Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baby Watch

I am officially on baby watch.

My first grandchild is due to be born any time between now and early March, and I can’t wait to meet my little grandson. I know it’s a boy, but I don’t know the name yet, so I call him a variety of names…Herkimer, Jedidiah, Tarquin. However, don’t call me Grandma, Granny, Grammy or Grandmother. I will be Glammy and that’s that. No comfortable shoes, glasses perched atop my nose or old-fashioned clothes for me. So no offense to the little darling who I will love with all my heart. I will be more Auntie Mame than Auntie Em.

It’s difficult for those of us who came of age in the 1960’s to even imagine that grandparenthood has arrived. Many of us Baby Boomers enter the aging process kicking and screaming. But we can’t help it. We started the whole “youth obsessed” culture. A mantra of the 1960’s was “Never trust anyone over 30.” And Mick Jagger said, “ If you think that Mick Jagger will still be doing the whole rock star thing at age fifty, well, then, you are sorely, sorely mistaken.” (Sorry, Mick, I guess you were sorely, sorely mistaken. I saw you at the Grammys.)

We children of the 60’s who were supposed to value substance over looks have now succumbed to trying to stay young. How else do you explain Botox (Botox used to be something you got from eating dodgy tomatoes) or the plethora of diet books (“The Cookie Diet,” “The Cabbage Soup Diet” or – this one scares me –“The Slimming Soap Diet”)? And of course hair dyes (I don’t even know if I have gray hair or not), skin creams (seems that the economy hasn’t affected skin care products- the industry continues to grow) and, of course, plastic surgery and SPANX.

My son and his wife are trying to do everything right in preparation for the baby. They have the car seat that looks like it would take the baby into outer space and back, the jogging stroller and the fancy bassinet. And those of us who will be seeing the baby soon after birth are all immunized with our tetanus/whooping cough shots. Ouch.

But mostly my son and his wife are probably wondering how their lives will change.
That’s something a new parent can’t really anticipate until it happens.
Little do they realize what those first few months will be like, especially if the baby wakes them up every night and they have to work the next day. There is a “tired” quotient that doesn’t even register on the ”tired gauge.” But I will tell them what my mother told me, “Every day it will get better.” It did and it will.

But of all the changes a new baby represents, most will be welcome changes – the closeness one feels to one’s spouse, the unconditional love one feels toward the baby, the feeling of being a part of the circle of life…

Here at the library, we are waiting for a “baby” too.
Its name is Polaris.

As you all may know by now, sometime in early April our 20-year-old computer system will be replaced by a newer, better system named Polaris. Right now Polaris is waiting to be born, and we are eager for the birth.

Yes, Polaris is a computer system, but the challenges and changes that will occur when moving over to a new library computer system after working with the same one for 20 years is not unlike getting used to the changes that a new baby brings.

Just like my son and his wife, we are trying to do everything right too.

Sno-Isle staff members have been working behind the scenes for months, from choosing the best system to formulating the needed questions to processing the answers and implications. Training sessions are in place. All of this was done in preparation for not only a better computer system to serve our library customers, but to make this transition as painless as possible for everyone.

There will be many welcome changes.

Polaris will help our customers save time, will be easy to use and leaves our old system in the dust when it comes to efficiency. It also addresses many of the features our customers have been asking for. Customers will be able to suspend holds while on vacation without losing their place in the queue, opt in to a “Reading History” to keep track of books read, get cell phone notifications, save searches, write “Reader Reviews” and more. For those customers who like to use Google, Netflix or Amazon, Polaris will feel familiar.

But as in any big change, such as the arrival of a first baby, there is a learning curve, help and patience may be needed and some training required. There could be some unanticipated changes. And if that happens, I will think of what my mother said once again, “Every day it will get better.”

As we and our customers discover the functionality of Polaris, any discomfort at the outset will change to joy.

So we, your library staff, are currently gearing up for the arrival of our new “baby.”

We look forward to sharing our enthusiasm with you and helping you learn the new system.

And you didn’t even need to buy us a shower gift!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Foodie Book Group News

Mountlake Terrace Library's Foodie Book Group continues to grow!

