Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | April 24, 2014

Hungry for good literature?

Fictitious_Dishes_heidi_WEBThere’s really nothing better than the combination of good books and good food.  We’ve been checking out the tasty work of Dinah Fried, who has done a series of photographs called Fictitious Dishes. Dinah searched the classics to find literary meals she could recreate through her beautiful photography.  Take a look at her Alpine goat-cheese meal inspired by Johanna Spyri’s Heidi.

If Fried’s pictures make you hungry, perhaps you can sate your hunger at one of the USA Today’s list of book-themed restaurants and bars.  Most of them are back east, but they sound well worth a visit!

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | April 8, 2014

Don’t leave Grandma in the attic!

familyphotos2Do you have family photographs, historical documents, or old photographs of the local Burlington community?  Want some advice on organizing your historical files or documents?  Drop in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, for our history digitization day!

Digitization allows you to create copies of your photographs and documents that you can share with others and preserve. This minimizes damage to precious originals from everyday handling. You can bring in up to five photos or documents, which we will scan on-site and return immediately to you.
Local historians, genealogists and librarians will be on site to provide advice on organizing, dating, describing and preserving family photographs.  We will also be showing an hour-long video lecture on the “Preservation of Family Photographs” at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Learn more on our website, call us at 755-0760 to pre-register, or just show up on Saturday!  We’d love to see you there.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | April 7, 2014

The Tree Army

LymanCCC_uw516During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide jobs for millions of out-of-work men. But in doing so, he also saved an environment damaged by World War I activities and gave the country new trees, beautiful parks and recreational areas. Thousands of desperate young men from the East Coast came to Washington state to work in the woods alongside local boys to build bridges, roads and park buildings.

We hope you will join us to learn about the work that the “CC boys” did in Skagit county.  Historian Janet Oakley will come to the library to talk about this part of our area’s history at 7 p.m. this Thursday, April 10.  You can find out more about this program — part of our Roots Projecton our website.  It would be great to see you there!

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 26, 2014

Open your eyes this women’s history month

9781478979784Every time I read a biography of a doctor, missionary, or political activist I admire, I am reminded of how much we take for granted in our privileged culture here in the United States. “I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban in October 2012, was a terrifying and eye-opening story. In this book, Malala details her life, the surrounding politics, and developing activism for women’s educational rights.

Our library carries her autobiography in print and audio CD, as well as a new ebook biography by Rebecca Rowell.

Malala Yousafzai is not the only woman who has fought for women’s rights worldwide.  As Women’s History Month draws to a close, why don’t you check out one of these books about women whose activism has made a difference in the world?

Diebel, Linda. Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf, 2006. 92 OCHOA Diebel 078671753X
Hawa Abdi, and Sarah J. Robbins. Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed. New York, NY: Grand Central Pub, 2013. 323.092 HAWA 2013 9781455503766
Kallen, Stuart A. Rigoberta Menchú, Indian Rights Activist. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books, 2007. J 92 MENCHU Kallen 1590189752
Lloyd, Rachel. Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011. TEEN 362.88 LLOYD 2012  0061582069
Maathai, Wangari. Unbowed: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 92 MAATHAI  0307263487



Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 22, 2014

The battle is on!

You might think that the competition around March Madness is intense, but it’s nothing compared to the battle raging inside our library.  We have a bracket of 64 books, all of them eager to be recognized as “Burlington’s Favorite Book of All Time”!  But it’s a long, hard road to the championship, filled with shocking upsets and subject to the whims of you, our library patrons.

Will classics like War and Peace survive the onslaught of feisty upstarts like Code Name Verity?  Can historic books like Silent Spring defend against Lord of the Rings’ epic offense?  Only you can decide; come in and vote for your favorite titles throughout March and April.

march book madness

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 13, 2014

Everything in order

The library has a new system for ordering books!  Now you can see what we’ve ordered for the collection, even before the items arrive at the library!  Just look for titles in the catalog that list “On order” as their status.  If something catches your eye, you can always place a hold on it, and we’ll let you know when it arrives at the library.


We’re also happy about the new book ordering system because many of our purchase orders and invoices are now electronic, which saves us time. This means that we can devote more time to tracking down excellent materials to add to our collection!

As always, if there’s a title that you think we should purchase for the library, you can let us know.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 11, 2014

The coming megaquake

Sandi DoughtonScientists don’t know when the next Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will strike, but they agree that such a megaquake would have drastic consequences for the Pacific Northwest.

As part of our Winter Adult Reading Months (WARM) program, we invited Seattle Times science writer Sandi Doughton to explain what scientists know about the coming megaquake.  Doughton believes that our region has a lot to do to prepare for such a huge seismic event, and will give a riveting talk at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Burlington Public Library.  Come join us to learn more about the geology and future of our area!


