Children’s fiction author puts down roots in Everett

Enjoy a post written by Emily Dagg, EPL’s head of Youth Services, about this weekend’s Ways to Read author event on Saturday February 6th where Carole Etsby Dagg will be talking about her latest book: Sweet Home Alaska.

Cowgirl CaroleLocal author Carole Estby Dagg is inspired to write about pioneers on the move. Perhaps it’s because she moved a lot as a child. Her father was a civil engineer, so her family moved wherever the next bridge or tunnel building project took them. In 12 years, Carole attended 11 different public schools.

Every time they moved, she and her two younger sisters were only allowed to bring two boxes of toys each. Luckily, there was no limit on the number of books. Carole’s most loyal friends followed her everywhere, including Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. And the first thing her family did after each move was to register for a library card.

A voracious reader and learner, she raced ahead in school, finishing high school at age 16. She then attended the University of Washington where she changed her major multiple times before deciding to study law. She was admitted to Law School at the age of 19; however, a summer job with the Seattle Public Library changed her plans. It only took her one year to complete the two-year library degree program at the University of British Columbia.

Instead of becoming a lawyer she married a lawyer and started a family in Seattle where she worked as a children’s librarian. In the recession of the early 1970’s, Carole’s young family was caught up in the wave of young professionals leaving Seattle in droves. She, her husband, and two young children moved several times: to Anacortes, then Anchorage, then Seattle again, then Edmonds, before settling down in Everett in 1977.

Carole - leaning smile-124Everett had almost everything on their wish list: good career prospects, big old houses, lovely views, great schools, beautiful parks, family-friendly neighborhoods, and a wonderful public library. Both children were tired of moving at that point and wanted Everett to become their official childhood home. They got their wish, and remained in the same house until college.

Meanwhile, public libraries were engaged in layoffs. So, Carole went back to college to become a Certified Public Accountant. Why? Because in the help wanted ads there were more listings for accountants that anything else. In the accounting field she continued blazing trails. After a few years of experience, she became the Snohomish County head of Financial Analysis and Reporting.

Always on a quest for knowledge, Carole continued taking college courses on diverse subjects. In 1979, Carole enrolled in a computer programming class with the goal of streamlining payroll for the County. At the kitchen table on evenings and weekends, she wrote code and successfully created a simple COBOL program. Her children were curious, so she explained the patterns of zeros and ones, and demonstrated how punch cards worked. An early adopter of telecommuting, she connected to work using a rotary-dial phone and a modem with a handset cradle.

When a children’s librarian position opened up at the Everett Public Library, she gladly traded in her punch cards for puppets and returned to her favorite career. However, she only lasted a few months in that position before she was promoted to be the library’s new assistant director. After she retired from librarianship, Carole began pursuing her third career: children’s author.

SweetHome_FINALHer first book, The Year We Were Famous (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) is an award-winning historical fiction novel based on Carole’s own pioneer ancestors. That book took 15 years to become published; the second book was “only” a five-year process. Sweet Home Alaska (Penguin Group USA, Feb. 2, 2016) is also inspired by a real-life event; her son’s move to Palmer, Alaska.

That’s all I’m going to disclose about my mother’s new book. I’ll let her tell the rest of the story this Saturday February 6th at 2pm in the Main Library Auditorium. She plans to talk more in-depth about her inspiration and describe how she researches specific time periods. Her talks include many visuals and photographs, gathered during the research phase.

There will also be cake and sparkling cider, plus Sweet Home Alaska souvenirs, to celebrate this very sweet book launch.

Resolutions, Library-Style

Resolutions at Your LibraryEveryone makes them, even if we don’t always admit to it. Resolutions are as ingrained in most people’s New Year’s activities as lasagna and movies at home champagne and midnight kisses. If you made some resolutions you’re not sure you can stick with, you should really take another look at your local library. Here’s a handy guide to some of the big ones:

I want to lose weight. Browsing the stacks in the 613.25 (diet), 613.7 (exercise), and 641.5635 (cooking for weight loss) areas will give you a plethora of support and ideas to help you shed the pounds. Unfortunately, just reading the books isn’t enough (wah wah). You actually have to follow through. Luckily we also have workout DVDs to keep you moving through our gloomy winter days. You can also learn about the obesity epidemic in Snohomish County at the Evergreen Branch Library on January 13th and at the downtown library on January 19th.