We now have our own blog where you can find updates, such as this:

Our February meeting was scheduled on Valentines Day, but apparently people have plans that night? So by popular demand, we will be having our next meeting on Tuesday February 15th, 2011, 6:30-8:30. The theme is Mexican Cookbooks. Bring your favorites, or check out a few from the library to explore, then cook a dish to share. We will discuss what we feel works best in these cookbooks, special features to look for, etc...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Valentine for My Library

Ah, February, the Month of Love.

I wanted to send some love to my library, not just for all it currently does for me, but for the changes that will be occurring in the coming months (I will get to that later).

How do I show my appreciation for the welcoming atmosphere, the dedicated staff, the cool website chock full of research aids and databases, the free programs I can attend with my family, the WiFi, the computers, the free DVDs and CDs, the downloads to my Nook or other eReader…I could go on and on (and you KNOW I can!).

How can I express my love and appreciation?

Perhaps I should look to the movies for some inspiration.

Who could forget Tom Cruise saying, “Library, you complete me.”

(Can you get this at the library? Of course the library has it!)

or Daniel Day-Lewis staring intently and saying, “Stay at the Library! I will find you!”

(Yep! We've got that one too).

or the classic “Of all the libraries in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

(Do we have it? Yep!)

I have fond memories of Heath Ledger saying, “May I ask your name, My Lady Librarian? Or perhaps angels have no names, only beautiful faces.”

(You want it? We've got it!)

There is the memorable “A library can touch us one time and last for a lifetime and never let go till we’re gone.”

(Need you ask?)

And finally, “If you love your library you say it…you say it right then, out loud…or the moment just…passes you by.”

(Again, yes!)

So I don’t want the moment to pass me by. I love you library! There, I said it.

And it’s important for us all to say it because a big change is on the horizon.

Polaris is coming!

What is Polaris?

Polaris is the name of the new computer system we will be introducing in the coming months. Our current system is 20 years old and you know what that means in “computer years…” More like 100. We want to remain a relevant, valuable community resource as we move through the 21st century and Polaris is going to help us do that. This also fulfills our promise to you as to how we would spend the tax money voters invested in the 2009 levy increase.

There will be a bit of a learning curve for staff and our customers, but this new technology will give you, our customers, the features you have been asking for.

  • You will have more control over your holds
  • You will save time and get better search results when you search our catalog
  • It will be easier to use
  • It will contain features you expect from sites like Netflix, Google and Amazon

And that’s just the beginning! Stay tuned.

But as I said, as with most changes, there is a learning curve so library staff will be getting ready for this big change with lots of training and dealing with all the tweaks needed to make this a smooth transition.

So that’s why I particularly want to show the love for my library this month.

So what should I say? Those movie quotes are great but don’t quite express what I want to say.

Perhaps it’s best to reach back to the classics for my inspiration. And who showed the love better than Elizabeth Barrett Browning?

Ahem, here we go (with my apologies to Liz)

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
I can reach as I try to pull the latest Sue Grafton from the top shelf (Yes! Score!).
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need as I sit in the library and read by sun and lamplight.
I love thee freely, as men and women strive for the Right to Read whatever they want.
I love thee purely as I turn page to page of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” while listening to Usher’s “Versus” CD (just one of the 10 CDs I may check out free from the library).
I love with a passion put to use
For all the do-it-yourself books you have (I will build that deck this summer, I will!) and other resources that save me money and make my life easier.
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith I remember the story times my mother took me to at the library that helped me get ready for kindergarten (and we’re still doing it!)
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
Until I discovered I could close my Netflix account because I could get all the DVDs I wanted for free at the library.
I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!...
I shall but love thee better when Polaris arrives.

One more movie quote:

“A library is like a box of chocolates, you never know all the great services you’re gonna get unless you go there (or check out our website).

(Do we have it? What do you think?)

So sometime this month, go to your favorite library and discover or rediscover the programs and resources that we love to provide. And while you are at it, why not send a little love to your library. We love hearing from you!