Lazerwood: Technology and Craftsmanship in the Heart of Seattle

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah from Lazerwood Industries about the Northwest’s knack for Imagetechnology and the spirit of craftsmanship and innovation that comes with the sector. Lazerwood emphasizes the natural treatment of wood with electronic forms and celebrates in the creative cross-sections.

The FriendShop at The Seattle Public Library – Central Branch is featuring Lazerwood as a local company throughout the month of June! We’ve got an array of wood iPhone cases just in time for graduation and Father’s Day gifts!


What makes wood aImages an artistic material so special? How do you see this natural resource working in conjunction with technology?

We chose to work with wood because we wanted to add natural warmth to our digital life. Wood is amazingly durable, ages well and is sustainable; all factors that contributed to our choice.

Could you describe the process of lazer and hand treatment in creating your phone case designs?

We source all our wood from a mill in North Carolina and hand treat each sheet of veneer with stain. The veneer is then cut down to a size that will fit in our laser cutter, which looks like a large sawdust spewing printer. The laser cutter is networked to a computer which allows us to cut as much or as little as we want. All packaging and fulfillment is also done on site so our quality and attention to detail is something we keep very hands on.
What qualities makes Lazerwood a “Seattle” born-and-bred company? Does Northwest culture inform your creative design at all?

We love being apart of the PacNW culture that encourages small and local businesses. Our entire region benefits from the supportive climate for creatives and in turn,  Seattle is a city which drives culture for the entire coast and beyond. We wouldn’t want to run our business anywhere else.

What are some of Lazerwood’s dream collaborations or artist partnerships?

We are just coming back from our first convention in New York and are humbled by the number of people who wanted to work with us. We are planning on a collaboration with Rex Ray as well as some artist in New York who we are still negotiating with. Very exciting stuff! Stay tuned. We also have plans to expand our product line to include lamps and clocks, which we are super excited about.


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager,


Attic Journals Arrive at the FriendShop!


The Friends of the Seattle Public Library chatted with Attic Journals’ creator, Michelle Sanders, to see how this Portland, OR business transformed a hobby into a successful small business. With insights and tips on how to make what you love, what you do, Michelle shares with the Friends the wonder that can come from rediscovering the worth in an old, well-worn book.

Attic Journals found its beginning in the humble stacks of tattered books at a San Luis Obispo garage sale. Intently looking for an original gift for a friend, Michelle grabbed a well-worn book from the stacks, returned home, and re-purposed the book for her friend in the form of a journal. Inspiration had struck!

Attic Journals are available at the FriendShop at the Seattle Public Library-Central Branch NOW! Come find your inspiration.



Attic Journals was born from a garage sale find and a spark of creativity. How did Attic Journals expand from DIY project to a business?

In 2005, a year after AJ started, I felt the winds of change moving inside of me. I ended my job on the coast of California and moved to a retreat center near Yosemite for a year. With that transition, I went from working about 70+ hours a week, to about 20. So, with all of this new found free time (and, if I’m honest, fear that at some point my savings would run out), I started taking Attic Journals more seriously.

It was in that time that I had a day off and went in to Fresno to check out the Tower District that I had heard a bit about. While there, I met Anne, the owner of Teazers, a tea shoppe in the Tower. We started talking about what it was for her to start her business and I shared my aspirations for my own. She invited me to come back that Friday to sell my journals at a street festival they were having and it all snow balled from there.

What are your criteria for choosing journal covers?

When I first started choosing covers, it was to appease my taste. I soon realized that I had a limited view of the consumer appetite. So began the tradition of “looking for friend’s books”. Before going out to hunt for books, I always pick 3-5 very different friends, colleagues, or acquaintances and try to pick journals I think would pique their interest. We still employ that tactic while also paying attention to trends, making sure to get a lot of the books that are tried and true, and seeking out the special requests of our customers and retailers.

Do you have a personal favorite that’s come through the shop?

I don’t remember the title of the book other than it was a volume about or by Shakespeare, but I remember the treasure that was inside of it. About five years ago, this book came thru our workshop and it was full of love letters from a man to the woman who owned the book. I loved it… I was falling in love with my now husband at the time and my romance radar was pretty high. Actually, a woman from Seattle bought that journal at Urban Craft Uprising and before I took her money, I made her read the letter that we had left inside. She swooned… I think I was testing her romance radar to see if she was suitable for that book…

How would you gift an Attic Journal to a friend?

Sometimes folks gift them because the title is just so right. Sometimes it’s because the library card is stamped with a particular date that holds meaning for the recipient. Sometimes it’s because that was the book that so and so had read to such and such every year since they were yay high. For us, we usually gift a journal to teachers… they seem to need more jot down places than the average folks and they certainly love the fact that they are books.


What do you imagine FriendShop customers using Attic Journals for?

Oh gosh! These books are used for alllllll sorts of things. I personally use mine for my to-do list, for a journal that I’m keeping of my daughter’s first years, and a contact log for our business. But I’ve heard of amazing uses from folks all around the country.