I want to read more/differently/with others. If you feel like you’re stuck in a reading rut, I think the best thing to do is to talk to other people about what they read, and joining a book club is a great way to branch out right away. You get to meet new people who also love books, and you get an added bonus of having a shared reading experience. Who could ask for more? Thankfully here at EPL more is what you’ll get. Our Main Library discussion group meets monthly. Their January pick, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, will be discussed January 25th. On the other end of town, the Southside Book Club meets every other month at the Evergreen Branch. Their next selection, Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, will be discussed February 9th. And if you want to delve into Northwest history you should check out the NW Room’s quarterly book group. They’ll be meeting March 28th at the Main Library and discussing Skull Wars by David Hurst Thomas. Can’t make a book club commitment but still want to discover great books? If this blog isn’t enough for you, check out Novelist. You can easily slip down this rabbit hole of book recommendations, read-alikes, and more.

I want to start a new hobby. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, my girl Linda has got you covered! She hosts regular meetings of the Crochet & Knit Club at the Evergreen Branch Library a couple of times a month. Beginners just need to bring a ball or skein of plain 3 or 4-ply yarn (not the fuzzy stuff) and a J or H crochet hook size 8, 9, or 10 knitting needles. I have no idea what any of that means, but Linda is a pro and has the patience of a saint. You’ll find in her a fabulous instructor as you learn your knits from your perls.

I want to learn to appreciate a wide range of cinema. You’re in luck, my friend! We screen two different films each month, one downtown and one in South Everett. The downtown library has a monthly screening and the focus is usually an indie or foreign film, usually ones I have never heard of but once I see the promotional materials I get really excited to see them. January 24th we’ll screen the 2013 Italian film Salvo. And our Evergreen Branch is still rolling strong with the Evergreen Cinema Society film series the last Wednesday of the month. Each year has a new theme, and there’s always a lively discussion. They’ve shown comedies, Hitchcock films, and more. This year it’s a lot of love for indie films, starting January 27th with The Squid and the Whale.

I want to learn a new language. What do ESL/ELL, Mandarin Chinese, and Pirate have in common? You can learn all of these languages and more than 60 others with Mango. Access is free, navigation is intuitive, and there’s even a mobile app to take your language learning with you on the go. So really what I’m saying is there’s no excuse to start learning, like, right now.

I want to research my roots. You’ve probably heard of Ancestry.com, but did you know that through the library you can access it for free? This always makes me giddy, telling people that this fascinating, yet typically pricey, resource is ours for the taking. When you’re logged in you have access to over 4,000 databases and 1.5 billion names. One caveat: you can only access Ancestry.com while inside the library. But once you’re here you’re going to want to find a cozy seat so you can get lost in the journey of building your family tree. Did you find some new fourth cousins? Then click over to ReferenceUSA and search out those addresses!

I want to start using this new e-reader/tablet. Through services like 3M Cloud Library and OverDrive you have access to literally thousands of eBooks and eAudiobooks, including some of the biggest bestsellers. If the queue for the print book is overly long, chances are the digital holds list is much shorter, and possibly nonexistent. You also have access to free digital magazines, too, through Flipster. Whether you’re stuck in a waiting room or taking a vacation, you can load up reading material 24/7 with just a few clicks.

I want to learn new tech skills. Microsoft Imagine (formerly Microsoft IT Academy) is where it’s at. Once you create an account you’ll have access to all kinds of classes and resources to improve your computing prowess. Courses cover all sorts of skills and levels of tech-savviness on the user’s part. You can learn the ins and outs of the Windows 10 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010, 2013, or 2016. Or for the more advanced, there are courses for learning HTML5 app development and SQL Server database fundamentals. So really what I’m saying is there’s something for everyone, and who knows? Maybe you’ll impress your boss, get a raise, and be a corporate star. It’s the New Year, baby, and when it comes to dreams the sky’s the limit!

