Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tour de Terrace

We had a great time marching in the Tour de Terrace this year!
Hope you can join us next year!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Real Librarians of Snohomish County

Orange County, New York, New Jersey and Atlanta have their housewives, but Snohomish County has its librarians.

Like many librarians, they were not always librarians, and bring to the profession a wealth of knowledge and interesting experiences.

And oh, the drama behind the scenes.

Let me introduce you to some of them...

Lucinda Lovabook, Library Manager

Lucinda didn’t always want to be a librarian. Educated at a well-respected liberal arts college, she discovered that though her education had provided her with the knowledge to converse on a wide range of topics, thus making her a sought after guest at cocktail parties for her scintillating conversational skills, she realized that she did not have enough depth to get a good job. After a brief stint as an actress on the short-lived vampire-inspired soap, “Marry me or I will Bite You,” where she was killed off early, she was hired by the Post Office as a postal clerk until a colleague actually did go postal.

Lucinda decided it was time to find a profession.

Many of her fellow liberal arts college graduates had found themselves in the same boat and had become librarians. She liked books, so why not? So off she went to library school where she discovered that libraries were not just about books, but about protecting people’s intellectual freedom and providing information and resources to help people make sense of their lives. Her organizational skills learned at the post office and the stage presence she honed on the soap opera (she was told her dying scene was one of the best they had had) held her in good stead for a life as a dynamic librarian. No shrinking violet she.

She embraced the tenets of public library service: intellectual freedom, equal access to all and advocacy for literacy and lifelong learning and never looked back. She spends her spare time in Community Theater and selling on EBay (she didn’t get into librarianship for the money).

Techs Andrews, Assistant Manager

It wasn’t easy for Techs to decide to enter the world of librarianship.

He believed all of the stereotypes: “women’s profession,” a quiet boring environment where nothing ever happened. But he had grown tired of his job as a rodeo clown – the clown makeup was wrecking havoc on his skin– and decided that the computer experience he had acquired at his off-season job as a telemarketer would be of use to libraries.

He was right about that and wrong about libraries being quiet boring places.

He spends most of his time helping the ever growing number of people coming to the library looking for work online, teaching the free basic computer classes he offers and answering all of the computer questions posed by the computer users. He is also kept on his toes by the many responsibilities he has: from scheduling the employees he supervises to purchasing library materials that reflect community needs to facilitating a book group. He never realized what it takes to run a community library and how varied the job would be. Never a dull moment. He also enjoys having lunch once in awhile with Novella, the Teen Librarian.

Ima Noitall, Reference Librarian

Ima often modestly says, “I don’t know everything. I just know where to find the answers.”

Along with her modesty, Ima is also the epitome of good customer service. Nordstrom’s could learn a thing or two from Ima. She not only cheerfully finds the information her customers need, but she goes that extra mile to make sure the question is answered completely. She does everything with a smile.

She not only has an excellent literary background and reads voraciously, she also keeps up with popular culture (she TIVO’s Oprah,) so that she instantly knows what her customers are talking about, thus representing librarians as the knowledgeable and with-it information specialists that they are.

Ima came to librarianship from a background in waste management. OK, she drove a garbage truck. She enjoyed that job, but decided she prefered the smell of books to other people’s garbage.

Novella Graphica, Teen Librarian
Even though Novella is well past her teens, she is a bit of a hipster and her open and playful personality appeals to young people. She has created a community place where teens feel welcomed and where they can actively participate in the planning of library programs, thus giving them a sense of contribution and ownership. Her programs help teens build relationships with library staff and make new friends, which in turn help the teens feel a part of their community and comfortable asking the librarians for help when needed. They may act like they are too cool to be appreciative of libraries, but she knows she is setting the stage for them to be successful adults.

Novella started her career writing fortunes for fortune cookies but decided she would much rather use her skills to blog and Twitter to local teens about the great programs she provides for them. She has been instrumental in getting the library involved with social media.

Suessie Story, Children’s Librarian

Suessie is just out of library school. She went from college to library school without a break, but that was fine with her, because she always wanted to be a children’s librarian. She only works part-time, so she has started her own small business as a knife sharpener to supplement her income. She also writes children’s books, but has yet to get one published.

She loves going out into the community and to the schools to talk about the library. She never tires of seeing the delight children have in her story times and puppet shows, and she is proud of all the work she does to get children ready for school (and what Seussie doesn’t yet realize is that she has already made a huge impact on these children’s lives. When she is older they will come back and tell her how meaningful her work was to them and how much they value libraries because of her).

The librarians of Snohomish County are a diverse and interesting bunch. These are just some of their stories.

Disclaimer: These stories are based on actual librarians, but in certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. The librarians depicted here are composites, or entirely fictitious. Any resemblance to real librarians, living or dead is on purpose because librarians are very cool people who bring a wealth of knowledge and life experiences to their jobs. They are dedicated to public service and are an asset to their communities.

Get to know them!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teen Pirate Week

Teens! Do you love pirates? What is it about those bad boys (and girls!)? Is it the cool clothes? The swords? The complete lack of respect for authority, except their own code? They are the ultimate rebels, thinking of no one but themselves and their freedom. Probably jerks to know it real life, but fun to daydream about on a summers day.

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 21st of July, we are having a Pirates of the Caribbean Marathon. That’s right…we are showing all three movies in their entirety, starting at 11 in the morning and going until 7 at night. The Friends of the Library are supplying popcorn and soda. I’d recommend bringing a lunch, and/or snacks to share. I’m going to bake some muffins!

