scheduled for Saturday, April 10th from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Recycling logo This is a great opportunity to get rid of used tires, household goods, vehicle and household batteries, clothing, and even that rusting BBQ you’ve been meaning to get rid of for the last year!

The recycling event is open to Redmond residents only. For a complete list of all acceptable items for recycling and donation see Recycling Event.

Redmond Recyling Event: unloading scrap wood

Many of the workers at the recycling event are volunteering their time. Surprisingly, this is a very efficient operation and I haven’t had to wait long to unload my recycled items.

Redmond Recyling Event: frontloader full of recycled wood

The Redmond Recycling Event is held at 18120 NE 76th Street, just off Union Hill Road.

Click to view larger map

Redmond Library Board

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #11 and #12: Burien and TechLab

compass11After several very rainy (and snowy!?) days in the run-up to the weekend, Saturday shined sunny, if a bit chilly.  (You guessed it, Lorin was with us!) Trip number 6 was definitely an anticipated destination – all but one of the Library Board members plus Chris, Redmond’s Managing Librarian, were able join me on the trip to the new Burien library branch.

Wheelie in front of the Burien Library!

Meeting Room Etched Glass
Burien has one of the most unique building arrangements in the King County Library System.  Through an innovative partnership with the City of Burien, the library and City Hall share the same building. The building is also awaiting its sliver LEED certification.  The library is on the first two floors and the City Hall is on the third.  A large shared meeting room is also on the first floor.  The building is full of art – windows, doors, floors, it’s everywhere you look and step! With Chris as an escort we were able to “sneak” into the staff entrance about 15 minutes before opening.  Doris and I were pleasantly surprised to see Judith again – she was the first librarian we met on our first jaunt to Auburn! The library was already humming with the staff and volunteers because. . .

Wheelie & TechConnect As luck would have it, TechConnect was scheduled to be at Burien on the day of our visit.  TechConnect is a library open house that educates patrons on the technology available to them through their local KCLS library.  It also showcases technology that the library uses to better serve patrons – like Automated Self Check-In. 

Just after the first rush of patrons at opening, we met our docent for our tour, Mary.  A lifelong resident of Burien, Mary volunteers at both Burien and Des Moines libraries.  I was quite impressed with the amount of information Mary had to answer all of our questions about the library and community!  During our stop in the teen area on the second floor, we could easily see planes landing at nearby SeaTac. The quiet area also spectacular views. . .though it was a little too cloudy for us to view Mt. Rainier.  Both floors have plenty of glass outside walls, an amazing amount of natural light is available throughout all of the spaces. The Burien branch also houses KCLS’ largest collection on the Northwest.

Jet Landing; Burien Library 2nd Floor

Wheelie does his best Ken Griffey, Jr. impression!

After we parted from Mary and chatted up the Burien Library Guild, we headed out to the parking lot to visit the TechLab.  A cozy space, TechLab takes the library computers to populations that aren’t otherwise able to access library branches.  The focus for TechConnect for the TechLab was the availability of audiobooks. Since it’s one of the mobile library “branches” I’m counting it as a separate visit!

Wheelie & TechLab

The second floor view from the library, the brewhouse is kitty-corner. And of course, a trip to a new community isn’t complete without. . .food!  We ate an early lunch at Elliot Bay Brewhouse & Pub – and since it was 5 o’clock somewhere, I enjoyed a (small, really) organic beer.  It was wonderful to get to know everyone outside of the specific library business that we usually discuss.

Plus, Doris and I were sure to honor the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day with a photo opp inside the brewhouse!
Doris and Jaime


p.s. My map is now outdated!  Renton has voted to join KCLS, so I’ll need to update. And I have a bit of a quandary as Tukwila is now closed, so the new official map shows Renton branches, but not Tukwila.  I’ll debut the new version at the next post!

Library Map

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What’s that on my Windshield: A Children's Guide to Splattered Bugs

As I was filling up my car at a Union 76 gas station in Maple Valley recently, Crane fly (flattened) I noticed a poster that showed a colorful collection of windshield victims. The poster was entitled, A children’s guide to splattered bugs. Actually, this was pretty fascinating reading — definitely more interesting than reading about how to apply for a Union 76 gas card!

A children's guide to splattered bugs

Loosen up, while you fill up
On another part of the gas station was a poster showing a number of easy-to-do exercises while filling up your tank. While I didn’t do any of the exercises, it did keep me from going into the mini-mart for Cheetos and a Dr. Pepper

Loosen up, while you fill up

Who knew gas stations could be so educational!

Redmond Library Board

Friday, March 5, 2010

“Bhutan”: The Book the Size of a Coffee Table

Measuring 5x7 feet and weighing nearly 150 pounds, the world’s largest book, Bhutan, is on display at UW’s Suzzallo Library.

Bhutan: world's largest book

Everything about Bhutan is extraordinary: it is printed with a gallon of ink on a roll of paper longer than a football field. The printing process takes an entire 24 hours for each copy. It weighs 133 pounds making it the heaviest book in UW’s Special Collections as well as the biggest. A new page is turned once a month.

The full name of the book is Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom. It contains 114 pages of photographs capturing the people and spirit of this enchanted country. To view sample pages, click here.

Suzzallo Libary: world's largest book on display

Suzzallo Library
A trip to the Suzzallo Library wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Reading Room. Measuring 65 feet high, 52 feet wide, and 250 feet long, the Reading Room features a vaulted ceiling elaborately decorated with richly colored and gilded stenciling. The oak bookcases are topped with a hand-carved frieze representing native plants of Washington state.

Suzzallo Library Reading Room For info on visiting the library, see Suzzallo Library.

BTW, if you really want to buy Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom at Amazon, it’ll cost you — $30,000 to be exact.

Redmond Library Board