Issaquah-based King County Library System is named No. 1

June 21, 2011

The top library system in the United States is headquartered in Issaquah.

Moreover, strong circulation at the Issaquah and Sammamish libraries — and others across the 46-library system — helped earn the King County Library System the Library of the Year title from Library Journal magazine and Gale, a publishing company.

“We really got this award because of our patrons and our communities,” Julie Brand, community relations and marketing director for the library system, said after the announcement. “It’s really a reflection of their support and their use of us. Going forward, we need to continue to find the ways to be relevant to them in their lives, in how we deliver services, and the sorts of resources and information that we provide to them.”

Organizers cited the library system’s efforts to encourage reading, help people searching for jobs and community outreach. The library system is run from offices along Newport Way Northwest.

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Who’s News

June 21, 2011

Marlena Norwood accepted to UC Berkeley summer program

Eastside Catholic High School junior Marlena Norwood was accepted into the National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine and Health Care at University of California, Berkeley.

In the 10-day conference, students will witness how to suture and perform a craniotomy demonstration, practice drilling into model skulls, participate in simulated clinical rounds and determine the identity of mystery “outbreak” diseases. They’ll also visit with physicians and researchers.

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Library offers prizes for teens to film book reviews

June 7, 2011

Some books make great movies, especially if they have a great director.

For the third consecutive year, the King County Library System is holding the Read.Flip.Win Video Book Review Contest, open to middle and high school students.

Library staff members invite teenagers to shoot a short video about a book they have read. The contest has two categories — video book review and video trailer — allowing participants to create a review for the book or to film a trailer about it.

All videos must be three minutes or less.

“It’s totally a fun contest,” Issaquah teen services librarian Jessica Gomes said. “It’s a highly interactive way of sharing what you’re reading with other people.”

Once teenagers create their video, they have to post it on YouTube and give it the tag, “RFWkcls2011.” Participants can enter as many videos as they want, and each submission must have a registration form.

The deadline for the contest is July 31. A panel of librarian judges will award the winners Aug. 27 during a red carpet event at the King County Library System Service Center in Issaquah.

The top winner in each category will receive a $150 gift card to Best Buy, purchased by the KCLS Foundation. The judges will award mini Oscars to other creative entries.

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City Council confirms, lauds municipal board appointees

May 3, 2011

Onetime City Council finalist Paul Winterstein is going to continue serving the city on the Human Services Commission, the liaison between social service groups and municipal government.

The council appointed Winterstein and 35 other people as members and alternates to city boards and commissions April 18. Terms on the 11 affected boards start May 1. The city does not pay members.

“I am continually amazed at the number of people — and their qualifications — that stepped forward to fill our boards and commissions,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the unanimous decision to appoint the members. “It seems to me in going through the applications and the qualifications of folks, we’ve got an especially strong group of people filling some critical holes on our boards and commissions again this year.”

The city put out a call for board and commission applicants in January. Then, Mayor Ava Frisinger and board officers narrowed the applicant pool, and recommended appointees to the council for approval.

The city is continuing the interview process for alternates to serve on the Sister Cities and Urban Village Development commissions.

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From Presidents to Pants: Rocker reinvents sound for kids

May 3, 2011

Chris Ballew, lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America, performs for a group of youths as his kiddie rock persona Caspar Babypants.By Tim Pfarr

After almost 15 years of rock ‘n’ roll, Grammy-nominated Seattle musician Chris Ballew decided to turn down the gain on his amplifier. In 2009, The Presidents of the United States of America front man formed the children’s band Caspar Babypants, playing shows for parents and toddlers across Western Washington.

The group will make a stop in Issaquah May 7 for a 10:30 a.m. performance at Blakely Hall as part of a literacy event sponsored by a Community Action Grant from the Foundation for Early Learning.

The band’s songs — written by Ballew — are folkie and touch on topics such as centipedes, elephants and frogs. Although the tunes are directed at children younger than 6 or 7, adults might find themselves just as entertained.

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Students get in battle of words at Global Reading Challenge

March 15, 2011

They had read the books over and over. They had quizzed each other. They had triumphed at their schools’ Global Reading Challenge, landing them a spot at the Issaquah School District’s competition at the Issaquah Library.

A group of elementary school students convenes, deciding what to write for their response to a question at the King County Library System Global Reading Challenge. By Laura Geggel

In a room overflowing with about 60 parents, teachers and friends, 42 fourth- and fifth-grade students sat raptly listening as librarians quizzed them about books.