Here are a few of my favorites:

– A grandmother comes from Boston to visit her grandchildren in Seattle each winter. When she comes, she and the children pick out a new journal that they “dedicate” while she’s with them for the holidays. The night before she is to leave, she has the children draw her a picture, write her a note, or share something about their lives with the intention that they are sharing it with her… They then all tromp to the post office to mail the journals (unread) to Grandma’s house in Boston so that they’ll arrive soon after she does. She then reads them, writes a note to them and sends the journal back to them… these journals go back and forth like this all year until Grandma’s next visit.

– There’s a woman I met about four years ago that always buys our cookbook journals. She then uses them for dinner parties for guests to write their favorite recipes in… to share stories of the night… keep track of what was served and who was there.

– I also love the students who use these. One of the young women that I have mentored for the past five and a half years uses her journal to figure out her math homework. She doesn’t like doing all the scribbling and erasing on her actual assignment, so she figures it out in her journal and then writes it neatly onto her sheet to be turned in.

What value do you see in DIY projects and gifts?

Well, I suppose it’s the character comprised in each one. The supporting small, independent businesses.

Do you have any advice for FriendShop customers who may be pursuing creative DIY projects in the new year?

Do it because you love it. It’s only been in this last year that my husband and I started doing Attic Journals full time. I think that if I had started out with the attitude that this project had to sustain our lives, at some point it may have lost its magic for us. But what has kept us going this long is that we see the value in the work that we are doing. We’re supporting local schools and libraries. We’re helping people tell their story. And we’re relieving a bit of the world’s landfill burden.

What connection do you see between recycled materials, sustainability, and literature?

Well, I think there is a particular nexus where these three intersect. Because of the emotional appeal of books and our cultural history with book burning and banned books, people have a particular allegiance to keeping books alive in some capacity. A few years ago, a man told me that we were the humane society for books… and I’ve liked that idea. That we get to keep this nostalgia, resonance, and resource in circulation because it’s a beautiful part of our communal existence, feels pretty good.

You Can Find Us:

The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch
(on Level 3, Fifth Avenue side)
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Tel: 206.733.9015

We are also happy to assist with sales by phone.


To learn more:



Twitter: atticjournals

Library Supporters Bring Library Into Council Chambers

Library supporters packed City Council Chambers on April 3 and presented a diverse and articulate case for placing the Library Levy before voters in August. City Council will likely decide the issue at its April 9 meeting. Councilmember Tim Burgess suggested the decision would be easy and told the large audience, “You brought the library into Council Chambers by talking about its impact on your lives. It’s had an impact on me.”

The audience, ranging from grade school age to ninety, testified for nearly 1 1/2 hours on a wide spectrum of ways the library is relevant to their lives and to our city. “The library is the #1 resource in the city for addressing the Digital Divide…[it is] a window for attaining employment, job training, getting a GED, and even getting your taxes done,” explained businessman and realtor, Dr Gary Kunis.  Expressing his “100% support”  Dr. Charlie Walker 3rd, said, “Victory of education is in the classroom as well as the library.” School teacher/librarian Craig Seasholes further expanded the idea pointing out that libraries and schools work closely together to educate and that large numbers of public school students spend their afterschool hours in public libraries. He added that the library’s summer reading program ensures that students experience no loss in reading ability over the summer break.

Several people explained how the library empowers people with low vision through LEAP (Library Equal Access Programs) at Central Library. Becky Bell said large text and audio speech technology has “enabled me to reach out to my blind community and my community in general.” Jean Jacobs called the library her, “home away from home.” Janice Hufty credited LEAP with helping her to start a Muslim resource center and launch the Warm For Winter Foundation. Camille Jassny, board member of Vision Loss Connections, talked about the importance the Low Vision library book group holds in her life.

Many aspects of library services were cited as enhancements in the lives of people testifying. Paul Michaelson was impressed by library meeting rooms that “affords a unique opportunity for people to come together.” Katherine Beck attended as representative of five generations of library users and talked about using the library for literary research. Paula Becker spoke enthusiastically about the historic collections in The Seattle Room and their excellent digitized offerings.

Two cautionary testimonies from representatives of the City Neighborhood Council (an umbrella group of district councils) and the Seattle Community Council Federation  urged levy authors to establish a levy oversight council to secure voter trust. They also recommended a levy amendment which commits City Council to maintaining existing levels of general fund support for the library if and when the levy passes and commits the Library Board to act on the public’s wish to restore library hours. The levy promises to do four things: restore library hours, enhance books and services, improve computer and online services, and maintain the buildings.

Thank you to those of you who attended the hearing. If you didn’t attend, enjoy the April 3 hearing recorded at Seattle Channel and consider joining Friends of The Seattle Public Library in future events for library support.

2012 Global Reading Challenge (the questions are flying…)

As you may have heard last fall the Seattle Public Library and Seattle Public Schools began another “Global Reading Challenge”. GRC is a cooperative “Battle of the Books” between public school districts across the US and well… globally, with generous support from their local public libraries.

