Oak Harbor Library Blog

Friday, January 25, 2008

Choosing Your Doctor

Health consumers are increasingly going online to choose their doctors. Many sites publish reviews written by patients, both satisfied and dissatisfied. For example, FindADoc.com is one of many sites where users can read patients' reviews of doctors. Zagat, famous for its restaurant and hotel online rating guides, will soon allow users to rate doctors on qualities of trust, communication, availability and environment, what owner Nina Zagat calls "the soft part" of a patient's choice. "We were very careful not to include any criteria that we felt the individual consumer was not in a position to rate," she said, such as the technical ability of the doctor.

While a doctor's "bedside manner" is important, choosing a doctor solely on superficial qualities can be a "disaster," according to Dr. Robert Wachter, author of Internal Bleeding, a book about medical mistakes in America. Wachter also mistrusts insurance company sites which rate their own doctors, because they tend to steer patients to the cheapest rather than the best physicians.

A full picture of a doctor's background might include when they graduated from medical school, whether they're board-certified in their specialty area, and how long they've been in practice. This is the type of information that the library can steer you to. Go to http://www.sno-isle.org/ and click on Research Tools, Health and Medicine, Doctors and Dentist for links to several reputable sources including the ones listed below:

ABMS American Board of Medical Specialists
List of twenty-four medical specialties, plus information on members. Registration is free

AMA Online Doctor Finder
Basic information on virtually every licensed physician in United States

AANP American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Search engine allows you to search by Naturopath name or location

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Last post from Iraq

Millions of people all over the world, many of whom are typing away on library computers, are blogging about their lives, their experiences and their thoughts. Such a huge amount of information is mind-boggling, particularly to those of us who would organize, catalog and provide access to it. Sometimes, though, a blog posting stands out from all the others.

Major Andrew Olmsted blogged about his death before it happened. The 37-year-old soldier from Colorado wrote about his experience in Iraq for the Rocky Mountain News. He created a "final post" and told a friend to post it if anything happened. On Jan. 3, Olmsted was killed by small arms fire while confronting insurgents. Olmsted's fellow blogger wrote, "Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all."

Here are some excerpts from Olmsted's last post:

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits... As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose.

Blogging put me in touch with an inordinate number of smart people, an exhilarating if humbling experience. When I was young, I was smart, but the older I got, the more I realized just how dumb I was in comparison to truly smart people. But, to my credit, I think, I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them. It has been joy and a pleasure having the opportunity to do this.

...for those who knew me and feel this pain, I think it's a good thing to realize that this pain has been felt by thousands and thousands (probably millions, actually) of other people all over the world. That is part of the cost of war, any war, no matter how justified. If everyone who feels this pain keeps that in mind the next time we have to decide whether or not war is a good idea, perhaps it will help us to make a more informed decision. Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in. I am far too cynical to believe that any future debate over war will be any less vitriolic or emotional, but perhaps a few more people will realize just what those costs can be the next time.

Read Major Olmsted's entire post at

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Welcome to 2008

It's been quite a year at the Oak Harbor Library. We ended on a high note with brand new carpets throughout the building. Our customers waited very patiently while the old carpet was taken out and the new carpet laid down - an entire week! Here are some of the other highlights of 2007:

January - Sno-Isle Libraries starts "floating" collections, allowing materials to stay at the library where they are returned. Through this and other improvements we are able to drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for holds to get from one branch to another.
February -Digital media for all ages is now available through our website - we all learn how to stream music and movies, download books and photos and post to blogs. Library staff develop an internal blog to communicate more effectively with one another.
March - Movies at the Library: An Inconvenient Truth, followed by Stranger than Fiction and a Saturday matinee series for children. Teens enjoy our Harry Potter mania (all the HP movies in one day) and an anime fest later in the year.
April -Whidbey Reads, the annual community reading program culminates with best-selling author Stephen Coonts, in person at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club. Mr. Coonts discusses his early book, Flight of the Intruder, with fans from all over the area. For many, it is likely the first book they have (re)read in years!
May - The annual Friends of the Library Tea is celebrated with a "gallery of friends" - about 75 of them. Preschool PC stations loaded with fun computer activities and interactive stories are added to the children's area. Friends of the Library provide the furniture, which includes chairs in sizes small and even smaller.
June - Windermere Real Estate volunteers, along with city and library staff, tackle the library interior painting job one Friday. They sweep through the building, painting walls in all the public areas in beautiful,warm tones of green and creamy latte.
July -Summer reading takes the library by storm, with more than 750 children and another 100 plus teens participating. This year the program focuses on creating finishers - children who reach their goal and accept their prizes.
August -The Explore collection of brand new best-selling trade paperbacks, doubles in size to meet demand. This popular collection is refilled several times a day with additional titles.
September - Grants for Whidbey Reads 2008 pour in: $7000 from Washington State Library; $4000 from Humanities Washington. Planning begins for a big name author and a book that everyone will want to read and discuss with friends, neighbors and other community members.
October - This blog kicks off with its first post, while library staff interview WWII veterans for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The interviews are recorded for podcast on the library website.
November - The library's MySpace site is launched. Teens start commenting and sharing info immediately at http://www.myspace.com/oakharborpubliclibrary They also enjoy playing Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution on the library party Playstation.
December -New carpets and better collections throughout the building, and a new open look at the front as the massive information desk is sacrificed. The book discussion group adds so many new members throughout the year that a splinter group forms. Now I will need to read even more books to keep up with my friends!

Here's my annual haiku to sum it all up:

A year of great change
Social networks call to us
And yet we still read

Happy 2008 to everyone. May reading bring you great joy, ignite your imagination, and lead you to personal growth and spirited discussion.