EPL staff aren’t immune to change, either. We’ve come up with our own resolutions specifically related to the library. If you click a photo below you’ll be taken to their original resolution posts on Facebook. I’m the scared-looking one sitting next to a couple of giant stacks of books. That I own. And have never actually read…yet.

sarahs library resolutionlisas library resolutionleslies library resolutionmichelles library resolutioncarols library resolutioneileens library resolution

There’s no denying the appeal of a fresh start in the new year. No matter your resolutions, there’s help among the stacks and servers at your local library. As for me, holy cow. I have a lot of reading to do!

NaNoWriMo 2015

NaNoWriMo headerNational Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to those in the know, happens every November. It’s a time of creativity and encouragement aimed at budding authors. If you ever wanted to write that book you’ve been dreaming of, NaNoWriMo is the time to do it! This year we asked you to share what you were writing for NaNoWriMo and promised we would share it. So without further ado, here are some of our favorites!

Author’s Name or Handle: Elizabeth Ratcliff
Novel Title: The Answer Within
A short story about three girls who start out in junior high. One goes to New York, one goes to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and the third is shot and arrives at the hospital with no blood pressure and no pulse.

Author’s Name or Handle: Susan Shatzka Maass
Novel Title: Alice’s Garden
I am working on a historical novel based on the lives of my great-great-grandparents.

Author’s Name or Handle: Steve Garriott
Novel Title: Tripping the Con Fantastic
A lawyer-vampire and her jinni partner use their skills to con other fantastic creatures out of their ill-gotten gains. But when the pair pull the con on the wrong creature, their lives are on the line.

Author’s Name or Handle: Curtismith
Novel Title: Annasophia
A woman who experiences her day with curious wonder through childlike simplicity, is arrested for disrupting the peace.

Author’s Name or Handle: Mark R. Weirich
Novel Title: The Gods of Toberi
An inter-steller probe shows life forms on another planet.
A manned exploration finds the life forms destroyed by an earth virus on the probe. Plants turn out to be the intelligent life forms heard from on the way. A war ensues. After the war, one of the plant life-forms adopts an orphaned child born on the way. Thus begins the journey of M’ness D’pree and his human ward Tamara Mattier.

Author’s Name or Handle: Staci Nichole
Novel Title: Angel Armies
It began as a youth project acknowledging the worthwhile qualities and attributes of others every day for two weeks. It became a revolution.

Author’s Name or Handle: @patbreyes
Novel Title: An American Classroom
A collection of short stories about a 4th grade southern California classroom and the students’ very different home lives. Some have the nuclear family experience, most are happy to have a break from their day-to-day realities.

Author’s Name or Handle: Diana Dovgopolaya
Novel Title: Fairy Dust Sprinkled Over Darkness
A short story with a dark twist on the love tragedy of Peter Pan, and a gender swap of Wendy and Pan.

Author’s Name or Handle: Marissa Dummel
Novel Title: The Dragon Guard Chronicles Book #1: The Guard’s Awakening
Being a teenager is difficult enough. Now add in being an ancient guardian descended from one of the Knights of the Round Table and you’ve got poor Marina. Marina is your average fifteen year old Washingtonian girl- she is a junior, plays clarinet in band, loves her family and has boy problems. She is invited to school in the United Kingdom, where she discovers a hidden world.
This world was created by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table with the help of the dragons, of course. Though, on day one, Marina manages to make an enemy of the most popular girl in school, find out she’s one of the Dragon Guard- descended from Sir Tristan himself- and has discovered she is half of the star crossed lover’s of the Guard. The other half? Just the most popular boy in school.
Along with going through junior year, Marina has to also learn how to control her power over Water, balance school politics, and figure out her relationship with Arthur who is the Fire to her Water. Not to mention they also have to find their Dragon Partners and, oh you know, save the world from the descendants of Mordred and Lady Morgana.
Will Marina master her powers? Will she figure out her relationship with Arthur? Will she pass junior year? Read “The Dragon Guard Chronicles Book #1:
The Guard’s Awakening” and join the Guard in their journey into the Dragon World to find out!

