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Lake Stevens Rotarians hear about library bond

Originally published Jan. 12, 2018

Sonia Gustafson, managing librarian at the Lake Stevens Library, speaks to the Lake Stevens Rotary on Friday, Jan. 12.

Whether it is a water project in Africa or funding scholarships for high-schoolers, Lake Stevens Rotarians are all about service to others.

At their Jan. 12 breakfast meeting, members heard about another effort that, if approved by voters, is intended serve the community. Lake Stevens Library managing librarian Sonia Gustafson presented information about a bond measure on the upcoming Feb. 13 ballot that would build a new, larger library to serve the growing Lake Stevens area.

“Since I’ve been at the library, customers regularly ask, ‘Why isn’t it bigger,’” Gustafson told the group gathered at the Lake Stevens School District Educational Service Center. The current library is about 2,500 square feet, she said. A new library would be eight times larger, about 20,000 square feet, if the bond measure is approved.

Along with more space, a new library would include more books and other materials, more computers … “Really, more of everything,” Gustafson said.  And, the proposed library would have one thing the current library doesn’t have, she said, “If the ballot measure is approved, the new library would have a meeting room available to the community.”

The proposed library would be built on the corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place. Sno-Isle Libraries purchased land in 2016, next to property already owned by the City of Lake Stevens. Gustafson said the location prompts another common question: “Why not stay at the current spot?”

“The existing building is owned by the city and they have other plans for that area,” she said. The city’s downtown subarea plan calls for an expanded North Cove Park, including the area where the current library sits. Some other city-owned buildings at the location have already been removed.

Another question that comes up, Gustafson told the Rotarians, is, “Didn’t we already vote on this?”

A year ago, there were two items on the ballot. The first measure established the Lake Stevens Library Capital Facility Area, passing with 69 percent approval. The second measure was a bond to build the new library. While it received a 66 percent approval, the required turnout fell short by 749 voters and didn’t pass.

The Feb. 13 ballot includes only one measure, the bond that would build a new library if approved, she said. For more information, two in-person open-house events are scheduled and there is an online version. The open-house events are:

Saturday, Jan. 20
10-11:30 a.m.
Community Center
1808 Main St.

Wednesday, Jan. 24
6-7:30 p.m.
Fire District Station 82
9811 Chapel Hill Road 

Sno-Isle Libraries closed Jan. 15

Originally published Jan. 9, 2018

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Monday, Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 16. See locations & hours.

Lakewood/Smokey Point ‘meant to be a library’

Originally published Jan. 8, 2018


Photo by Kevin Clark, The Daily Herald

Paisley Molnick, 5, reads a book during the grand opening of the new Lakewood/Smokey Point Library Saturday morning in Arlington on January 6, 2018.

Sno-Isle Libraries’ newest library now open in Lakewood-Smokey Point

(This article was published in the Jan. 8, 2018 edition of the The Daily Herald and online at

By Kari Bray
Herald writer

SMOKEY POINT — For a 7-year-old with a stack of books balanced precariously in his arms, the reason to visit a brand-new library was a no-brainer.

“I wanted to have books and I really like reading,” said Jack, who went to the Lakewood/Smokey Point Library’s grand opening with his younger sister and their dad, Malcolm Eyman of Marysville.

The Eyman family was among dozens of people who filled the library Saturday morning. Speeches and a ribbon cutting were followed by loosely organized chaos as children, parents, elected officials, library staff and others squeezed past each other and around bookshelves, chairs, tables and bouquets of green, yellow and white balloons.

The Lakewood/Smokey Point location is the latest addition to Sno-Isle Libraries. It’s a demonstration library — the district’s third in recent years — and is meant to provide resources to a previously under-served area while gauging the need for a permanent library. The new Mariner Library at the south end of Everett also is a demonstration; another on Camano Island led to a permanent location in 2015.

It took a lot of work to turn vacant commercial space at 3411 169th Place NE into the Lakewood/Smokey Point Library, said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, executive director of Sno-Isle. She called it an example of the excitement and growth that is sweeping the area.

“Your day is here, and your library is open,” she said.

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said libraries are vital hubs for communities. Along with books, there’s high-speed internet, a conference room and librarians who can offer help. The new library also is near stores and restaurants, to create a convenient outing for families.

The mayor said she was impressed as soon as she walked in.

“This looks like it’s always been a library,” she said. “I think it was meant to be a library.”

