Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | July 14, 2014

Writers: are you going to PNWA?

The logo for the Pacific Northwest Writers AssociationA lot of local authors make their home in the library, and we don’t blame them.  We’ve got a relaxing environment, contact information for every publisher you could possibly think of, and books filled with writing tips.

However, all you authors might want to consider spending your time in Seattle this weekend, because the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) will be throwing a fantastic conference.  It will be great for several reasons:

  1. Authors will have the chance to pitch their books to literary agents and editors in person, rather than sending in an email or a letter with (maybe) a few pages of their book. As you can imagine, agents gets thousands of these query letters every week; pitching it in person is an opportunity not to be missed.
  2. There will be lots of other authors, many published, that unpublished authors can rub elbows with.  It will be a great chance to make friends and important connections.
  3. There are tons of workshops scheduled to help even the most seasoned writer hone their craft.
  4. PNWA is regarded as one of the best writers conferences in the country.  Even though it’s on the pricey side (about $600), it saves on traveling fees by being in our own backyard; most of the other big conferences are on the east coast.

So, authors, will any of you be at PNWA?  If so, be sure to tell us all about it when you get back!

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

What’s new?

Wowbrary: the newest stuff at your libraryEvery week, we place several orders for new books, DVDs, and other materials for the library.  Want to know what treasures are on their way?  Check out our Wowbrary service!  Each week, it includes a list of everything we’ve ordered.  You don’t have to constantly check the website to stay up-to-date, though; you can also register to receive weekly e-mails about the hottest new titles we’ve ordered.

Take a look and let us know what you think!

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

Grade school life in 1930s Burlington

Purity, Loyalty, and Knowledge are the three main themes of the Burlington Grade School Honor Code.

An excerpt from the 1934 grade school scrapbook lists the honor code that “graders” were expected to follow

In 1934, student Elsie Ovenell assembled the Lincoln Grade School’s annual scrapbook.  The scrapbook includes photographs and newspaper clippings representing a year at Lincoln.  From the looks of it, the school year was filled with orchestra concerts, puppet shows, diphtheria vaccines, basketball games, broken arms, faculty picnics, and, of course, a lot of learning.

The scrapbook currently resides in the library, but it has a home online as well: the entire scrapbook is available through our new Hub History project.  Take a look for a trip back to 1930s Burlington.

Want to see more documents from Burlington’s early days?  Take some time to immerse yourself in our Hub History project, a digital collection of family and community history.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | July 1, 2014

The Youth Science Expo is coming up!

We are absolutely thrilled about our upcoming Youth Science Expo on Tuesday, July 8th from 2-4 p.m.  The expo will be a library-wide festival where youth ages 8-18 can design some cool projects while learning about scientific concepts.  Kids and teens will learn to take their pulse, shoot a vortex cannon, make computer keyboards out of gummy worms, and design some slick e-textile accessories.

One of our favorite activities is a station where kids can design their own balloon-powered cars.  Here’s a video to get a flavor for the project.  We hope that you can come to the expo to design a car with us, of course, but if you can’t make it, you can use this video’s instructions to create some air pressure-powered racers at home:




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

How do you compare?

Screens — whether they are attached to computers, e-readers, phones, or TVs — take up a lot of our time.  But how does your screen time compare to the average person’s screen time in this country?  Or in the world as a whole?

Gizmodo recently re-printed a cool graph that shows just that.  The graph is taken from a rather long report on Internet trends by venture capitalist Mary Meeker.

What do you think?  How much does your screen time compare?  Let us know in the comments below!

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | June 4, 2014

An ebook to die for

BLR_Pedigree_FBgraphicHave you downloaded an ebook from the library yet?  Are you already an avid ebook reader, but just want to try something new?  Either way, be sure to participate in the Big Library Read in the Washington Anytime Library.  During the Big Library Read, anybody with a library card can download a copy of an ebook immediately — no waiting lists or holds — and read it on whatever gadget they own, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Nook, Android phone, Android tablet, Kindle, Kobo, laptop computer, desktop computer… well, you get the idea.

This time around, the book is Laurien Berenson’s A pedigree to die for – a fun mystery where our heroine’s only clue is a missing pedigreed poodle.  You can download the book now, and keep it until June 18th.  No need to worry about late fees, because the book will simply disappear from your device when the Big Library Read is done.  Overdrive, the company that provides the Anytime Library with its ebooks, hopes this will turn into a “virtual, global book club,” so if you like the book, be sure to talk about it using the #biglibraryread hashtag.

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

History can get graphic

Graphic novels and comics might have a silly reputation, but they can be powerful books that put a human face on serious, important historical events.  As a graphic novel fan, I think that they are a great way to bring history to life; they have a sense of rhythm and drama that can be hard for authors to achieve in other books.  Here are a few of my favorite graphic novels where history plays a major role:

Cover of John Lewis' March Marchby Congressman John Lewis, is a powerful book about his experiences in the civil rights movement.  NPR interviewed Lewis about the book, and about a 1957 comic book called The Montgomery Story, which inspired many in the movement.
 Cover of "Saints", by Gene Luen Yang Boxers and Saints make up a two-part series showing two sides of the Boxer Rebellion in the late 1890s.  Boxers follows the life of a Chinese boy who becomes a leader in the Boxer Rebellion, while Saints tells of a Chinese girl who converts to Christianity and is inspired by Joan of Arc to fight against the Boxers.  Gene Luen Yang’s artwork is simple, but powerful — this was an amazing way to learn about both sides of a historical event that I knew very little about before.
0375422307 Persepolis is a classic in the graphic novel canon.  It talks about the author’s experiences during the first Persian Gulf War, and was also made into an Academy Award-nominated 2007 movie.
9780316225816 Encyclopedia of Early Earth is a recent graphic novel with a very misleading title.  It’s not an encyclopedia, but rather a collection of stories told about a fictional “Early Earth,” which bear many resemblances to legends, Biblical stories, and the history of our own earth.  The art is quirky and beautiful, and this book makes a wonderful celebration of storytelling, tradition, and history.


Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | May 1, 2014

Celebrating May in Burlington

omeka-net_11655_archive_fullsize_5329b5c591fada94ffe0be0c0ce6f5e5Sunny May days in Skagit Valley are beautiful enough to call for a celebration.  In fact, we have photographs from over a century ago showing people who felt the same way.  We think that these photographs were taken in Burlington around 1910, but we know for sure that they depict an excited group celebrating the arrival of spring with a maypole dance.  In this colorful dance, people weave intricate patterns with the ribbons that are tied to a central pole.

Want to see more scenes from Burlington’s early history?  Check out our new Hub History project, an online digital collection of family and community history.

Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | April 29, 2014

Do you speak Dewey Decimal?

We just re-organized our Language Learning collection to make it a little easier to browse.  We used to shelve these books in order by their Dewey Decimal numbers — long numbers that go something like 468.3421, and made little sense to anybody other than us librarians.

Our new system is much simpler; the books just go alphabetically by the name of the language, starting with Arabic and ending with Yiddish.  We’ve also re-labeled all the books in that collection, and added some new signage that should help you find your way as you embark on a voyage of discovering another language.

Shelves of books and CDs for language learners.  Materials shown are for German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mixteco, and Norwegian languages.Language learners and travellers, be sure to let us know what you think of the new set-up!  And if you aren’t currently learning another language, try browsing through the section anyway; we’re pretty sure that something there will catch your eye!


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!


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