Each year, the top GRC schools in Seattle “battle wits” with each other in mid-March at the Central Library. You can read more about this friendly competition here.

Support Seattle Public Libraries This Budget Season

The City Council is in the process of reviewing Mayor Mike McGinn’s proposed 2012 city budget. Despite financial challenges to the city, the Mayor has avoided directing additional funding cuts at libraries. Under the mayor’s proposed budget, The Seattle Public Library would be able to continue offering current levels of services and hours at all branch locations.

As the City Council reviews the Mayor’s budget, please show your support for funding libraries. You can do so in the following ways:

1) Email the City Council. You can contact the Council via this online form intended for 2012 budget feedback. Create your own message or use the sample letter at the bottom of this page.

2) Contact councilmembers individually. Make your support for libraries known to individual members of the City Councity. A list of phone numbers and email addresses for councilmembers can be found here.

3) Join the Friends at a public hearing. Show your support for libraries in person at a City Council Budget Committee Public Hearing. Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, October 26th at 5:30 p.m. Meetings take place on the second floor of City Hall, located at 600 Fourth Avenue. If you would like to stand up with the Friends, email

Get to Know Your City Council Candidates – Sally Clark

Sally Clark – Candidate for Position 9 (Incumbent)

When you reflect on the Seattle Public Library system, what three things first come to mind?

The first three things that come to mind are the Columbia City Library, the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and our need to care for what we’ve built.

The Columbia City Library is “my” branch library. It’s a place that looks like a classic library, hosts community events, provides a safe and constructive place for young people to engage with information and each other, and it’s a branch where I think the levy did a great job adding space.  I’ll cheat here and say I also think of the Rainier Beach branch (we live in between the two). I appreciate the way the branch has become even more of a community focal point for kids. Whether it’s a homework club or Ofcr. Cookie’s Chess Club, that branch saves lives and broadens horizons.

I have worked the Friends Book Sale in the past. I associate the event with the late, great Doug Lorentzen, a long-time volunteer who was a true evangelist for Seattle’s libraries. Doug made sure I had an invitation to work a shift and, more importantly, made sure I took advantage of the opportunity. Seattle is lucky to be a city of people who care about books (in all their forms) and about how information can empower and change lives. Doug was a great evangelist for the role the libraries and library volunteers play in our system.

Finally, I think often in my job about how we must care for what we’ve built both in terms of the physical buildings and in terms of what people find valuable inside the buildings. In this economy we have had to make tough decisions involving the collections budgets, capital spending and staff schedules. I’m committed to ensuring we have a great system. I appreciate the partnership with the Friends of the Seattle Public Library and the Foundation in making this commitment come true.

Given the myriad of essential human services provided by the City of Seattle, where do you rank funding for the Seattle Public Library?  Would you put it in the top, middle or bottom tier of priorities? 

I have joined colleagues on the Council in consistently ranking libraries as a high priority for funding under the umbrella investment area of safe, healthy neighbors and safe, healthy neighborhoods. Healthy, high-functioning social capital machines like libraries work hand-in-hand with youth violence prevention programs, anti-poverty programs and police to make Seattle a great place to make a life.  After basic food and shelter, services like libraries, community centers and education support must be present to help people not just survive but advance.

The Seattle Public Library has sustained budget cuts of nearly $10 million from its annual budget since 2009, resulting in Friday closures at 15 branches, employee furloughs, lay-offs, and a decrease in the collections budget. Given the City revenue shortfalls projected for 2011 and 2012, what are your views on maintaining funding for Library hours, staffing, collections, programs and services?

The Seattle Public Library has done the best job of any city entity of stepping back to assess priorities in service and management, making tough decisions, and presenting the context and rationale for these tough decisions.  Staff have weathered difficult changes in service; difficult not just because of the impact on paychecks, but also because of the impact on their mission. We invested minimally in collections and must return to a more robust level if we are to keep pace with demand and the pace of change in formats and sources of information.

I believe we face another 2-3 difficult years before the city budgets have breathing room. It’s my hope that we can maintain steady funding this year and then begin serious discussions of long-term funding strategies (e.g. a special taxing district).

As the Library’s new strategic plan states, “changes in how people access and use information, interact with one another, and in the resources, tools and capabilities needed to operate effectively in today’s society require new approaches to the services and resources that the library provides”.  What is your vision for the library of the future, and how would you support SPL’s evolution over the next 5 years?

This is a great question – both fun and a little scary to think about. Over the long-run, no matter how much information moves to the web or the net or the cloud, I believe we will still want and need libraries in our neighborhoods. I believe there’s something gained via the interaction with the librarian, other patrons, and the value-added programs of libraries. Changes in technology have already changed our libraries’ internal design and staff functions. And yet the library is still about helping people access, use and re-configure information to yield greater knowledge, confidence and connections. Over the next five years I hope to be involved with the next chapter of the Seattle library system as a new librarian arrives and we slowly emerge from the recession.  In five years we will have successfully found a steady long-term funding source and lead in the evolution of libraries. In five years Seattle will remain a leader in information access and community value.