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 

Don And Tom Reconnect WOWI

On a typical marvelous day in Coupeville, Don and I found an opportunity to set these podcasts back on their original track. At the start, we crafted these episodes based on our resources, i.e. two guys, a microphone, an interest in highlighting the writing community of Whidbey Island, and a willingness to adapt and learn. Writers are creative people. We did what we could with what we had. The pandemic changed things (understatement.) And now, thanks to responsible folks wearing masks and getting vaccinated, enough progress has been made that we could return to something like our original concept. Uh. How did we do this a little more than a year ago? We begin again. 

We started with live, largely uncut interviews and discussions with various members of the expansive yet unofficial Whidbey Island writing community. Guests included writers, of course, but also editors, publishers, poets, librarians, book sellers, book collectors, etc. Our community is varied. Whidbey Island is varied, too. So, we recorded at a variety of locations. The background became part of the show. Listen for ambience that includes jets, turkeys, dogs, businesses, pedestrians, etc. The island provides a long list to include.

Then, the pandemic hit. Zoom this. Google Meet that. Everyone was remote. Everyone was required to have a bit of technological skill. And of course that thing we all needed, a sense of humor, somehow.

Now, we’re back – or at least we hope we are – sort of. For the first time in over a year, Don and I recorded a live, masked-face-to-masked-face episode. The bonus was a setting that included the sounds of eagles, people, and maybe a ferry. Our personal bonus was a view of the Sound, Port Townsend, the Olympics, and the usual extraordinary panoramas from near the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Why not include someone as a guest? Well, partly, we had to see if we remembered all of the gadgets and setup considerations. (Good thing Don remembered the extra batteries.)

It was good to reconnect and remember those other bits of communication that are harder to convey online. Body language, hand signals, stifled laughs – as well as a reminder to not bump the microphone.

And there was a lot to talk about. Those months weren’t wasted. Turning binge watching into a way to research writers’s styles. A surplus of uninterrupted time to write. Dealing with a support network, or at least fellow writers, that are necessarily more remote. Marketing campaigns that can’t rely on readings, signings, panels, or talks. 

Listen for our personal adaptations and approaches, as well as progress in our individual projects – including opening hints about a possible group project for sci-fi writers. 

If you have a story to tell about your recently released book, how you managed your marketing campaign, how your business survived, how your organization adapted, whatever, send us a note about possibly being one of our guests. (If we get too many we might have to put all the names in a basket and see what luck provides.)

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 23 – Don and Tom Reconnect


His Mother Really Is Crazier Than Yours – In Interview With Cam Castle

Where would writers be without their families? Sure, they’re a source of support, but they’re also a source of stories. Cam Castle was born into a wealth of stories, which is one reason he wrote a book about it. “My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother”

Cam’s Mom created a creative childhood environment, not necessarily on purpose. Retelling those tales here would be redundant. Besides, Cam’s better at telling them. He’s a writer of many talents, including writing for the Seattle Times; but as a few fortunate fellow writers know, having him in a writing group makes sure the day won’t be dull. He’s a humorist with the ability to make dull text entertaining. (I know. His reading of some of my personal finance pieces made them funny enough to wake everyone up.)

Cam was also brave enough to be one of our first interviewees, back when we were still learning what this podcast would truly be about, and how we needed to approach it. Just like in the writing groups, his candor was appreciated and constructive. Subsequent interviewees can thank him, even though it may not be apparent how he made their experience much smoother. (That’s also why he pointed out that, while we posted the podcast, we forgot to post the attendant blog post. Oops. Pardon us as we play catch-up.)

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 3 – Cam Castle, My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother

51kicxi29nl._sy346_

Poet Daniel Edward Moore Interview

2a786495b824a8c6-danielmoore_91Recently I announced that Tom and I were set to meet with award-winning local poet and 3-time published author, Daniel Edward Moore, for our next WOWI session.  What neither of us knew then was that we were about to meet a fascinating gentleman who proved to be — frankly — a POWERHOUSE!