The Sno-Isle Board of Trustees several years ago started looking at the need for new libraries around the district, which spans Snohomish and Island counties. Smokey Point “jumped out at us,” said Marti Anamosa, board president.

She sees it as a gathering place for neighbors and an anchor for those with limited resources.

It’s about opportunity, said Michael Mack, superintendent of the Lakewood School District. With multiple schools just down the road, the area has sorely needed a library, he said.

The new library has four employees and others will rotate through, manager Jocelyn Redel said. The space was designed for convenience, with holds, check-outs and customer service near the entrance. The children’s section is large, and kindergarten readiness will be a focus, Redel said. Family story times are set to start soon and there will be math and science programs for preschool-age students.

Though there are libraries in Arlington, Marysville and Stanwood, accessing them has gotten tougher as the area has grown, Redel said. It can be hard for people in Smokey Point, Lakewood, Lake Goodwin, Silvana and other nearby communities to get to them as traffic worsens and the libraries themselves become more busy. Redel views the new location as a way to ensure equal access.

The library’s hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.



Mental Health forums continue in January

Originally published Jan. 2, 2018

Mental Health: Let's TalkDoes your high-schooler seem depressed? Is the whole family being worn down by a loved one’s dementia? These and other problems will be explored as the Sno-Isle Libraries Issues That Matter series “Mental Health: Let’s Talk” continues in January.

Six programs are scheduled this month at libraries in Snohomish and Island counties.

Parenting a Troubled Teen will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at Camano Island Library. High school mental health counselor Rochelle Long will explain how to tell if teens are battling with deep mental health issues, or simply reacting to social pressures, changing bodies and normal moodiness.

Trauma Timeline: Breaking down barriers for community healing will start at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at Darrington Library. Art therapists Kim McAndrews and Bonnie Walchuk will talk about what they learned while doing research in the wake of the 2014 Oso landslide, which led to their report "Supporting a Rural Community with Art-Based Experientials Following a Natural Disaster."  McAndrews is a mental health counselor and Walchuk is a family therapy intern.  Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin will moderate the discussion.

Alzheimer's Disease: Treatment Options, Mental Health of Caregivers will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 at Lynnwood Library. The panel of experts will include representatives from:

  • Northshore Senior Center
  • Homage Senior Services, and
  • Alzheimer's Association of Washington State.

Youth and Mental Health will be the subject of the forum hosted by Lake Stevens Library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 at Lake Stevens School District's Education Service Center, 12309 22nd St NE. Panelists will include:

  • Hannah Herkert, Student Mental Health Support Specialist, Lake Steven School District, and
  • Christina Riesen, National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Veterans and Mental Health will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at Monroe Library. Panelists will be:

  • Dan Overton, Program Coordinator, WDVA Traumatic Brain Injury Program
  • Arleen Gibson, Founder, H3 Horses Healing Heroes
  • Jim Bloss, veteran and community activist/volunteer
  • Ben Kendall, therapist, Snohomish County Music Project, and
  • Facilitator will be Donald Lachman, Special Projects Coordinator, Washington Department of the Veterans Administration.

Youth Mental Health is the focus of the Oak Harbor Library program at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30.
Participating organizations will include:

  • Whidbey Health EMS
  • Oak Harbor Police Department
  • Forefront, and
  • Oak Harbor School District.

For a complete list of upcoming events, archived recordings of past programs, and lists of community and library mental health resources, visit

Sno-Isle Libraries' Issues That Matter programs are meant to encourage community conversations on high-profile topics. These events are free and open to the public. Funding is provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. 

Lakewood/Smokey Point Library grand opening on Jan. 6

Originally published Dec. 26, 2017


Staff members stock books in the children's area at the new Lakewood/Smokey Point Library, which is scheduled to open Jan. 6.

Time-lapse video of  stocking the library

(This article was published Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 in the Arlington Times newspaper)

By Douglas Buell
Arlington Times

If you love reading and the irresistible draw of an aisle of alphabetized book titles, the new Lakewood/Smokey Point Library will open its doors Jan. 6.

The grand opening celebration begins at 9:30 a.m. in space leased by Sno-Isle Libraries at 3411 169th Place NE, Suites A-C, just off Smokey Point Boulevard, next to Lowe’s and Tractor Supply.

The library will normally be open Tuesday through Saturday, but will start with special hours from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 7-8.