Author’s Name or Handle: Diana McGowan
Novel Title: Everything Before Us
A short story about the events that eventually lead up to the forming of a young couple’s relationship.

And finally…I’m not playing favorites, but seriously—writing 5 books?! Genius!

Author’s Name or Handle: Zanzibar 7. Schwarznegger (on NaNoWriMo: Trilleth)
Book 1:Novel Title: Purple Text Talk (older children’s novel)
Aria has everything: a best friend she spends most of her time with, a mostly-great family, and a cell phone she treasures just a little too much. When her dad loses his job, can she make the adjustments to a new life or will she be too caught up in the old one?

Book 2: Novel Title: The Annals of Bobian (YA Humor)
The Bobian has gone without ice cream for far too long.
Will his quest for ice cream continue to land him in (mis)adventures, or can he finally get to that sweet finish at the end of the tunnel?

Book 3: Novel Title: Spaghetti Theory and Other Chaos Permutations (YA SF)
In the midst of a world decimated by a two-fold plague that leads to strict social rules and even stricter medical laws, Zipad is conceived with not one but both Variants of the virus. Will an experimental procedure save his life or will he die upon birth, remembered as one of the greatest mass murderers of the twenty-first century?

Book 4: Novel Title: The Wicked Witch of Whatever (YA Humor)
Andrew has it all: social standing, good grades, and a pretty cheerleader on his arm. But when a chance encounter with a psychic medium reveals he is fated for so much more, will his girlfriend Cass take things too far?

Book 5: Novel Title: Beta Beware! – book 2 of the Figments series (fantasy humor)
DJ is in desperate need of beta readers for her finished manuscript. When Christopher Collum agrees to read hers if she’ll read his, she thinks the worst part will be keeping her eyes open long enough critique the formulaic rewrite. But when a plot bunny drags her into a game world where she is just a pawn, DJ learns just how real Christopher’s world can be… and how dangerous. Bridge games, backwards prophecies, and a snarky game narrator will keep DJ on her feet to the very end– if she survives that long.

So I guess now you can officially say you’re a published author. You’re totally welcome, by the way. Just be sure to give me a shout-out in your book’s acknowledgements.

Arts and Crafts at the Library

P1020257Did you know that the library offers many wonderful programs for children and adults? Well, if you missed our arts and crafts series called “Crafternoons” in July, here’s some of the books we used and the projects they inspired.

indexThere are 52 wonderful ideas in Art Lab For Kids by Susan Schwake. We used the ‘Tiny Paintings on Wood’ project but you may be interested in the drawing, printmaking, or mixed media ideas. This is a well-thought-out guide with simple, clear explanations of technique, combined with inspiration from established artists. These projects will enable children to feel successful and encourage them to explore art as a form of expression.

index (1)We used the ‘Watercolor Magic’ project from Art Lab for Little Kids by the same author. This project involved drawing with white crayon on white paper, painting with watercolor, getting the surface really wet and then sprinkling it with salt. The result was many fine abstract paintings.This book was developed for the younger set and begins with an introduction on materials and setting up a space for making art. The lessons that follow are open-ended and to be explored over and over – with different results each time.

h2o color

indexWe made (I think) awesome shopping bags out of old t-shirts. You can get this project and others from DIY T-Shirt Crafts by Adrianne Surian. Creating something useful and stylish doesn’t have to take ages or require expensive supplies. Complete with step-by-step instructions and stunning photographs, each T-shirt craft is simple enough for beginners to recreate and can be finished in 60 minutes or less.

tshirt

 

index (1)Print & Stamp Lab by Traci Bunkers includes 52 ideas (I guess one for each week of the year) for handmade, up-cycled print tools. Learn to create print blocks and stamp tools, all from inexpensive, ordinary, and unexpected materials: string, spools, band-aids, flip-flops, ear plugs, rubber bands, school erasers and a slew of other re-purposed and up-cycled items. We used paper cups to create the music prints below:

P1020260

 

index (2)We plan on using Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodabaugh for planning our fall craft projects. Focused around surprising and easily accessible materials like shipping boxes, junk mail envelopes, newspapers, maps, found books, and other paper ephemera, it has 22 projects aimed at inspiring children to create amazing paper crafts. I love the tiny Airstream trailer made using duct tape. You will too.

index (3)If you and your kids are not that into crafts, try these other ‘lab’ books. Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Heinecke includes 52 fun science activities for families to do together. Using everyday ingredients, many of the experiments are safe enough for toddlers and exciting enough for older kids, so families can discover the joy of science together. You can whip up amazing science experiments in your own kitchen.

index (4)The title of Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play and Enjoy in Your Garden says it all. It is a refreshing source of ideas to help children of all ages learn to grow their own patch of earth. The lessons in this book are open-ended and can be explored over and over.

 

Our wonderful librarian Elizabeth has also organized a craft table at the Evergreen Branch which is there everyday! Children who visit the branch are able to do awesome, creative crafts each time they visit the library. These crafts provide fun hands-on activities for kids and their parents to do in the library. They also connect art and science with featured books and help develop small motor skills – many kids enter school not knowing how to hold a pencil. Don’t wait for our fall craft programs. Come on down to the library and check out these and other books to unleash your creative spirits!

Music Swap Wrap Up

swap

Trying something new at work can bring a mix of emotions: excitement and anticipation when people start responding to it, and fear and anxiety that something might go wrong. Over the last couple months I experienced a lot of these things as I worked towards our July music swap. I’m happy to say that the result was mostly positive, though there were some downsides that resulted in a very valuable learning experience.

First the pros, since everyone likes a happy story. As soon as I started planning this event, my excellent co-workers were quick to rally to offer their assistance. Equally invaluable was the friendly willingness of two bands, Fauna Shade and Crater Lakes, who agreed to play my weird little event for free, even providing all their own equipment. As the event approached, our swap items were a little sparse until I received a call from Julie Muhlstein asking for all the details; her wonderful piece was what we needed to open the floodgates, and a variety of music poured in. On the day of the event we were visited by around 60 people who rummaged through the swap bins, enjoyed the bands, and walked out happily toting some new music. We even had some neighbors hanging out their windows and deck doors to watch, which was fun to see.

Now the cons. We were loud and we caught some of our neighbors unaware. Though I had reached out to the residents at Library Place and posted flyers around town, I had failed to find a sure-fire way to give a heads up to our neighbors to the north. This led to a few disrupted afternoons and unhappy phone calls. To those folks who were upset by the noise our concert generated, my sincere apology – I am truly sorry. I learned an invaluable lesson about outdoor acoustics and neighbor-friendly volume which will be applied to any future events I might organize. I also learned about how gracious people can be when you listen to their feedback and take it to heart. Thank you for being understanding.

On the whole, I’m happy I was able to try something new at the library. It was a lot of fun to see how willing friends, colleagues, and neighbors were to come together to make something different happen. Thanks to everyone who participated in a variety of ways.

On a semi-related note, here are my quick picks for July music new arrivals – place your holds now:

Hiatus KaiyoteHiatus Kaiyote – Choose your Weapon (Flying Buddha) – This is hands down my favorite album of the year thus far. From start to finish it’s a joyride of blended styles: RnB, Soul, Drum and Bass, Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, and much more. It’s really impossible to sum up – you just have to trust me and give it a listen.

BilalBilal – In Another Life (Entertainment One Music) – A solid soul album with a little funk. Though Bilal is an established artist in his own right, you can appreciate the influence artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder have had on his music. This isn’t to say that Bilal is imitating anyone – his style is refreshingly original.

Fuzz Skating Polly – Fuzz Steilacoom (Chap Stereo Records) – Gritty, growling, totally punk rock. This album is loud and fun. A simple description for a pretty straight-forward album. It’s worth a listen.