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 5, 2014

Defining our Nation: hope to see you there!

CivilWarMarch6_300wThis Thursday, we’re looking forward to a powerful performance at the library.  Several Civil War re-enactors will portray the events that led up to the outbreak of the War Between the States. In the play, David Imburgia and Matt Clemans will portray two friends, who heatedly debate the issues and political climate of the times. These men, once close friends, part ways as bitter enemies. One takes up arms to fight for the Confederate cause and the other joins the Union Army. Several women and children, who are also WCWA re-enactors, will join in the performance and contribute historic background as to war’s impact the on families both North and South.  All the actors are re-enactors from the Washington Civil War Association.

The performance will take place on Thursday, March 6, from 7 to 9 p.m.  It is designed to support Common Core Curriculum for students but possibly not suitable for early elementary ages due to war and conflict subject matter.  Like all library programs, it is free and open to the public, and we hope to see you there!

This program is part of the Burlington Library and the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society’s “Making Connections through ROOTS Project.”

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | March 3, 2014

Downton Doldrums

Bleak, cheerless, desolate. Does this describe your life since you realized Season 4 of Downton Abbey has come to a close and you are facing months before the next installment? The library has it available on DVD if you missed the live broadcasts, but we also have plenty of other DVDs and books to help you survive the Downton Off-season; feel free to try some of these titles or post your own suggestions!


The Paradise – Denise has landed a job in a new department store, The Paradise, despite being a relative of the competing dressmaker across the street. With her keen business sense, Denise attracts the notice of the department store owner and is swept away in the drama of the store and its staff.

Lark Rise to Candleford – Tells the story of a girl from the small village of Lark Rise who is given the opportunity to work in the nearby town of Candleford. Follow her journey between the two towns as she navigates family, love and a career.  

Garrow’s Law – A period piece about a barrister in London who defended the accused.

Foyle’s War – Follows the story of a British police detective during World War II. Foyle’s War has great characters and seven seasons on DVD, which will get you a long way as we progress through the desert without Downton.

Upstairs Downstairs – Produced in the 1970’s, this series tells the tales of the residents of a London townhouse in the early 1900’s.

Call the Midwife – When Jenny Lee gets the position of midwife in one of London’s poorest neighborhoods, she must quickly get up to speed. Join her in this real-life look at birth, life and the friendship of some amazing women.  The library also carries the memoir of Jennifer Worth, the inspiration of the series.


Lady Catherine, the earl, and the real Downton Abbey – The Countess of Carnarvon writes this book as well as the sequel “Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey: the lost legacy of Highclere Castle” for fans of the Downton Abbey which is filmed in part at Highclere Castle. The books are available in print or online at Washington Anytime Library.

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey – Learn what happens when a group of apartment mates begin a group to watch Downton Abbey together.

Below stairs: the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired “Upstairs, downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” – Margaret Powell guides up through her real life experience as a maid in the 1900’s.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | February 11, 2014

Northwest Passages

Northwest Passages program poster

We’re really looking forward to “Northwest Passages”, a program we’re holding at the library next Thursday.

“Northwest Passages” allows the audience to experience the life of a young Swedish Immigrant, Julia Berg, as she and her family struggle to build a new life in Washington State in the early 20th century. As a nurse, Julia finds herself caring for African and Asian immigrants also new to Washington.  The story covers their experiences during the expansion of the railroad, the discovery of gold, labor struggles and the Great War.  While they observe Swedish and American holidays, they also encounter – as well as witness – prejudice and hostility.

We hope that you can join us for this informative and moving multimedia portrayal of the life of an immigrant of an earlier era.  It will take place from 7:00-9:00 on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Admission is free, and the program is suitable for ages 4th grade through adult.  Teachers and homeschooling parents may be interested in the
Teacher’s Curriculum Guide that gives students a bit more background on the program.

This program is part of the Burlington Library and the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society’s “Making Connections through ROOTS Project.”

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | January 8, 2014

Repairing some equipment?

Small Engine Repair Reference Center graphicThe library has added a new database to help answer your equipment repair questions!  Small Engine Repair contains resources for motorcycles, tractors, snowmobiles, boat motors, generators, water crafts, lawnmowers, chain saws, trimmers, ATVs and other outdoor power equipment:  Try it out; all you will need is your library card!

You can find a link to Small Engine Repair, as well as other helpful resources on the library’s Automobiles and Small Engine Repair Research page.

And if you need help, feel free to contact us!


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | December 19, 2013

The holidays are close at hand

fireplace-smallThe end of 2013 is coming up (can you believe it?), so the library will be closed for a few upcoming holidays:

  • Tuesday, December 24
  • Wednesday, December 25
  • Wednesday, January 1

We’re also closing early on New Year’s Eve; the library will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31.