Daniel met us today at a delightful new shop in downtown Oak Harbor — Whidbey Made — which features a splendid array of local-only artisan goods and keepsakes.  If you haven’t dropped by yet, I’m tellin’ ya, GO NOW!  In the back of the Whidbey Made mercantile is a cozy space available to rent for small meetings and workshops.  It proved to be perfect for WOWI — I think partly due to proprietors, Catherine & Brian, seeing their shop in-part as highlighting all the local talent.  But I wonderfully digress . . . .
(Please follow @WhidbeyMade on Twitter)

Daniel shared his story of how he made his personal discovery of poetry — picking up a well-loved Sylvia Plath copy at a garage sale — and beginning to write.  His insights and experiences with developing his craft and submitting to national journals had Tom and myself chomping at the opportunity to ask more questions.  Easily this was a conversation that could have gone into ‘the wee hours’ — but, alas, Whidbey Made did need to close up!

045837a9a016e42c-boyscover11As said — Daniel was a powerhouse in conversation.  His passion about expression through the written word is clearly merely unabashed on a slow day — and you’ll hear this in the recording session.  He is also no-holds-barred when it comes to the poetry community on Whidbey Island.  For three years he and his wife, Laura, have managed the Oak Harbor Poetry Project, a group that both features established poets, supports upcoming poets with writing workshops, and holds an open mic.  Saturday (14Mar2020) Daniel will be giving a poetry reading from 7 to 830PM at Unity of Whidbey (free admission, refreshments and book signing at intermission). With a “Writing Poetry Inside Out Workshop” at the Freeland Library 29Apr2020 from 2 to 4PM . . . . Daniel is one to watch.
(Take a look at the Readings & Events page on his website — note that he’s already booked out into next year!)

Once our session concluded, Daniel kindly pulled out copies of his book “BOYS” (Nov2019), inscribed and signed them, and gave copies to Tom and myself.  He also gave a copy to Catherine, who apparently observed most of our recording from the doorway to the workshop room — our first WOWI audience member!

I have no doubt that you too will be impressed with Daniel Edward Moore and our latest WOWI podcast!

~ Don

Daniel Edward Moore at…

DanielEdwardMoore.com
WhidbeyNews-Times article 10Mar2020
Goodreads
Facebook
Amazon
Oak Harbor Poetry Project — “a wonderful open mic tribe!!”

Daniel Edward Moore is an award-winning poet whose works have appeared in some of the country’s most prestigious literary journals. Additionally he is the author of “Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist“, “BOYS“, and his latest book “Waxing the Dents” published 01Feb2020.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 12 – Daniel Edward Moore, poet

Meg and Kingfisher Bookstore Interview

fe95992103b1deb6bf2974ddfc39f165GOODNESS — Tom and I have been BUSY hombres!  Late January we interviewed PJ Beaven about her about EarthFit books — early February we met with David Gregor of Gregor Rare Books — and Tuesday this week we met with Meg Olsen, owner of Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, Washington.  Looking back at the calendar, we’ve recorded three sessions in 30 days!

Tom and I have had a few dates lined up before with Meg for this interview.  Unfortunately those went through a series of reschedules because She’s A BUSY Lady!  So we were pleased to finally get a date nailed down with Meg earlier this week.  Since Kingfisher is closed until 28Feb2020 for renovations* the three of us were able to sit down and talk.  Meg shared with us how she engages Whidbey Island authors, being a bookseller in the modern market, the books she enjoys, her experiences taking ownership of the Kingfisher Bookstore, and the new layout for her shop.
(*You can hear some of the work going on in the background of the podcast … along with the creaking rocking chair Meg sat in for the session.)

dynamoelectricmachinesendviewpartlysection_usp284110
What you see here is someone’s attempt at illustrating where all of Meg’s energy comes from…

I’ve known Meg for the past year — since getting my debut book Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies placed in Kingfisher.  During our interview I got to comment on my first impression of her, and I’ve been absolutely pleased not only that she carries Whidbey Island authors’ books but how she relates to our books and us individuals.  My impression from day-one is that Meg is enthusiastic about books and high-energy — through our interview I’m updating that to being passionate about books and a DYNAMO!

ed7b5b9fbac5e9e51bb3826ac3dbe09c
Kingfisher that was … and will be AGAIN!