 

 

 

A Dream Come True

January meeting  Boys in the Boat Everett Reads

My dream to start a book club ignited about 6 years ago when my husband and I stepped into a coffee shop in downtown Yakima: the smell of fresh roasted coffee, the inviting ambient atmosphere, the comfortable seating, the ample space to play chess or cribbage OR, as I imagined, ‘have a book discussion.’ As I sat there sipping a good brew my wheels began to spin.

The idea percolated in my head for a year or so, but I couldn’t get past my imagined ‘ideal’ setting. I finally decided to just step out and give it a shot. First I contacted my local Everett Public Library which was extremely handy since I work and live nearby. Anita manages the library’s Book group collection. She walked me through the process of borrowing and loaning out books. Each book set provides the borrower with discussion questions and a sign out sheet to keep track of who borrows which book. Generally a book club will meet every month or so, returning the finished book and picking up the next one.

snowflowerFeeling a boost of confidence and equipped with a set of 10 books, I invited girlfriends to meet at my home. Five showed up and I made the 6th. A good number for starting out. That first auspicious evening I felt nervous; preparing light refreshments was the easy part selling my dream seemed a bit more daunting. My guests arrived. Introductions were made followed by discussion and explanations of how we would work our group. Filled with anticipation and excitement I passed out Lisa See’s, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a book I’d selected for our first discussion.

We reconvened a month or so later to discuss the story of Lily and Snow Flower set in rural China during the 19th century. I thought this was an exquisite story and was certain everyone would agree, but unfortunately some members were quite disturbed by the traditional practice of foot binding. Sadly within the first year one, then two, then three and four gals dropped out and the book club died. I didn’t count it as a loss. I chalked it up to a learning experience and was able to see the value for what it was at the time. The spark of a dream continued to flicker and I made a few less energetic attempts but eventually shelved the idea.

Then a couple of years ago the thoughts of having a book club here at work surfaced; my manager showed genuine interest and enthusiasm. This new book club idea was flavored with the concept of making food the central theme for discussion. I researched food themed book clubs but decided I wasn’t brave enough to try a strangers cooking. Meantime Alan, our branch manager, had gained a vision for the south Everett library to have a book club and was not quick to give it up.

bookclubbooks

Long story short, with support, encouragement, and the help of co-workers the Southside Book Club launched a year ago. The book club has been dubbed: ‘Terrific books, substantial discussions, and light refreshments!’ Over the last year the library has weathered a year with cut backs and schedule changes, but the Southside Book Club survived! The Southside Book Club is open to the public. Books are made available at the Evergreen Branch reference desk a month in advance or you can check out any available copies from the library collection. Last week we enjoyed a lively discussion of Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife. The remaining books and discussions for 2015 are: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand August 25th, The Cove on October 13th, and on December 8th The Rosie Project.

Upon reflection I had to let go of my cozy coffee shop with mood lighting ideal and realize the opportunity and potential staring me right in the face. This past year has been exciting: meeting new people, listening and sharing thoughts and ideas and making new friends. A dream come true! In preparing for our last discussion I discovered this great quote by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.

Stranger Than Fiction: After Dark in the Library

stf-alice_0What does happen at the library when the doors have closed and the people have left? Do all the characters contained in our many volumes come out to talk amongst themselves? Is it o.k. to skate through the stacks? You can answer these questions and many more by attending our after hours gala: Stranger Than Fiction: After Dark in the Library.

On Saturday, March 7, 2015  from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the Main Library you have the opportunity to be entertained by the Book-It Repertory Theatre performing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and enjoy food provided by some of Everett’s best restaurants.Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online or at the door on the night of the event. 

friendsAttendees are encouraged to wear a costume representing their favorite author, character, or book–but costumes are not required, and we hope you’ll have fun however you choose to dress.

All proceeds will go to the Friends of the Everett Public Library, and will benefit the library’s annual summer reading programs for children and adults.

So what are you waiting for? Purchase a ticket today and find out what really happens in the library after dark.