Parent Toni Nankova said her daughter Daniela Nankova absorbed the books like a sponge does water.

“After she was done reading, she would say, “Mom, this book is really good. You have to read it,” Toni Nankova said. “And then she would quiz me on it. If I got it wrong, she’d say, ‘You have to go back and read it.’”

Students began preparing for the challenge in October. Each group had seven people and 10 books to read, with some students reading a few books and others reading the whole stack.

First, they competed against other groups at their school. The winning teams from Creekside, Discovery, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunset elementary schools trooped to the Issaquah Library on March 2 to duke it out with their friends and rivals.

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Posters encourage residents to read

February 22, 2011

With hectic lives filled with chores, errands, work and school, who has time to sit down and read a good book?

Aware of the constant time crunch, the King County Library System developed a time coupon through its Take Time to Read program.

“Chores can wait,” the coupon reads, “Take Time to Read.”

“I flash that one at my family and say, ‘The dishes are going to be there 10 minutes from now,’” Issaquah Library Site Manager Philis Bodle said. “You don’t need a great big block of time to read — five minutes here, 10 minutes there.”

The reading coupons are only one facet of Take Time to Read. It also includes the Winter Reading for Adults program, in which adults 18 or older can tell the library how they took time to read and win prizes for their submissions.

Enter the contest before March 31 at www.kcls.org/taketimetoread for the chance to win gift cards to local stores, including Starbucks, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Barnes & Noble and University Book Store.

Participants can also enter on Facebook by searching for Take Time to Read.

“The kids have all the fun in the summer, so we thought, ‘Let’s let adults have some fun, too,’” library system public relations specialist Marsha Iverson said.

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Timber Ridge volunteers quiz students for reading challenge

February 15, 2011

A group of Issaquah Valley Elementary School girls — Alicja Vickers (from left), Kristin Caras, Zoe Hennings and Samantha Moore — answer quiz questions from Timber Ridge volunteers Joan and Bill Bergeson in preparation for the Global Reading Challenge. By Bob Ploss

For the past six weeks, about 70 students have spent their Friday afternoon recess in the library to review the nitty-gritty details of books.

For the second annual year, Issaquah Valley Elementary School students are prepping for the King County Library System’s Global Reading Challenge — a contest encouraging fourth- and fifth-graders to read 10 books and answer detailed questions about them.

For example, do students know where Brendan Buckley’s father works in “Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It,” by Sundee Frazier? Do they remember who the passengers were on the mystery plane in “Found,” by Margaret Peterson?

The answers are given in true-false or multiple-choice form, and only a careful reader would know the answers — a detective’s office and 36 babies, respectively.

“I know most of the questions,” fourth-grade student Sean Sterling said. “It gets my brain going.”

Senior volunteers from Issaquah’s Timber Ridge community think of questions and meet with Issaquah Valley students in the library. Each volunteer reads one book and sets up shop at a table. Students can choose which book they need to review, grab a seat next to a volunteer and munch on cookies as they answer quiz questions.

The partnership between Timber Ridge and Issaquah Valley coalesced three years ago when Timber Ridge resident Ann Browning began volunteering with the Issaquah Schools Foundation program VOICE — Volunteers Of Issaquah Changing Education.

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King County mails property tax notices to homeowners soon

February 10, 2011

UPDATED — 9 a.m. Feb. 14, 2011

Most Issaquah homeowners should pay about 29 cents more per $1,000 in assessed value on the property tax bills starting to arrive in mailboxes across King County.

Issaquah and county residents started to receive property tax bills in the mail Monday. The county Assessor’s Office released a property tax breakdown late last week.

Issaquah homeowners pay, on average, $11.13 in property taxes per $1,000 in assessed value. The total amounted to $10.84 last year.

Dollars collected through property taxes help fund the Issaquah School District, King County, and numerous state and regional districts.

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The ‘Zone’ marks the spot for online tutors

January 18, 2011

Derek Liu, a Study Zone tutor and Issaquah High School junior, has a bag of study materials available for the needs of Issaquah Library student users. By Greg Farrar

County libraries want children and adults in a zone. The Study Zone.

The tutoring program now offers online help to students in grades kindergarten through 12.

Children can now meet at the library virtually with their tutors, using library computers.

The yearlong program of in-person tutoring will continue at all King County Library System branches, including Issaquah and Sammamish. Read more

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