Don’t Go Changin’

One of our board members, Stephanie Anderson, writes a column for her kids’ school newsletter, “Beaver Notes” from Loyal Heights Elementry.  This time she wrote about volunteering with her kids at our Book Sale.  The kids’ names have been changed to protect their identity.

Last weekend I brought seven kids to work at the semi-annual Friends of the Library Book Sale at Magnuson Park.  Scooter and Cupcake have worked every sale since they were little.  They like putting on the Friends’ green volunteer vests, choosing the two free books they earn for volunteering, and making forts of the empty boxes they collect.  Mostly they like the volunteer lounge, full of Top Pot donuts and other treats.  A few years ago I began inviting their friends, and put them all to work.  This time was different, though:  I had four seventh grade boys – I wasn’t too worried about that – but I also had three third graders and I was scheduled to cashier in the CD/DVD section in a building across the street from where they would be.

 As we donned our vests and name tags, I told Cupcake and her friends that, no matter what, they needed to stay together and check in with me.  They nodded solemnly while I spoke but I could tell they were thinking only of the Top Pot donuts arrayed invitingly before them. 

The CD/DVD section was hopping.  I couldn’t leave for over an hour.  When the crowd finally thinned, I raced over to the main building.  Cupcake and one friend were busily straightening books in the children’s section and the other friend, whistling, was toting a stack of empty boxes to the back room.  My heart swelled with pride.

The next time I checked I found them kicked back in the volunteer lounge popping Top Pot donuts in their mouths.  I shooed them back to work and checked on the older boys. In their bright yellow Whitman Ultimate Frisbee jerseys they were easy to spot, fanned out across hundreds of thousands of books, cheerfully carrying empty boxes on their heads to the back room where they were building elaborate interconnected box forts reaching almost to the ceiling.  Raised on Legos, every one of them.

On my next break I browsed the CDs.  Nothing really grabbed me and I was about to stop looking when I saw it:  Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volumes I and II.  As I perused the song list I was a young girl again hearing Just the Way You Are for the very first time.  I realized with a start that I had grown up with Billy Joel – from Piano Man when I was Cupcake’s age, to You’re Only Human when I was old enough to drink.  I’d hang out on my bed and daydream of how my life would be when I was a grown up; I was impatient for something – anything – to happen to me because it seemed nothing ever did.  I thought about Cupcake voicing similar sentiments:  “I don’t want to shower!”  “I wish I could drive.”  “Nothing exciting’s happening.”

Clutching my CD I wanted to tell my nine year old daughter, while you are impatiently waiting for something to happen, imperceptible things are happening to you every day, shaping who you are – you just don’t realize it; and don’t wish it away.    

Just then Cupcake and her two friends came tearing into the building, hopping around and demanding lunch money.  “Don’t come with us,” Cupcake said sternly.  “We’re going to buy lunch ourselves and I’ll bring you back the change.”  And just like that they were gone.  Watching Cupcake walk away I detected a swagger in her step; the Queen of the Book Sale.  


FriendShop is blooming with new artists!

Our first event highlights KAV Designs, Thursday May 6th from 4 to 6 pm. KAV Designs creates stunning earrings — when she is not working by day at a Seattle Architecture firm. The pieces are fashioned from metal and natural stone to help you celebrate earth day all year round!

Save the date May 13th for our next event.  More info to come.

All proceeds benefit The Seattle Public Library.

Need Help With Your Homework?

I’m always amazed by the many resources provided by The Seattle Public Library.  Latest example?  Click here for information on how to get help with your homework, whether you’re young or old. 

First, 11 of the branch libraries have Homework Help Centers, where volunteers help students on a drop in basis during the school year.  Contact these branch libraries for information about when Homework Help is scheduled:  Beacon Hill, Broadview, Columbia, Delridge, Douglass-Truth, International District/Chinatown, Lake City, NewHolly, Northgate, Rainier Beach, and South Park.

Second, you can also get free on-line help from live tutors in math, science, English and social studies seven days a week from 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.  This help is available both in English and en Español.  You will need a Library card and your PIN (personal identification number) in order to log onto the Web site

Third, if the tutors are busy or if you want to look at other resources, the Web site also includes a SkillsCenter Resource Library, with lots of different worksheets, tutorials, and study guides about different subjects.  I took a look at one of the writing tutorials and got some great tips on punctuation.

Now lest you think that homework help is only available to students in K-12 or in college, the Web site also has an on-line Adult Education and Career Center that covers topics like career help, going back to school, and citizenship issues.  There’s even a resume writing workshop video available! 

And once you’ve finished your homework and have some time to relax, consider borrowing one of these books recommended by Friends’ board members:

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, by Louise Murphy. Board member Connie reports that this book is set in occupied Poland during World War II, and tells the story of a 12-year old Jewish girl and her brother who are sent into the woods to flee the Nazis, and how they are able to survive.  The novel provides an intimate look at Nazi-occupied Poland.  Note:  this is not a book for children.


A Walk in the Woods : Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson.    This is a  non-fiction comedic account of two tenderfeet (well, since there were two hikers, I should probably say they had four very tender feet) who try to hike the Appalachian Trail without much preparation or training.    Several reviewers have noted that this is more than a travel memoir, as the trip served as a re-introduction to America for the author after living in England for 20 years.   Board member Joan enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book, so the link above is to the audio version.

Wolf Hall:  a Novel,  by Hilary Mantel.  Board member Liz ‘s take on this book:  “It won the Man Booker prize last year- deservedly so.  Wolf Hall tells the Henry VIII/Anne Boleyn story (yay season 4 of the Tudors started last night!) through Thomas Cromwell’s eyes.  Cromwell comes across as a surprisingly cool guy, Anne as a high maintenance lady, and Henry as his petulant self.  It’s well written and totally engaging. “

See you at the Friends’ Book Sale this weekend!

One of the best bets for this weekend is the Friends’ Spring Book Sale at Magnuson Park.   Most books are $1.00 and there are over 200,000 books (as well as many CDs, DVDs and videos) to choose from.   Hours are:

Friday, April 16, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m  Special preview for members of the Friends, who may buy up to 25 items each.
Saturday, April 17, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 18, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Magnuson Park, Hangar in Building #30, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, 98115.  The park may be reached by Metro bus routes 30, 74, and 75. Free parking is available.

If you’re looking for some great gifts in addition to books, check out the merchandise offered at the sale by the FriendShop.  Remember to bring your own bags and boxes to carry your purchases away — those in the know come with rolling suitcases!  More Book Sale info.

Proceeds go to benefit The Seattle Public Library.