Before the year ends, make sure to get a chance to cuddle up with your favorite book beside the library’s fireplace.  It has to be one of the coziest things to do in Burlington during these cold winter days!


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | December 18, 2013

Join the “Book Is Better” club

Movie poster for The Secret Life of Walter MittyEver wanted to join the elite world of movie critics who compare on-screen portrayals to the written word?  Well, The secret life of Walter Mitty is a great way to get started.

It’s a quick read; you can use your 15-minute break at work to read it.  The copy at our library even has illustrations.  But be sure not to mention that when you tell your friends, and they will assume you read a lengthy novel.

Don’t assume that the story isn’t intense just because it’s short. James Thurber, who is hailed as one of the greatest humorist since Mark Twain, keeps you jumping as you follow Walter Mitty on his adventures both real and imagined. So be sure to keep your feet firmly planted in reality as you follow him on his ride.

Don’t even have a break in your rushed day? Right now, you can download the audiobook for free from Amazon and listen to it on your commute.  Ben Stiller, the star of the new Walter Mitty film, is the narrator, and he closes out the story with his own thoughts about the joy of audiobooks.

Looking for more avenues to join the “Book is Better” club? Check out this great 2013 Holiday Movie Adaptation Guide from Word & Film.


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | November 14, 2013

The power of games

Chess setGames are fun!  They challenge us, they entertain us, they bring us together with others who may not share our interests.

Games aren’t all about fun, though.  Look no further than the two biggest books-turned-movies this fall — the Hunger Games and Ender’s Game — for games that are deadly serious.  Even a much less sinister game of Monopoly, though, has a serious side.  It can teach us how to interact beneficially with systems, sharpen our logical thinking, and develop our planning skills.Calvin and Hobbes playing Calvinball

Games can shape how we think about language and communication.  The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein challenged his readers to come up with a single definition of a game — a statement that would be true for all games, but false for anything that is not a game.  Give it a try; it’s harder than it sounds!  The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, says that a game is “an activity played for entertainment, according to rules.”  Calvin and Hobbes don’t have any rules when they play Calvinball, but nobody would hesitate to call it a game.  Playing music together can be entertaining, and requires us to follow rules of melody, tempo, and harmony; but is it really a game?A boy and a ghost playing a game of Go

Most importantly, games can be used to share culture and develop relationships.  Societies use games to pass down their culture, values, and traditions.  And they are a fun experience to share with others; there are few things that are more fun to share with a group of people than a fun game.Schedule for International Games Day

We’re one of almost 1,000 libraries celebrating International Games Day this Saturday, November 16th.  We’re offering workshops, tournaments, and over a dozen games throughout the library, and it will be open to all ages:

  • At 12pm, we are holding a chess tournament for kids and teens
  • At 1pm, members of the Bellingham Go club will lead a workshop about this ancient Asian strategy game
  • At 2pm, we’ll hold an all-ages Scrabble tournament
  • Throughout the day, we will hold a battle league for Yu-Gi-Oh, an exciting trading card game based on a Japanese manga
  • Throughout the library, we will have dozens of card games, board games, and strategy games available for anyone to play

So please stop by the library anytime between 11am – 5pm on Saturday and share the power of games with us.


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | November 12, 2013

Alex Zerbe, professional zaniac

AlexSnakeFingersIs this gray, rainy weather getting you down?  Do you need something fun and lively to share with your kids?  Professional Zaniac Alex Zerbe will be doing a fabulous show at the library at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26, and his crazy antics might be just what you need.

Alex is truly multi-talented: he is a juggler, a comedian, a two-time Guinness World Record holder, and an award-winning air guitarist.  Alex brings together humor and zany stunts to create a thrilling, family-friendly show.  We hope you can make it on Tuesday, November 26 for this exciting family event.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 31, 2013

While they’re off duty: Jesse McCarty

Another installment in our ongoing While they’re off duty series, in which we talk to city staff about their favorite books.  This time, we talked with Jesse McCarty about his work with the city and a series of books he recently enjoyed.

My role in the city is the IT Technical Assistant, which covers a broad list of technology support related responsibilities. I provide desktop support for the city staff, prepare new computers for deployment and use on the city’s network, set up and install the new computers in departments throughout the city, work with our Systems Administrator to maintain the city’s server infrastructure, and many other tasks related to technology.

I have lived in the Skagit Valley since I was five years old. My wife and I celebrated our sixth Anniversary in August, shortly after celebrating our son’s first birthday earlier in the month. Our little one is a big ball of energy: walking everywhere and exploring everything he can. My family is my greatest adventure and I love to spend my time with them, especially doing outdoor activities.