Then Saturday we are once again having a Digital Photography Scavenger Hunt! Last year this was SUPER fun and everyone who participated begged us to do it again. This year we are making it even better. Bring two or more friends, a water bottle and a digital camera (or phone that can hold 60 photos). Wear comfortable shoes…you’ll be running all over Mountlake Terrace for 2 hours. Oh…and dress up like PIRATES! There will be prizes for the team that completes the most photos off our clue list within 2 hours, a prize for most artistic photo, a prize for funniest photo, and a prize for best costumes. After you are done running all over the place, cool down and watch the classic movie Goonies while I score the photos. Show up right at noon if you are going to participate in the contest. You won’t regret it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Librarian's Bucket List

One dark and lonely night (we have a lot of those around here), I came upon the movie The Bucket List. I had never heard that expression before. A little research shows that there is not agreement on how old this phrase is. Some believe it originated with the movie. Others feel it has been around longer. But all agree, it is based on the phrase "kicking the bucket.

For those of you who haven't heard of this, the "bucket list" is that list of things you want to see or do before you "kick the bucket,"

So here is my "bucket list," from a librarian's point of view:

Before I die, I would like to see the librarian stereotype go away.

Throughout my career, when I have replied to the question about what I did for a living, I have had to hear comments like these:

"You don't look like a librarian,"


"You must read a lot of books (at work),"


"Shhhhh," (followed by chuckling because for some reason people get a kick out of themselves by saying that. I, on the other hand, do not enjoy it).

Since I interact with librarians on a daily basis and see the diversity that makes up the profession, it makes me wonder, "What is a librarian supposed to look like?" But ask the "civilian," and nine times out of ten, you would probably hear described an intimidating, dowdy spinster whose only goal in life is to hush people up and be disapproving.

So my ultimate "bucket list" goal would be to see a movie starring a librarian as a superhero, flying about protecting people's free speech and right to read, pummeling censorship and basically teaching people good manners.

She is glamorous, yet practical (yes, it's a woman...we deserve superhero status), plucky (I love that word) and witty. She is also well-read (though she would never dream of reading books on the job), not just in the classics, but in popular culture as well. And she can match the "right book to the right person at the right time." She never shushes anyone, though when battling the forces of evil, she sometimes must be blunt. As she stares down the bad guy, she says , "If you had just read that book I recommended, none of this would have happened!"

I would like to see libraries viewed as educational institutions instead of the often mistaken view that we are only recreational entities.
Yes, people come to us for recreational reading and entertainment DVDs, but we are also instrumental in getting children started on the road to literacy, well before they enter kindergarten. We offer homework help to children and teens in school, and we are there for the adult lifelong learner who needs to learn new skills. When the money is handed out by the powers that be, it should be a no brainer that libraries are as important as schools. I have seen libraries closed as funding was reduced. Thanks to the voters of Snohomish County, that hasn't happened to us here at Sno-Isle Libraries, but for every library system like Sno-isle Libraries, there is one laying people off and closing its doors.
This shouldn't happen in a country where education and literacy is so prized.

I would like to leave this world with the knowledge that every man, woman and child not only uses the library, but knows what the library has to offer.

I never again want to hear someone nervously say to me, "I haven't been in a library in years" or "Why do I need the library?"

I have always thought that if people really knew what we offered, they would be pounding down our doors.

We offer quality databases (and these are not the same as going on the Internet) that would help small business owners make more money, that include free online newspapers and magazines and information on a myriad of topics to help people with their research and daily lives. We offer downloadable ebooks, classes to help people with their English, computer classes, family events, meeting rooms, I could go on and on. All free and open to all.

But for some reason, despite hard work and attention to this, for every person who uses the library, there are several more who not only don't use the library, they have no idea all that we offer.

Why do you think that is? What do you we need to do to put libraries at the forefront of people's minds?

As a librarian, these issues are on my professional "bucket list."

But I am also human, so I have my personal "bucket list" too.

And, as usual, I am compelled to share.

  • Win "The Amazing Race"with my husband as we bicker our way around the world.

  • Kiss Tom Cruise (platonically, of course) - Do you see a pattern here? - (He had me at "Taps").

  • (He's the cute one in the red beret.)

  • Become a famous character actress (I've missed my chance to be an ingenue, I guess).

  • Write a juicy best-selling book about what really goes on at the library.

  • Star as "the old one" on "Big Brother"and win or "Survivor" where I "Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast" them all wearing adorable swimsuits and cute sandals. (It's easy to lose weight on "Survivor".)

  • Find out that face lifts don't hurt (and I can get one for free).

  • Become fluent in Italian and drive my own boat glamourously through the canals of Venice as I head to my villa.

  • Become a YouTube star (I am sure I could think of something stupid enough to do to get myself on there), and be interviewed by Oprah who then asks me to become her best friend. And she gives me my own show.

    Sigh. I guess those aren't very realistic - I guess that's my "dream" bucket list.

    More realistically, if I can live near enough to my children that I can often enjoy them and any grandchildren who arrive, travel to Europe when I get the urge, stay well enough to bicycle in the Cotswolds, live comfortably, continue to make and keep good friends and hear more people say,

    "I go to the library all of the time. I don't know what I would do without libraries."


    "I think librarians are cool. You look just like one!"

    Then I could die happy.