Oak Harbor Library Blog

Monday, May 18, 2009

Measuring Customer Comfort

What makes a comfortable inviting library? How can a welcoming atmosphere be measured? These are some of the questions being asked at Sno-Isle Libraries this month.
To learn how our customers assess the welcoming, comfortable aspects of each Sno-Isle library building we will be surveying in-person, on site between now and the end of May. Please drop in and give us your input on the Oak Harbor Library. We'll be asking questions about lighting, seating, shelving, study space, furnishings, comfort, cleanliness and space allocation.
We appreciate your input, and invite you to enter our gift basket drawing, just for participating! Please let staff know if you would like to help administer the survey. Mary C

Monday, May 11, 2009

Writers on Whidbey

I had the privilege last week of participating in an extremely pleasant and interesting evening with two well-known Whidbey Island writers: Elizabeth George and Valerie Easton. The event, sponsored by Hedgebrook writers' retreat and held at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley, is part of a series featuring local authors with connections to Hedgebrook. "Hedgebrook invests in women who write by providing them with space and time to create significant work, in solitude and community, and by developing an international network to connect writers and audiences." Valerie Easton was at Hedgebrook in 1999. She was new to writing at the time, having spent many years in her previous career as a librarian. It was a gift, she said, to be truly cared for and allowed to simply explore her art with no expectations or responsibilities. Elizabeth George has been a significant donor to Hedgebrook in recent years.
Amy Wheeler, Executive Director of Hedgebrook, was a delightful moderator for the program. She introduced the authors, asked great questions and drew out the connections between Easton, the garden journalist/author, and George, world-renowned mystery writer. Both writers talked about their use of images in writing: Elizabeth George travels to the scenes of her crimes and explores intimately the visual images that will feed her novels. She showed slides of some of the locales in Careless in Red, her most recent Thomas Lynley mystery, and discussed the ways in which they help her characters' stories unfold. Valerie Easton, who depends on photographers and layout artists to make and select the images she uses in her gardening books and articles, talked about the way pictures often direct her stories. Easton has written an article about George's multi-acre garden on Whidbey Island which will appear in Pacific Magazine within the next few weeks. George joked that as she looked at Easton's slides of beautiful and inviting gardens she saw places and ways in which a murder could be committed - perhaps her characters will visit the Pacific Northwest someday.
Altogether a rewarding experience. We are fortunate to have such talent in our local area. Mary

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The number of Island County residents calling 2-1-1 for assistance is rising. From 107 calls during the first four months of 2006, to 334 calls January through April of 2009, use of 2-1-1 service has grown by more than 200%. Utility bill assistance, rent & mortgage assistance, the need for low-cost housing and increasing need for transportation seem to be the growing concerns in Island County this year.
As the economy struggles, more people than ever are renewing their library cards and becoming first-time card holders. Books, movies, music and computers are just a few of the resources available to all. Attend a free program or check out the DVD or Explore books collections. They are changing every day.
Need help with online resources? Book a Librarian for a free, 30 minute one-on-one tutoring session on the topic of your choice. Learn how to browse the Internet, use library databases, set up an email account or use the online catalog. Here are some other ways to get help:
  • Connect with a Librarian 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ask questions in real time! Librarians from Sno-Isle Libraries and around the country will help you.
  • Ask A Librarian By E-Mail For those times when you need a simple answer or help with our web site, e-mail your question to our reference librarians.
  • Ask a Question by Phone - Call us Toll-Free: 877-SNO-ISLE (877-766-4753) or 360-675-5115 during library hours.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best Investments for Economic Stimulus

Yesterday I attended a Town Meeting with Congressman Rick Larsen. The two main topics of interest were H1N1 flu (we are no longer using the "S" word) and the plans for economic recovery. Roger Case, MD, Health Officer, Island County Public Health, said that H1N1 is likely already on Whidbey Island. The good news is that while it is readily transmitted, most cases are relatively mild, and those who get it now will be immune to the virus in next year's flu season. Wash your hands, cover your cough, etc. and go to http://www.cdc.gov/ for the latest and best information.
Congressman Larsen discussed a variety of economic recovery strategies currently being employed at federal, state and local levels. He mentioned that dollar-for-dollar, increasing food stamp benefits is the single best form of economic stimulus. That’s because the help the federal government gives to needy people is spent almost immediately. Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com has noted that $1 in food stamps generates $1.73 in increased economic activity—better than any other stimulus investment.
Investing in people pays off, and your local library is a great resource for economic recovery. You'll find a wealth of information for job seekers, people in transition, and small business owners. The library also has resources to help children learn, budget-friendy entertainment such as books and events, and free wireless and Internet access for all. Mary