Our Libraries Our Librarians – An Interview With Betsy Arand

Finally, back to talking to people in person! Betsy Arand, the Managing Librarian at the Freeland Library, was nice enough to be our first interviewee as the restrictions are relaxed. It was a treat for the three of us to sit around for that hour or so – 3-D! While it is easy to make fun of something that seems so simple now, it was proof that there’s more to life than a 2-D screen. Body language conveys things that can’t be part of a podcast, but it changes the conversation. We humans respond differently when we see someone else’s response. 

We mostly talked about life as a librarian, particularly during a crisis. As Betsy said (paraphrased); “Managing a library during a pandemic was not part of the library school curriculum.” Adaptability on display, by necessity.

The good news is that almost all of the library services are available again, though with adjustments in the interim. About the only thing not available are the public presentations in the various Sno-Isle Library System meeting rooms, like the well-equipped one at Betsy’s library in Freeland. 

That’s where we met. Our live and in-person interviews are conducted in ways so the background ambiance is included. Don’t be surprised if it’s quieter than usual this time. Though there was that one visitor who picked the wrong door as an entrance; but that’s understandable.

Our conversation lasted about an hour, which is too little time to hear the stories and insights she’s accumulated from decades of service. Listen in and enjoy. And, if you have any questions, well, there’s a librarian for that.

Betsy Arand, Managing Librarian at Sno-Isle Libraries (Freeland)

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 25 – Betsy Arand, librarian


Attached is the information for authors and the top circulating titles (provided by Betsy Arand):

Sno-Isle Resources for Authors

  • Inter-Library Loan (ILL)
    • This service was suspended during the pandemic and will start again on August 2
    • Use to request books published more than a year ago 
    • Also used to request periodical articles not available in a library database 
    • New ILL system should reduce wait times to 2-4 weeks (previous requests took up to 8 weeks)
    • A new feature: customers can create an account to receive regular notifications about the progress of their ILL request
  • Local Author collection in Sno-Isle Libraries
    • Local authors can have their books added to the Sno-Isle Libraries catalog
    • Eligibility requirements
      • An author needs to live in Island or Snohomish County <or>
      • Have ties to area that are evident in their book
    • Local authors donate one or two copies at a community library in the Sno-Isle Libraries system
    • Final decision whether an author’s work is appropriate for the Local Author collection is made by librarians in the Collection Services department
    • If an author’s book is available in eBook format in Kobo or Smashbooks, Sno-Isle Libraries is able to purchase it through our eBook vendor
  • Databases
    • Use library databases for research
    • Available under the Online Resources tab at top of library’s website
    • Databases are searchable by Age, Format or Subject
      • Some of the Subject categories: Current Events, History & Culture, Science
      • Examples of use:
        • Use the Chicago Tribune Historical database to research the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 for a novel set in that time period or location
        • Use the Birds of the World database from Cornell University to do research for a novel that includes birdwatching

Top Circulating Books and DVDs at the Freeland Library

  • What books are Freeland library customers checking out? These are the top three fiction and non-fiction books checked out during the same time period before the pandemic closure, when the library was providing contact-free holds pickup only, and after the main library building was fully re-opened.
    • Top June 2019 Fiction – before pandemic closure
      • Overstory by Richard Powers 
      • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 
      • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 
    • Top June 2019 Non-Fiction – before pandemic closure
      • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 
      • Unforgettable Canada by George Fischer 
      • Furious Hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee by Cep Casey
  •  Top June 2020 Fiction – contact-free holds pickup
    • Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout 
    • Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler 
    • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel 
  • Top June 2020 Non-Fiction – contact-free holds pickup
    • A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan 
    • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad 
    • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Kimmerer 
  • Top June 2021 Fiction – main library building re-opened
    • The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly 
    • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 
    • All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny 
  • Top June 2021 Non-Fiction – main library building re-opened
    • Facing the Mountain: a True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown 
    • Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson 
    • Nomadland: Surviving American in the Twenty-first Century by Jessica Bruder 
  • What DVDs are popular with Freeland customers? These are the top five DVDs that checked out most often before the library closed due to the pandemic, when the library was providing contact-free holds pickup only, and after the main library building was fully re-opened.
    • Top June 2019 (before pandemic closure)
      • Bohemian Rhapsody 
      • Ocean’s Eight 
      • Tiny: a Story about Living Small 
      • Humor Me 
      • Take Shelter 
    • June 2020 (contact-free holds pickup)
      • Little Women 
      • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 
      • Star Wars IX, the Rise of Skywalker 
      • Knives Out 
      • Jumanji: the Next Level
    • 2021 (main library building re-opened)
      • Minari 
      • Mulan 
      • News of the World 
      • The Father 
      • Coda 

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