Customers will be able to access all materials and resources available at the other 22 community libraries across Snohomish and Island counties, Sno-Isle spokesman Jim Hills said.

The library system last summer signed a five-year lease for about 4,000 square feet of space.

The Sno-Isle Library 2016-2025 Capital Facilities Plan identified that the growing Lakewood-Smokey Point community deserves better library services.

The library is considered a demonstration project, enabling both Sno-Isle and the fast-growing Lakewood/Smokey Point community to see how library services can best be delivered, Hills said. It’s modeled after the Mariner Library near128th Street SW and I-5, which was also recommended for a demonstration library in the facilities plan.

The new Lakewood/Smokey Point Library will feature a “laptop bar” where visitors can sit on stools at tall tables and access computers or laptops via wi-fi, for a coffee shop-like experience.

The Smokey Point site is in a high-traffic shopping area, on Community Transit bus service routes and near a Park and Ride center. The strip mall also houses a state vehicle licensing office, among other tenants.

The library district's facilities plan states that students, retirees and seniors will benefit most from a more easily accessible library in the vicinity. Six public schools are within three miles.

The Arlington and Marysville areas are expected to grow by 16 percent to a population of 123,497 by 2025, with most of that growth expected in Lakewood-Smokey Point.

Sno-Isle Libraries holiday closures

Originally published Dec. 18, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Sunday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 25 for Christmas. All libraries will also close at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31 and be closed all day Monday, Jan. 1 for the New Year's holiday. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 2. Have a safe and joyful holiday season!

Opinion: Take the library levy to the voters

Originally published Dec. 12, 2017

(This opinion was published Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 in the South Whidbey Record and Whidbey News-Times newspapers.)

Even in this age of digital and online content, libraries remain vital institutions in communities across the nation.

Many are still community gathering sites, and great places to find books or conduct research. But many have changed with the times and are as vital as ever.

Sno-Isle Libraries are among those. They provide friendly spaces where people can get access to computers and digital media, take classes, meet in groups, attend events or even find jobs.

There’s even an online library.

Like most things, however, costs are increasing for the two-county library system, which serves more than 700,000 people and libraries in Clinton, Langley, Freeland, Coupeville and Oak Harbor in Island County alone. As a result, libraries officials predict a $2-million budget deficit in 2019.

The right solution is straightforward. The district should ask voters within the library district, which encompasses Island and Snohomish counties, for the 9-cent increase in the levy rate, for a total rate of 47 cents per $1,000.

The 9-cent hike represents a property tax increase of $27 a year for the owner of a $300,000 house.

The other option is to make cuts, which could mean reductions in library hours, Sunday closures, cuts in employees or purchases of fewer books and other materials.

Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees is set to make a decision on how to move forward at the meeting Monday.

Taking the issue to the voters gives them the chance to decide how much they want to support libraries. Hopefully, it’s enough to pass the modest increase and prevent cuts that could begin to erode the important role the libraries play in their communities.

Libraries of one form or another have served vital roles in civilized societies, and in informing and educating the public.

In the United States, philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie saw the value in public libraries and literacy and built hundreds of them across the nation.

The role of libraries has evolved and increased in many ways, making their significance and importance more important than ever.

Trustees vote to put levy on April 24 ballot

Originally published Dec. 12, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries will ask voters to maintain funding with a ballot measure in April, 2018.

“Going to the voters is not a decision we take lightly,” Board of Trustees President Marti Anamosa said before a unanimous vote at the Dec. 11 regular meeting. “Libraries are vital to our communities. Addressing the levy rate now enables the library to continue providing the resources that are so important to our communities and customers.”

The resolution passed by the trustees calls for asking the voters to consider restoring 9 cents to the library district's regular operating levy. The 2018 levy rate is expected to be 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. If voters approve the ballot measure scheduled for April 24, 2018, the levy rate would go to 47 cents in 2019.

Sno-Isle Libraries receives 98 percent of its funding from a property-tax levy across most of Snohomish and all of Island counties.

“The predictability of property-tax revenue helps in budgeting, but unfortunately costs often rise more rapidly than revenue,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. The library district’s strategy, she said, is to do what most people do; budget carefully and put some away in savings.

“We last went to the voters in 2009,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Those were tough times and we promised that if our communities said ‘yes,’ we wouldn’t come back for at least five years and we’ve stretched that five years to nine. We made good on our promise by using what was necessary to maintain services and reserved the rest until needed.”

