Alki And Adams Teams Take Top Honors

Congratulations to Alki Elementary School’s team, “George Magician’s Treasures” and Adams Elementary’s team, “The Lightning Round Readers”  who tied for top score last night at the Global Reading Challenge 2012! Congratulations to all teams that made 2012 so exciting.

Alki Elementary had never before advanced to the final round, much less tied for a win. They will participate, with Adams, in the International run-off with Canadian teams in early April.

Proud West Seattle Blog was at the competition and developed detailed posts on the finals here.


Giggles and Competition at the Global Reading Challenge

If you’re a parent of a fourth or fifth grader you may be anxiously awaiting the final round of a very special city-wide competition, The Global Reading Challenge (GRC).  The GRC, an annual contest, drew teams from over 45 schools to the 2012 semifinals on February 22nd. Ten teams that advanced, including Alki, Northgate, Graham Hill, Loyal Heights, and Greenwood, that had never before reached the final round (woo hoo!), will compete in an exciting night-time showdown in the Seattle Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium on March 27 at 7 p.m. Will you be there?

The GRC, dubbed Battle of the Books, quizzes teams about elements from  ten assigned books. As Joan Abrevaya, Friends of The Seattle Public Library board member and volunteer for The Seattle Public Library, says about her four years of deepening involvement with GRC,  “One of the things that I love is talking to the kids and listening to their excitement and focus on the marvelous thing called reading.  They are as involved in reading these 10 books and answering questions as they are about sports.”

The teams, some with catchy names like, “The Title Waves,” prepare in different ways sometimes with a teacher, a librarian or volunteer. Parents help too, when they can, but many of the contestants come from families where parents are too busy to take on support.  But all children take this competition seriously. As Abrevaya notes, “One parent said that her daughter had a “play date” with some friends, during which they quizzed each other in preparation for the semi-finals.”

The winner of the March 27 contest will advance to face Canadian teams in a videoconferenced international final in early April. “There are tears at every session,” Abrevaya says, “when teams do not win but as Mary [Mary Palmer, children’s librarian and organizer] tells the kids: ‘You are already winners. You have read great books and had a great time.'”

Five Reasons We Love Our Libraries

A common adage: “You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone” comes to mind when thinking about The Seattle Public Library. This will be the third year in a row that all libraries have been compelled to close for at least one week during the year because of repeated dramatic cuts to their budget and consecutive years of insufficient funds to support the explosion of information and services needed by our community. We miss our libraries already because of the reduced hours at more than half our branch libraries. When we voted for Libraries For All over ten years ago we had such a different future in mind.

We can change this disturbing trend and  put our libraries back on the path of excellence by letting The Seattle City Council know that we support an August levy to restore and improve core services and to preserve what we have rather than accept yet another year of downgrading.  Consider attending the very important April 3rd City Council hearing on the Library’s request to place this levy before Seattle voters. 

Here are five reasons why we love our libraries and commit to supporting library services. We hope you’ll join us in active library support. Together we can return The Seattle Public Library to the standard of excellence we envisioned and provide it with needed funds to meet changing technological needs and the hopes of our neighborhoods.

1) The Seattle Public Library promotes academic success for all children and students and provides much needed afterschool computer access and homework help for kids in families with financial need. 

2)Libraries are our community gathering points and our city’s classroom.

3)The Seattle Public Library evens the playing field for poor and unemployed adults and helps them recover stability by providing computer access, free information, and job hunting resources.

4)The library is free!  High speed bandwidth and computers, famous authors, books, e-books, databases, podcasts, movies, resources in six languages, classes, tax help- it’s all free.

5) Libraries anchor our neighborhoods by contributing to economic health and promoting an atmosphere of community.


The experience of reading was…….

The experience of reading was….relaxing, immersing, enjoyable, informative, and interesting.  A quiet place in the corner and warm sunshine was a perfect environment for your book. Then, along came e-reading and……suddenly so many distractions…hard to foc….it was hard to…foc….hard to focus… on…all the incoming…email?

Recognize this experience? If so, you’re not alone according to a recent New York Times article about e-reading habits. However, though some people in the article confessed that they’re finishing books less often, industry studies show that e-readers are reading a lot more. Buying habits of e-readers seems to be changing too. In a blog post surveying 705 e-readers in February of last year almost 1/4 of respondents said they buy only e-books since they’ve used an e-reader. A 2011 study on e-reading sponsored by the book industry found that dedicated readers who bought e-readers decreased purchases at indie booksellers locally and increased, by a nearly equal percentage, their purchase of books online. Nationally, libraries acknowledged the trend toward increased e-reading by increasing offerings of digital titles 185% in 2011. 

If you’re new to e-reading or thinking about buying a reader or maybe received one of  the over four million e-readers sold this past holiday season and are still not comfortable with the device then stop into Northeast Library on March 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. They’re offering a class to help you navigate your device and find what you want in The Seattle Public Library’s growing digital catalogue.

Community-focused libraries

Alright, so this isn’t specifically library news but its a great library “re-imagination” project and nonetheless really neat.

Recently, organizers in the Wallingford neighborhood, began the process of developing a tool “library” for the neighborhood. Modeled after the successful tool “library” in West Seattle, the Wallingford library will lend tools to donating “patrons” of the neighborhood.

For more information, check out the My Wallingford post on it.

Upcoming library contests at SPL

In the next few weeks and coming months, The Seattle Public Library will be having a number of contests focused on activity, exercise and reading.

Upcoming contests include:

A) Global Reading Challenge (at the Central library, March 12-15 & 27)

B) “Bikes for Books: A reading Challenge” (at the Green Lake branch)

Note: Any 1st to 3rd grader can join the “Bikes for Books” challenge.

That’s it (more contests to come)