0310257670A book series I recently enjoyed was Terri Blackstock’s Restoration Series. The series came highly recommended by my wife; Terri Blackstock is her favorite author. In the first book of the series, Last Light, a catastrophic global event destroys everything electronic, rendering everything from aircraft to televisions useless and plunging everyone into an age with no electricity. The series’ main characters are a family in Alabama which is now thrust into new realities.  In the books, they need to adjust and learn to live without the conveniences we all take for granted, all the while relearning to live out their faith and share their now extremely limited resources.

The Restoration books are suspenseful page turners that are tough to put down. As one who works with technology for a living, I see how our modern culture is over-saturated with technology.  In many ways, I believe we over-use and depend on technology to a point that we miss the best parts of life. Terri Blackstock’s Restoration books provide some thought-provoking scenarios in a world without all the digital distractions.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 29, 2013

To your credit

KeyBankClassesFinED150wStart repairing your credit, order and use your credit report, and learn to recognize credit repair scams!

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, October 30th) at 6 pm, we’ll be talking about all this and more.  The library is hosting a free workshop on credit, led by Vivian Dills, who is a branch manager at Burlington KeyBank and a certified financial educator.

Stop by the library tomorrow (October 30th) at 6pm, and start creating a stronger financial future.  Better yet, register in advance on KeyBank’s website.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 28, 2013

Don’t forget to vote next week

Election day is coming up!  Ballots must be postmarked no later than next Tuesday (the 5th), or placed in an official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on the 5th.  Burlington’s official ballot drop box is outside the Parks and Recreation building on 900 E Fairhaven Ave — just a block away from the library!

logo_large-e701a111146ac742abb147092df59ad1Still not sure how to vote?  Be sure to take a look through the online Skagit County Online Voter’s Guide — but you can also get information about this year’s initiatives and advisory votes directly from other voters.  The Living Voters Guide is a cool site where ordinary voters can post their thoughts, feelings, and analyses of what’s on the ballot.  And unlike the official voter’s guide, it has built-in factchecking!  If you think somebody’s argument is fishy, you can press a button to have it fact-checked by a librarian at the Seattle Public Library.


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 21, 2013

Getting to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The dust has settled —

For those of you who don’t have health insurance and have not yet taken advantage of the savings made possible by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), make sure you are on the right website:  Check the bottom of the page to make sure the health insurance site you are reading says “Powered by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Washington Healthplanfinder™ is the official ACA-compliant health benefit exchange for the State of Washington.”  Start with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s website and follow the links it provides to get to the exchange.


The library has computers for you to use if you need access to the plan information.  Feel free to use them; staff can assist with navigating the options available to you and if you decide to, create an account.  Regardless of whether you use our computers or your own, use, which can refer you to a qualified navigator or trained broker to help with your decision. Meanwhile, the library is open Monday – Thursday until 11 – 8 pm, Fridays and Saturday 11- 5 p.m. if you need an extra computer to do it on your own.

Other helpful links include articles from the November issue of Consumer Reports.  It is one of the clearest, most practical explanations of how this new legislation may or may not affect you. The Library has a print and online subscription, and you’ll need your library card to read it online.  Or drop by the library and we can help you find it.

Need some more information?  Here are some helpful general sources you can try:

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | October 15, 2013

While they’re off duty: Bryan Harrison

Another installment in our occasional While they’re off duty series, in which we talk to City of Burlington staff and the books they love.  This week we’re featuring Bryan Harrison, the Burlington city administrator.

I was born and raised in Michigan, graduated from the University of Washington, and have lived in Washington State for thirty four years.    Prior to our move to Burlington two years ago, my family and I lived in South Bend on the Washington coast for more than twenty years.9780061671784

Last July my family and I had the opportunity to visit Michigan and show the kids where their dad grew up.  While there, I perused the used book section of my favorite childhood bookstore (the Michigan State University Bookstore) and purchased an enjoyable book written by Michael Zadoorian titled The Leisure Seeker.

The Leisure Seeker tells the story of John and Ella Robina, a long married elderly couple, one suffering from advanced dementia and the other from terminal cancer, that embark on an “against medical advice” adventure across America in an old RV.    In addition to being an easy and engaging summer read, this book is filled with adventure, and sparked more than one family conversation about complex health care issues and end of life care decisions.    All this, plus a somewhat shocking and thought-provoking ending!

I don’t know whether I enjoyed this book because I read it in my home town, because we were on vacation, because I purchased it on sale from my favorite childhood bookstore, because of the book itself, or, most likely, all of the above.   Regardless, The Leisure Seeker proved to be a quick, enjoyable and thought-provoking summer read.

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