Woolf-Ivory said the need to draw from reserves began three years ago and was used again to balance the 2018 budget. “By the 2019 budget, there won’t be enough in regular funding and the levy stabilization reserve to maintain current services.”

Board President Anamosa said the combination of the library district’s history of “careful, thoughtful and practical” budgeting with recent community survey results made the decision to go to voters a reasonable choice.

“The results from phone, email and online surveys, as well as three open-house events, indicate to me that the community wants an opportunity to vote,” Anamosa said.

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation President Terry Lippincott thanked the trustees for bringing the levy question to the voters.

"The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation partners with Sno-Isle Libraries to bring strong programming to community libraries," Lippincott said. "We're excited to be part of the community support that includes corporate partners, friends-of-the-library organizations and a huge group of dedicated library volunteers."

Voter approval of a library operations levy means library services would continue at current levels. If voters do not approve the ballot measure in April, the next step would be budget cuts for 2019 and service reductions.

“We project that the 2019 budget would need to be cut by $2 million,” said Woolf-Ivory, adding that additional reductions would be needed in 2020 and subsequent years.

“If cuts are necessary, the only way you get to $2 million is examining reductions in personnel and materials costs,” Woolf-Ivory said. Such budget reductions would mean:

  • Fewer open hours, fewer library services and fewer librarians would be hired as current staff members depart.
  • Fewer new titles, a smaller collection and longer customer wait times for print and digital books, movies and music.

Without additional revenue, budget reductions in 2019 would be followed by additional cuts in 2020 and beyond, reducing the library district's ability to meet requests and expectations of communities and customers each year.

Sno-Isle Libraries operates 22 community libraries, bookmobile, outreach and online services available to more than 743,000 people across Snohomish and Island counties. More than 476,000 library cardholders use a variety of services annually. Children and families attended 7,280 library programs, drawing 221,000 attendees in 2016.

Librarian appointed to Oak Harbor School Board

Originally published Dec. 6, 2017

Whidbey News-Times photo

Jessica Aws, youth librarian at the Oak Harbor Library, following her appointment to the Oak Harbor School Board on Dec. 5. 

(This article was published Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in the Whidbey News-Times.)

By Laura Guido
Whidbey New-Times

The Oak Harbor School Board appointed Jessica Aws at a special session meeting Monday to fill the vacant position left by Christine Abbott.

Cory Glach, who ran in the general election for another spot on the board, and Aws both applied for the position in November and were interviewed by the board during the meeting.

Abbott resigned on Nov. 1 because her family received orders from the Navy and is moving later in December.

Aws is a youth librarian at the Oak Harbor Library and serves as chair of the Oak Harbor Youth Coalition.

“Education is my passion,” Aws told the board during the interview.

She said she felt her education has been empowering, and she wants to work to ensure all students also have a chance at having so many opportunities as well. Aws received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s in medieval archaeology and library and information science.

She said her experience with community networking would position her to engage with district parents to find out their needs and vision for the district.

Aws said she also believes her experience making decisions in the youth coalition would transfer well to serving on the school board, and she would want to make sure all voices are heard and considered before moving forward on complicated issues.

She is interested in the the McCleary decision, a state Supreme Court decision which ruled that the Legislature had failed in its obligation to fully fund education, and especially how laws passed as a result of it will affect local levies.

Her goals for students include going “above and beyond what is required for education,” by increasing access to extracurricular activities.

Aws moved to Oak Harbor just over a year ago and said she didn’t consider joining the board until this vacancy opened up.

“I see this opportunity to be able to continue to really network and be able to, especially at the organizational level, see where the library and school district can come together and serve our students to the best of our abilities,” she said.

Aws will be sworn in at the next board meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.

New Lake Stevens Library on Feb. 13 ballot

Originally published Dec. 4, 2017

If voters approve a Feb. 13, 2018, bond measure, the current Lake Stevens Library (top) would be replaced with a new, larger building on property near the corner of  99th Avenue NE and Market Place (below).

Voters will get a chance to decide on a new library for the Lake Stevens area.

The final step to putting a library bond measure on the Feb. 13, 2018, ballot was passed unanimously Dec. 4 by the Snohomish County Council.

“The Lake Stevens community has told us for years that a new, larger library is needed,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “The actions and support of the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library, the Lake Stevens Library Board, the City of Lake Stevens, the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees and now the county council bring that opportunity to the community.”

