Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Gates Foundation: A Virtual Tour of the New Campus

Gates Foundation new campus In June 2011, the Gates Foundation will consolidate its operations on a new campus across from the Seattle Center. The $500 million campus was designed to be a model of durability, sustainability, and workplace efficiency. The main campus buildings are two dramatic, glass-walled structures that curve like boomerangs, with arms stretching out in different directions.

Here’s a 3-minute virtual tour of the new campus:

The new campus was designed with sustainability in mind. A 1.2 million-gallon storage poolGates Foundation green roof underneath the campus holds enough rainwater to supply toilets and irrigate plants, reducing the foundation's demand for city water by more than 70 percent. Equally impressive is the more than half an acre of green roofs, which insulate, reduce heat, limit rainwater runoff, and add a bird-friendly habitat. Click here for a diagram of the sustainable features.

Visitor Center
The new campus will also feature an 11,000-square-foot visitor center, which will be open to the public. The center showcases the foundation's work and includes hands-on exhibits about clean water and other global issues. For example, visitors will get a chance to lift buckets and experience what it's like for millions of people in the developing world to carry water. For more info, see Visitor Center.

Redmond Library Board

Friday, May 27, 2011

Amazon Releases “Most Well-Read Cities in America” List

Amazon Amazon published its Most Well-Read Cities in America list this week. Three Pacific Northwest cities made the Top 20 list:

Most well-read cities in the Pacific NorthwestAccording to Amazon, the cities on the most-well-read list were determined by "compiling sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle formats since Jan. 1 on a per capita basis in cities with more than 100,00 residents."

The leaders were Cambridge MA, Alexandria VA, and Berkeley CA. Interestingly, many of the cities on the list are also the homes of major colleges and universities as well as large corporations.

Fun Facts
In taking a closer look at the data, Amazon also found that:

  • Not only do they like to read, but they like to know the facts: Cambridge MA — home to the prestigious Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — also topped the list of cities that ordered the most nonfiction books.
  • Boulder CO lives up to its reputation as a healthy city by topping the list of cities that order the most books in the Cooking, Food & Wine category.
  • Alexandria VA residents must be reading a lot of bedtime stories — they topped the list of the city that orders the most children's books.
  • Summer reading weather all year long? Florida was the state with the most cities in the Top 20, with Miami, Gainesville and Orlando making the list.

Redmond Library Board

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Eyes Have It: Artwork Along the East Lake Sammamish Trail

I was being watched while riding my bike along the East Lake Sammamish Trail! The green eyes peered out of a large photo mounted on a fence along the trail. The face looked eerie, as several years of weathering have created fracture patterns on the wood.

Girl and coffee (click for larger image)Sammamish photographer and digital artist, Jim Wolfe, displays his prints along the fence in front of his house as well as his neighbor’s house. 

Fence art trio (click for larger image)Several years ago, Jim figured out a technique to print digital images on non-paper surfaces, such as canvas and wood. One of his earliest artistic themes was faces, and you’ll find plenty of them staring at you. One print peeked out at me from behind blackberry bushes.

Artwork behind plants (click for larger image)Jim’s later artistic themes included nature scenes, such as the following print of two herons.

Two heron (click for larger image)

At one time, Jim tried selling his prints in downtown Seattle. While people appreciated his artwork, most people were more interested in figuring out how to duplicate his process rather than buying his artwork.

East Lake Sammamish Trail 
East Lake Sammamish Trail map To view the artwork along the trail, travel about 4 miles south from Marymoor Park along the East Lake Sammamish Trail until you reach 1103 East Lake Sammamish Parkway NE.

For more info on King County regional trails, see Regional Trails System.

Redmond Library Board

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trail Closure Spring 2011: East Lake Sammamish Trail

Construction of the East Lake Sammamish Master Plan Trail Project will require the closure of the northern-most two miles of the trail corridor in Redmond and Sammamish for up to seven months. The trail is officially closed as of June 2nd.

East Lake Sammamish Trail Closure (click for larger image) For more information and project updates, see the King County site, East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Master Plan Trail Features
The trail project includes the following new features:

Paved trail surface, soft-surface shoulders and vegetated buffer
New 77-stall parking facility at NE 70th Street
Traffic control measures (signage and crossing treatments) where the trail crosses private driveways or roadways
Stormwater management system to control runoff from the trail and parking areas
Retaining walls to support slopes and reduce embankment areas
Crosswalks at public access points
Litter receptacles, doggy litter bag boxes, and trail etiquette signs
Bollards at trail crossings to prevent unauthorized vehicles from driving onto the trail

About the Trail
The East Lake Sammamish Trail follows a historic railroad route along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish within the cities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah. Part of the “Locks to Lakes Corridor,” the trail is approximately 11 miles long and follows an off-road corridor along the lake and through lakeside communities. The existing “interim” soft-surface trail provides excellent views of the lake and Cascade foothills, and is popular with off-road bicyclists, joggers, walkers and other users.

