Clown Around

Join the Burke Museum at Seattle Public Libraries this summer for this interactive game with familiar storybook characters, real museum specimens, puppets, and prizes.

Children who read 10 books over the summer can win a FREE pass to the Burke Museum.  Take your reading logs!!!

The Burke Museum is a sponsor of the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

  • Northeast Branch:  4 p.m. Wednesday, July 28
  • Central Library: 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 5

Swing into the FriendShop for a sweet summer treat!

Jessie Oleson is a Seattle-based writer, illustrator, gallery owner, and cake anthropologist. Perhaps more importantly, though, she holds the esteemed position of Head Spy at, a dessert detective agency dedicated to seeking sweetness in everyday life. Curious about what that means, exactly? Basically, it’s her job to discover and share totally sweet stuff with the rest of the world via her site, and more recently, run a sweet little retail gallery called CakeSpy Shop in Seattle! Check out the goods at

Stop by the FriendShop Thursday August 5, 2010, 1:00-5:00pm and see the sweetness!

Summer Music

This week’s summer reading program spotlight features two fun musical programs.

20,000 Volts Under the Sea – Not just another kids band… these guys are rock n’ roll adventurers! Join them as they go 20,000 Volts Under the Sea.  This deep-sea, rock musical is fun for the whole family and filled with interactive games, zany characters and, of course, great live music.

  • West Seattle Branch:  11 a.m. Monday, July 19
  • Northeast Branch:  4 p.m. Monday, July 19
  • Douglass-Truth Branch: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 20
  • Queen Anne Branch:  6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20
  • Rainier Beach Branch: 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 21

She Sings Sea Songs – Popular Northwest children’s performer Nancy Stewart sings songs with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest coast, including tide pools and ferry boats. 

  • International District/Chinatown Community Center: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 11
  • Southwest Branch: 11:00 a.m., Thursday, August 12
  • West Seattle Branch: 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 21

Armchair Travels: What the Board is Reading

The board members of the Friends of the Seattle Public Library seem to be doing a lot of armchair traveling these days, even if it’s exploring what it means to be an outsider here in America.  Here’s a sample of what they’re reading in case you’re looking for recommendations:

Tall Man : The Death of Doomadgee, by Chloe Hooper.  This true-crime story explores the death of an Australian Aborigine who was arrested for swearing at a white police officer and then died in jail within an hour.  While the book follows the manslaughter trial, Hooper also explores Aboriginal life and the long history of institutional racism in Australia.  Board member Connie found the story tragic, exhausting, and worth reading.  Critics have compared the novel favorably to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.



Nomad’s Hotel : Travels in Time and Space, by Cees Nooteboom; translated from the Dutch by Ann Kelland.  Nooteboom is a Dutch novelist and travel writer, and this series of travel essays covers trips made from the 1970s through 2002.  The Booklist review notes that “descriptive travelogue ranks second to considerations of the destinations as repositories of the past. Whether in Venice, Isfahan, or Timbuktu, Nooteboom sees a place through its physical relics and literary associations. The traveler’s innate foreignness, however well informed before arrival in a new place, burgeons with significance for Nooteboom. A traveler arrives, sees, and departs, not likely to return.”


Gertrude Bell : Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, by Georgina Howell.   Board member Mary enjoyed this biography of Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary woman who took the world by storm in the early 1900s.   The starred review in Booklist by Donna Seaman notes that “Born to British industrial wealth and civic prominence during the Victorian era, [Gertrude Bell] possessed boundless self-confidence, courage, and vitality. The first woman to earn top honors in history at Oxford, Bell was fluent in six languages, and became an intrepid traveler and celebrated mountaineer. Tragically unlucky in love, she romanced the world instead. Discovering her spiritual home in the Middle East, Bell transformed herself into a cartographer, archaeologist, writer, and photographer as she undertook perilous journeys to fabled desert outposts, commanding the respect of powerful Bedouin sheikhs. During World War I, Bell became the expert on Mesopotamia for British military intelligence, and a more crucial force in the forming of modern Iraq than that of her friend, T. E. Lawrence. From Cairo to Basra to Baghdad, Bell, against fierce adversity, devoted herself to justice.”

Digging to America, by Anne Tyler (e-book read by Blair Brown).  This novel follows two families who meet by chance at the airport to greet their newly adopted baby girls from Korea.  One family is very “American,” while the other family has more recent immigrant roots.  As the two families get to know each other, the Iranian-born narrator grandmother explores impressions of American, and what it means to try to fit in . . . . or not.  Board member Joan especially enjoyed listening to Blair Brown’s reading of the book, so the link above is to the Books on Tape version, which can be downloaded electronically.  It is of course also available in hardback and in large print.




Science Friction — Hot Summer Science Programs Featured in the Summer Reading Program

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Northwest Science Writers Association to present two hot, hot, HOT programs at the Central Library:

The Science of Avatar:  Scientists will discuss real research frontiers touched on by the hit movie Avatar, and will take questions from the audience.  Ex-astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, president and chief executive of the Museum of Flight, will moderate the discussion.  For ages 12 and up on Sunday, July 18, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library.

Sparring Scientists:  Is Pluto a Planet?:  Alan Boyle, author of The Case for Pluto and a nationally known science blogger at msnbc, will discuss fights in the scientific community as to how to define a planet.  His book will be available for purchase at the program. For ages 12 and up on Sunday, August 29, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library.

Summer Reading Update

Summer Reading at Seattle Public Library has been going on for a month now.  Visit for more information.  

  • So far, 3,522 readers of all ages have signed up for Summer Reading.  That is 27% of our goal of 12,858.
  • Participants have read 31,987 books, 22% of the goal of 148,008 by the end of August. 

If you haven’t signed up, you can sign up online or at your local branch.  If you have already signed up, keep reading! 

Come say hello to the Friends at a local Farmer’s Market!

This summer the Friends of the Seattle Public Library will be visiting Farmer’s Markets all over the city.  Come say hi, buy one of our bags, learn more about us and what you can do to support the Seattle Public Library, or sign a petition.  We can’t wait to meet you!  Here are the markets we will be visiting and the dates:


West Seattle

Sundays 10-2

August 1, August 29, October 10, November 14


University District

Saturdays 9-2

 August 14, September 18, October 9


Columbia City

Wednesdays 3-7

July 28, August 18, October 6



Sundays 11-3

September 12, October 10



Saturdays 10-2

July 24, August 28, September 11


Lake City

Thursdays 3-7

July 15, August 12, September 16


Phinney Ridge

Fridays 3-7

September 10

To learn more about the markets go to the Neighborhood Farmer’s Market alliance website.