Primary Election Resources

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Be sure to vote in the August 4th primary election; it’s easy to drop off your ballots at any public library branch in the city or county. Not sure you are registered to vote? Check out the My Vote page to check your status, your districts, and your elected officials. Get educated on the propositions and local candidates on the ballot by reading the Online Voters Guide and articles from the Spokesman Review’s coverage of the 2015 elections. You can even see how much money candidates and political committees have raised by searching the Public Disclosure Commission‘s database.


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A Comic-Con to Remember

Improbable Theory of Ana and ZakAna is an A student frantic to stay at the top and have lots of activities on her college applications.  She also has to keep an eye on her thirteen year old genius brother, Clayton, who is in the same grade at Tacoma High School   Zac is a gamer who lives for WashingCon, the annual Sci Fi Comic Book Convention in Seattle. Unfortunately he lifted most of his last Health report from Wikipedia and his teacher is threatening to flunk him unless he joins the quiz team for their tournament in Seattle. The tournament and Washingcon are on the same weekend!  When Clayton sneaks out of the hotel to go to Washingcon, Zac and Ana have to join forces to find him before curfew.  This mad romp of an adventure and unexpected romance will keep you on the edge of your seats.  I recommend the Improbable Theory of Ana and Zac by Brian Katcher to readers in grades seven on up.


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With a cluck cluck here and a cluck cluck there

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry FarmerI think Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones is a totally charming and captivating read.  I may be biased.  I do like chickens. (See some of mine below)  Sophie Brown has never had chickens (in fact, she has never had a pet) Sophie and her parents have inherited Blackbird Farm from Great Uncle Jim. Sophie finds a little white hen hiding in the cluttered farmyard. A little white hen with superpowers! Way out in the country, with no internet, Sophie has to write letters to the Redwood Farm Supply for chicken information (in addition to going to the library, of course).  Sophie also writes to her deceased grandmother as well as Great Uncle Jim.  (They don’t write back)  I loved the illustrations in this book.  I highly recommend this fun summer read to kids in grades five and up.chicken1


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Digital Public Library of America

dpla-logoIf you do any sort of research online, you probably know that many libraries, museums, and organizations have scanned books, photos, and other items and made them available to the public. Our Northwest Room collections of photos and yearbooks are an example of these types of collections. But with thousands of websites like this, how can you find something specific? The Digital Public Library of America is a good place to start. DPLA does not collect or scan items by itself, but it takes the information describing an item from various official hubs from across the country and makes that information searchable in one place. If you search on the main page for Spokane, for instance, you’ll retrieve links to over a 1000 images, full text files, and even a couple of videos, most of them historic. DPLA also has some fun “exhibitions” that gather similar documents together on topics like the transcontinental railroad or women pilots. DPLA is a fascinating website to explore, especially if you are researching history.


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Streaming Media with hoopla

HooplablueDo you hate waiting? Get instant gratification with the library’s hoopla streaming media service. As long as you have an internet connection, you can borrow and instantly watch movies or television episodes, listen to music albums or audiobooks, or even read comics and ebooks online. Download the hoopla app to an iDevice, an Android device, or a Kindle Fire to download your media and use the service when NOT connected to the internet. Library card holders can borrow up to 10 titles a month. You’ll usually have three days to watch videos, one week to listen to an album, and 21 days to read a comic, ebook, or listen to an audiobook. Titles are always available, so there’s no need to be added to a waiting list. Just make sure you have the time to finish your titles since they will disappear from your account when their time expires.


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The Fiction Queen Recommends

Susan Creed - our resident "Fiction Queen"Naomi Novik’s new fantasy, Uprooted, tells the story of Agnieska, a young woman who can’t believe it when she is chosen by her Valley’s Dragon; she’s not as pretty as her best friend. Chosen for what is not completely clear to her except that he hasn’t eaten any of the others chosen over the years; they all return but are no longer happy living in their small villages. What she learns about both her own magical powers and the magic that pervades the whole country, especially the threatening Wood, make for a compelling plot with lots of excitement and a touch of romance. For those of you who, like me, are fond of the adult fairy tale genre, this book is a must.

Here’s another recent favorite of mine in the ‘adult fairy tale’ genre: While Beauty Slept retells that well known story of the maiden asleep in the tower from the point of view of her mother’s servant. It’s dark and devious with a delightful twist at the end.uprooted

If neither of these suit your fancy, ask your librarian to show you Novelist, our database for readers. You’ll find lists of suggestions for this genre as well as other favorites.

–Susan