East Lake Sammamish Trail For more info on King County regional trails, see Regional Trails System.

Artwork on the Trail
Several dozen pieces of artwork line the fences along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, about 4 miles south of Marymoor Park.

Fence artwork trio (click for larger image) For more about this project, see The Eyes Have It: Artwork Along the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Redmond Library Board

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hit the Road: The 2011 Washington State Travel Planner is Now Available

2011 Washington State Travel Planner The 2011 Washington State Travel Planner is available online. This 152-page, full-color publication is filled with road trips, travel planning tips, maps and photographs that will inspire your wanderlust to explore Washington State. You can also order printed copies of the travel planner here.

In addition, the state’s Experience Washington Web site provides a wealth of travel-related resources.

A Douglas County Road Trip
Last week, I traveled through Douglas County. The town of Waterville (elevation 2,650 feet) is the county seat of Douglas County, Washington. The town sits on a broad plain called the Waterville plateau. In the late 19th century, early settlers raised cattle. However, potatoes and wheat eventually became the dominant agricultural industry. Tourism is on the rise here, and the historic Waterville Hotel makes a great overnight stay.

The most striking building in Waterville is the brick and stone Douglas County Courthouse, which was built in 1905.

Douglas County Courthouse (click for larger image)

State Route 2 runs right through downtown Waterville, whose population is around 1,200. Many older building still remain on West Locust Street, which is part of Route 2.

West Locust Street (click for larger image)

The Waterville Auto Company building on East Park Street is a reminder of the town’s older days.

Waterville Auto Company (click for larger image)

You can learn about the area’s history at the Douglas County Historical Museum. The mural on the museum’s building depicts a mining scene.

Douglas County Historical Museum mural (click for larger image)

Four miles east of Waterville on Route 2 lies the tiny town of Douglas. The Douglas General Store is the community center.

Douglas General Store (click for larger image)

St. Paul's Lutheran Church is a prominent landmark in Douglas. Build in 1915, the church originally held services in English and German, the language of many of the early settlers in this area.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church (click for larger image)Spring is the season for shearing sheep — and the occasional alpaca.

Freshly sheared alpaca in Douglas (click for larger image)

Route 2 east of Douglas passes through large tracts of farmland. The Farmer’s Community Hall is one of the few buildings along this road.

Farmers Community Hall (click for larger image) As Route 2 climbs up the plateau, the view looking west towards the Cascades is dramatic.

Route 2 and the Cascades (click for larger image)Wherever you go, enjoy your travels through Washington state!

Redmond Library Board

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reading Away Those Long Winter Nights!

I recently had the good fortune to visit our US neighbors in the Far North – Alaskans! In between hiking near the Knik Glacier and snow-shoeing near Eureka Roadhouse, I visited a library in Anchorage and a library in Hope. (I don’t feel I can count the drive-by of the Wasilla Meta-Rose Public Library, part of the Matanuska-Susitna Library Network, since it was closed.)

Libraries I Did, and Did Not, Visit!

I’m going to start backwards with the second of two libraries I visited, the Municipality of Anchorage’s main branch, the Z.J. Loussac library.  The library’s namesake was the City’s mayor from 1948 to 1951 and in his retired years was the philanthropist whose Loussac Foundation underwrote the construction of the previous “new and modern” building which opened in 1955.  The building I visited was constructed in 1986 and the Anchorage Library Foundation has a series of events planned this Summer and Fall to commemorate the 25th birthday of “the Lou”!

Ann Stevens Reading Room

Like most libraries, Art abounded on the grounds and in the building. The extensive Alaska Collection is also universally noted as a reason to visit. However, I was headed straight for the room that was mentioned when I said I wanted to peruse the stacks…the Ann Stevens Reading Room.  Floor to ceiling wood paneling and bookshelves line one wall while the opposite is filled with windows.  A fireplace on an adjacent wall and old-style upholstered sitting chairs throughout the space round out the cozy ambiance.  It was a cloudy and drizzly day when I visited and I wanted nothing more than to plop into a chair and read for a while!

Speaking of cold and drizzly, my first library visit in Alaska, the Hope Library, was also on a rainy, overcast day (reminded me of home…) Hope, Alaska, population near 200, is off the beaten track of the Seward Highway on the gorgeous Kenai Peninsula.  I had the good fortune to arrive a few minutes before their Saturday afternoon Board meeting and was able to chat with one of the members about their future plans.  On the agenda for the day – discussing the start of a Friends organization!

Hope Community Library

The volunteer-run library is currently housed in the former 1938 “one room”, (but with a second story for the teacher’s quarters), schoolhouse. Alas, their gift shop, located next door, wasn’t open during our short visit, so I wasn’t able to potentially contribute to their operating funds!  We were also able to spend a little bit of time in the historic downtown area among the former Gold Rush buildings.  If you can’t make your way to Alaska soon, you can visit them online!

Friendly Library Patrons!

Friendly Library "Patrons"!