County Council member Sam Low, previously a member of the Lake Stevens City Council, said he supports going to the voters. “The citizens of Lake Stevens have told me they want to have a voice with regard to a library in our city,” Low said.  “This vote will allow that voice.”

The Lake Stevens City Council on Oct. 24 unanimously passed a resolution supporting putting the bond measure on the Feb. 13 ballot. This past summer, both the Lake Stevens Library Board and the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library sent letters to the city council calling for a larger library for the community.

The bond measure on the ballot will be for up to $17 million to build and furnish a new 20,000 square foot library. The location of the new building would be near 99th Avenue NE and Market Place in an area known as Chapel Hill.

“Our 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan identified the need in the Lake Stevens community as a priority,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Community members were clear that they felt the current library is too small for this rapidly growing area.”

The current library is about 2,500 square feet. It is in a city-owned building in an area identified by the city for redevelopment. The location of the proposed new library is included in a subarea plan by the City of Lake Stevens. The new building would be owned and maintained by Sno-Isle Libraries.

The proposed site was purchased by the library district in 2016 and is adjacent to property owned by the City of Lake Stevens. Woolf-Ivory, Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer and others from the city and library district have been in discussions on how to collaboratively best use the parcels.

This is the second time the library bond measure will go to voters. On the Feb. 14, 2017 ballot, the bond measure received a 66-percent “Yes” vote. While the approval rate was above the required 60 percent, voter turnout missed the needed threshold.

Also on the 2017 ballot was a measure establishing the Lake Steven Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA). That measure passed with a 69 percent “Yes” vote and didn’t have a voter-turnout requirement.

The proposed bond would be for 20-years and repaid by a property-tax levy assessed within the LCFA boundaries, which mirror those of the Lake Stevens School District. The projected levy rate would be 21.1 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $350,000 home would pay $73.85. When the bonds are paid off in 20 years, the levy would go away.

Board of Trustees adopts budget for 2018

Originally published Nov. 28, 2017

The 2018 budget for Sno-Isle Libraries is in place following unanimous action by the Board of Trustees at the Nov. 27 regular meeting.

“This budget focuses on the 2017-19 strategic priorities for the library district,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said in presenting the budget during the meeting at the district’s Service Center in Marysville. “The budget also continues to integrate elements of our 10-year capital facilities plan.”

On the revenue side, the budget is based on just more than $57 million in total revenue. Property-tax revenue accounts for 96.7 percent of the revenue. Property-tax revenue comes from a levy on properties in unincorporated Snohomish and Island counties as well as cities that have annexed to the library district.

The estimated levy rate for 2018 will decrease to 38 cents for each $1,000 of assessed property value, well under the 50-cent cap allowed by law. The decline is due to a combination of the law limiting levy increases to not more than 1 percent a year and rising property values.

To maintain current levels of service, the 2018 budget includes a transfer from reserves totaling $4.8 million.

“Using reserves in this manner was always part of the library district’s long-term budget planning,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Voters approved a levy-rate increase in 2009. For the six years starting in 2010, funds were placed into the levy rate stabilization reserve account. Starting in 2016, we began using those savings to maintain service levels.”

On the expense side of the budget, the two biggest items are related to people and materials. Salaries and benefits account for 68 percent of the expenditures for 2018. New materials for the library district collection – books, music, movies, digital resources and more – add up to 13.4 percent of the operating budget.

Among the other expenditures include professional and contract services at 4 percent of the budget and software and licensing fees at 2 percent.

Online calendar, room reservation system improved

Originally published Nov. 27, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries has upgraded its online calendar and meeting room reservation software.

"We think customers will find the new digital tools bright, attractive and easy to use," said Julie Titone, manager of marketing and web services.

It's now easy to sync events on the library calendar with a personal calendar, or to share them with friends through social media and email. Planning to attend an event will be easier, too. Each event listing will include a clickable map and other information about the host library.

The calendar and room reserve website links will remain the same. Anyone with questions or suggestions should contact Sno-Isle Libraries through chat, phone, text or email, or by talking with staff at their local library.

Stanwood Library pair are senior at Sno-Isle Libraries

Originally published Nov. 27, 2017

Stanwood Library staff members Almira Jones (right) and Marlene Moodie are the longest-tenured employees in the Sno-Isle Libraries system.

Sarah Arney photo

(This article was published Nov. 21, 2018 in the Stanwood Camano News)

Staff Reporter
Stanwood Camano News

Even though they don’t get to sit around reading books all day, Marlene Moodie and Almira Jones still love their jobs at the Stanwood Library.

The two Camano Island residents are the “longest-tenured librarians in the Sno-Isle Library system,” said Charles Pratt, Stanwood’s managing librarian.

As children’s liaison, Jones has been telling stories to kids in Stanwood since 1982, after starting at the library in 1978.

Next August, she will celebrate 40 years with Sno-Isle Libraries.

Jones moved to Camano in 1974 after a lifetime of adventures as an “Air Force brat.”

Now, she enjoys taking children on adventures around the world.

“I focus on a different letter for each story time, starting with the name of a place,” Jones said. “This week the letter was “I” and we went to Iceland. We journeyed by ship through the Panama Canal to get there.”

The kids color the country’s flag and Jones searches for recipes of the country that start with the same letter.

Maybe it was ice cream for Iceland.

Even more senior in the system, Moodie has done a variety of jobs in the Sno-Isle system and she admires Jones’s storytelling ability.

“A long time ago, when I was branch manager at Brier, the storyteller was out sick, and since the program must go on, I stepped in to fill her spot,” Moodie said. “I did this and I did that, then looked at a clock and only 15 minutes had passed.”

She then realized that telling stories was not as easy as it sounded.

“The kids love Mira (Jones),” Moodie said.

Jones said it is fun being somewhat of a celebrity around town.

“In the grocery store, I often hear in the distance, ‘there’s Mrs. Jones’ or ‘there’s the library lady.’”

Jones has watched her story-time babies grow up and bring their own children in for story-time events. She enjoys a good challenge. At 68, she is now adding to her responsibilities a new position, reference librarian.

“She’s a great role model,” Moodie said about Jones. “She’s always willing to step out of her comfort zone.”

In the community, Moodie might be best known for her purple hair, but the staff knows more.

“Marlene is a true treasure,” Jones said. “She provides support for everyone.”

Because she has held so many positions within the Sno-Isle system, she understands how it all works. She came in very handy when Sno-Isle’s computer system crashed recently.

“She did a yeoman’s job,” Jones said, to get the system back up and running.

The crash was bigger than the public imagined, the librarians explained. Every item, system-wide, had to be handled twice. Removed from the shelf, rerecorded, and replaced on the shelf.

In the midst of it all, they were always concerned about their customers.

The senior librarians are all about service.

“We tried hard to maintain normalcy and find what everyone needed,” Moodie said.

Now serving as circulation manager in Stanwood, Moodie has gone somewhat natural recently with “human-colored hair,” albeit two different shades.

Moodie started with Sno-Isle Libraries as a page at the Arlington Library when she was in high school, but her 41 years does not include that. Now 60, her professional life with Sno-Isle started in 1976, right out of high school, but she took time off when her son was born. He also served as a page while in high school, she said.

“I earned the Golden Cane Award when the last longest-tenured person retired two years ago,” said Moodie, who first worked in interlibrary loans at the service center and drove the bookmobile for 13 years, then supervised pages in Mountlake Terrace, before managing the branch library in Brier.

She came to Stanwood three-and-a-half years ago, shortening her commute from Camano considerably.

“Now I can go home for lunch and feed the dogs,” said Moodie, who cares for six rescue dogs.

She also enjoys being somewhat of a public figure in Stanwood.

“It’s a nice, friendly town,” both librarians agreed. “It’s fun running into people you know at the grocery store. It’s nice to be a part of the community.”

“It wasn’t like that in Brier,” Moodie said, where people have so many different options for shopping.

The librarians see their role at the library as a window to the bigger world beyond Stanwood. For both, being a librarian is more than a job.

“We help people find information,” Moodie said. “I like to share as much knowledge as I can.”

The same is true for Jones, too.

“Children are like sponges,” she said. “Kids who attend story times at the library do better at school.”

The women say that Sno-Isle Libraries supports them in their own efforts to learn, share and grow.

“We have trainings going on all the time,” they said.

Even after 40 years on the job, neither have plans to retire.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Jones said. I used to be afraid about making a mistake. Now, I’ve gotten to the age that I’m not worried about it. I’ll just go for it.”


Open houses to focus on library funding

Originally published Nov. 22, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries is hosting three open-house sessions to discuss library budgets and funding.

The events are set for:

  • 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Coupeville Library
  • 1-5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Snohomish Library
  • 6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Mountlake Terrace Library

At the Dec. 11 regular meeting, the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees are scheduled to decide whether to reduce the budget and services for 2019 or place a measure on the ballot in spring 2018 to ask voters to restore the rate of funding and maintain the level of library services and resources.

If library-district trustees decide to place a library funding question on the April, 2018 ballot, the proposition would ask voters to consider restoring 9 cents to the library levy rate for a total rate of 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value beginning in 2019. The previous levy-rate restoration was in 2009.

Sno-Isle Libraries closed Nov. 23

Originally published Nov. 17, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Thursday, Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving Day. Regular hours will resume Friday, Nov. 24. See locations & hours.

Books are this Pearl’s oyster

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017

Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is a librarian, book reviewer, teacher and author.

This Wednesday, Nov. 8, Pearl will wear two of those hats when she takes the stage at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA) not once, but twice in events hosted by the Friends of the Langley Library.

At 11 a.m., Pearl the reviewer will share her list of favorite books of the year. Pearl and her reviews and lists are well-known from appearances on public radio and her books “Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason,” “More Book Lust,” “Book Lust to Go” and “Book Crush,” which included recommendations for children and teens.

This is Pearl’s 20th anniversary of her first book talks at WICA. In honor of the occasion, Pearl will include favorite lists and recommendations from years past.

At 7:30 p.m., Pearl will be back on the WICA stage to talk about her own and very first novel, “George & Lizzie.” This benefit book reading and signing will include anecdotes about her own journey into fiction. Now on the receiving end of reviews, Sno-Isle Libraries’ reaction by KatC includes, “This book surprised me and will stick with me. This story will appeal to anyone who is interested in human behavior, …. George & Lizzie ticked off all the boxes for me.”

Tickets are required with proceeds to benefit the Friends of Langley Library and WICA.

The Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, is at 565 Camano Ave, Langley. 

‘Business Pros’ series looking for 2018 presenters

Originally published Nov. 6, 2017

A good business depends on good people.

Sno-Isle Libraries’ successful “Business Pros”  series is no different. The ongoing series of workshops, classes, lectures and presentations is popular because local business experts are sharing their secrets for success.

The 2018 series is taking shape now with applications open for those who want to share their expertise. Successful applicants will help future entrepreneurs and current business owners develop new skills that will assist them in starting and growing a business.

This process only happens once a year, so interested presenters must act now to take advantage of this opportunity.

Proposals for the series should cover a step of starting or running a business and include learning outcomes that can be measured in a post-event survey. Learning outcomes are statements of what attendees will know or be able to do by the end of the event. These statements often start with, “By the end of the session attendees will ..."

Session topics of particular interest include:

  • General marketing
  • Social media marketing beyond Facebook
  • How to start a business
  • Crowdfunding
  • Customer service

Parameters for proposals include:

  • Must be submitted through the online form.
  • Sessions should range from 1-3 hours in length. The best-attended sessions in 2016-17 were under 2 hours.
  • Presentations must have learning outcomes.
  • Presentations may include contact information for the presenter.
  • Sno-Isle Libraries will not provide presenters with a list of registered attendees due to privacy policies.
  • Sno-Isle Libraries will market classes to the public and presenters are encouraged to promote to their networks.
  • A contract with Sno-Isle Libraries is required to ensure engagement and payment.

For more information, contact Emily Felt, librarian at the Monroe Library,, 360-794-7851 x4132.  

Sno-Isle Libraries closed Nov. 11

Originally published Nov. 5, 2017

Sno-Isle Libraries will be closed Saturday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. Regular hours will resume Sunday, Nov. 12. See locations & hours.

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2017 brings 11 ideas to the stage

Originally published Nov. 4, 2017

Dhruvik Parikh, a student at Jackson High School, speaks during TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2017, Saturday, Nov. 4, on the Kamiak High School Performing Arts Center stage. Photo gallery

There are 11 new ideas in the Sno-Isle Libraries collection.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, 11 speakers shared themselves, their perspectives and ideas in TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2017.

“Welcome to the library,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said to attendees at Kamiak High School, nine community sites across Snohomish and Island counties and watching the live video stream and other online viewers around the world.

In this third year of what Woolf-Ivory calls a “library without walls,” the event theme was “Sharing Our Future” and focused on the connections between the individual and the community.

The speakers included two high-school students, Dhruvik Parikh from Jackson High School in Mill Creek, and Sargun Handa, a 16-year-old at Kamiak in Mukilteo. Also taking the stage were CEOs, Tom Sebastian of Compass Health and Kathy Coffey of Leadership Snohomish County.

Nic O’Neill, president of the American Kiteflyers Association, showed how a kite is not only fun, but a lesson on living. Farmer Frog founder Zsofia Pasztor related how gardens at schools can grow food as well as children and communities. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Pasztor said in her talk. “We are the seeds; we are the gardener.”

Also speaking were Ron Carucci on understanding how to use personal power for personal and community good; Mark Perez, a Cascadia College student about service to others, Bill Bernat on interacting with depression and those dealing with depression; Dottie Metcalf Lindenburger on ways to test life before jumping in, and Richard Yonck why humans should embrace technology as the “greatest ever partnership.”

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries has become a popular and anticipated annual event. This year, in addition to live streaming to community sites and the web, the event offered an interactive opportunity for online questions and comments through

More than 1,000 people watched the event at Kamiak and the community viewing sites. More than 1,400 online viewers came from 18 countries, 29 states and 120 cities. Individual videos of each presentation will be created and posted to the YouTube channel. Links will be available at

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is a founding partner for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries. “TEDxSnoIsleLibraries makes the best ideas visible to our communities,” said Paul Pitkin, executive director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. “Our Foundation and other partners are delighted to invest in this effort so that audiences can attend free of charge.”

Other organizations backing the 2017 event include:

  • Community Transit
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Everett Community College
  • Snohomish Health District
  • Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett
  • The Daily Herald
  • KSER
  • Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce
  • OverDrive
  • Starbucks
  • Washington Energy Services
  • Coastal Community Bank
  • SnoCo Arts

About Sno-Isle Libraries

Sno-Isle Libraries serves 743,540 residents in Snohomish and Island counties through 22 community libraries, online services and Library on Wheels.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.



Lots of ways to view, participate in TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2017

Originally published Oct. 31, 2017

From the beginning, TEDxSnoIsleLibraries has been one of the hottest tickets around.

“In the first year, 2015, we just had no idea,” Sno-Isle Libraries Communications Director Ken Harvey said. Collective finger-crossing apparently worked because the inaugural event at Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) was “sell-out” in just a few days. In 2016, all the seats at ECA were spoken for in just 30 hours.

Tickets for this year’s Nov. 4 event at Kamiak High School Performing Arts Center were gone in under a day.

So, are the ticketless doomed this year? Nope.

“We made plans to expand the alternative viewing opportunities,” Harvey said.  “The live video stream will be available at eight community libraries and one additional community site. Seven of those nine sites still have seats available.”

And, the decision was made to open the dress rehearsal on Friday, Nov. 3, to the public.

“All of the speakers will run through their entire talks for the rehearsal,” Harvey said. Audience members may also get to see how such an event comes together. “After all, it is a rehearsal.”

And if you can’t make it to any of the viewing locations, there is always your phone, computer or other web-connected devices.

“We’ve always live-streamed the event to our website and the community viewing locations,” Harvey said. “But we wanted to add that sense of community that participants get at any of our locations.”

To help bring the web viewing community together, TEDxSnoIsleLibraries is adding to the online experience.

“On the day of the event, the live stream will be at,” Harvey said. “Right next to the live-stream window will be a comments window powered by Glisser. Viewers can choose to just watch the live stream or watch and sign in and start sharing comments with others who are watching and commenting.”

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is a founding partner for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries. “TEDxSnoIsleLibraries makes the best ideas visible to our communities,” said Paul Pitkin, executive director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. “Our Foundation and other partners are delighted to invest in this effort so that audiences can attend free of charge.”

Other organizations backing the 2017 event include:

  • Community Transit
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Everett Community College
  • Snohomish Health District
  • Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett
  • The Daily Herald
  • KSER
  • Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce
  • OverDrive
  • Starbucks
  • Washington Energy Services

About Sno-Isle Libraries

Sno-Isle Libraries serves 743,540 residents in Snohomish and Island counties through 22 community libraries, online services and Library on Wheels.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.


It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people,
that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.
- Eudora Welty