Meg spoke about the history of Kingfisher along with her plans for the future — and if you’re a Whidbey Island author, I’m telling you now … you need to get ready!  Ready to meet your readers, ready to do readings, ready for EVERYTHING!  Kingfisher will be getting stairs into the basement and when it reopens around February 28th the floor space will be expanded — used books in the basement, new books on the ground floor …. and with that much more space for new books, We Are Going To Need To Write MORE BOOKS!

This is another one of those interviews where I think Tom and I could have sat with our guest and talked all day — so this session ran around 50 minutes (Good Stuff!).  Reality is that we’re all busy folks, so Tom and I got out of Meg’s hair / way / renovations.  I’m excited not only to see the new shop space in another week, I’m also EXCITED to see everything that’s to come in Meg’s future with Kingfisher Bookshop!

Enjoy! ~ Don

UPDATE 27Feb2020 — I stopped in at Kingfisher yesterday, a lot of nice work has gone on there.  I was told that there is a good bit of work yet to go, and they are predicting being back in service in time for Musselsfest March 7th/8th.  It’s going to be exciting to see the grand re-opening!

Look for Meg and Kingfisher online at …

And in real-life at 16 Front St. in Coupeville, Washington.

Kingfisher black and white
Kingfisher Bookshop ….. before the renovations.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 11 – Meg Olsen, Kingfisher Bookstore

Gregor Rare Books – Interview

Today, Tom and I trekked out into some wild western Washington winter weather to interview David Gregor — musician, author, and proprietor of Gregor Rare Booksand what a day it was!

A little backstory here… Shortly after Tom and I recorded and posted the first few WOWI episodes, Tom forwarded an e-mail he had received from the owner of Gregor Rare Books. These were introduced with how Tom knows David, and that he has a cozy and unique shop located in Langley on First Street. This baffled me — I used to live at the south end of the island and would typically romp through Langley twice a week — and yet I had no idea where this “Gregor bookshop” was! I looked it up on GoogleMaps and sure-enough there it was!

I believe unbeknownst to David, his e-mails couldn’t have reached Tom and myself any better. In short, he said that he liked what we had started doing with the show and if there was anything he could do to help support it to let him know. Well THANKS — that’s a fast way to get on our radar! Why — we appreciate that sort of reception and because most of the year Tom and I need to find indoor places to record our shows. Anyway, a few more e-mails went back & forth and I easily formed the opinion that this Gregor was a nice guy!

Entering David’s shop you see shelves, books, display cases, a guitar and amp — normal bookstore stuff, right? Until you look closer at his offerings…. Major books, major authors, valuable copies, signed copies, books that David has expertly assessed for their condition. Yeah, when you realize that you’re looking at a Hemingway tome worth more than your checking account, you take notice! These are the books that David has a passion to bring to his customers.

Tom and I got to spend the better part of an hour with David today. To say that he is a pleasant and fascinating gentleman would be putting it lightly. He is an accomplished blues musician and composer. He has five book titles to his own name. He is the owner of a bookshop that caters to customers with particular tastes, whom he connects with rare books both in his store and online. David talked with us about travel, music, his writing, his writing process, the Whidbey writing community, the books he deals in, the customers he meets — I wanted this WOWI session to never end!

But alas, all good things must come to a close, and now you too may enjoy this interview with David Gregor — along with visiting his shop “Gregor Rare Books”, located at 220 1st Street in Langley, WA.

On a personal note, the adventure with my mic stand … Goes On!

So whats the mic-stand-confusion tally….

I start to think Tom and I need to pose a photo for WOWI where we’re fishing off of the Coupeville warf using my two telescoping tripod mic sands as fishing rods — along with my third stand holding my Zoom’s H2n recording unit.

Best ~ Don


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 10 – David Gregor, Gregor Rare Books

Interview with PJ Beaven

This past weekend Tom and I had the absolute joy of interviewing an author-friend of ours — PJ Beaven!

PJ has a most remarkable collection of creative ideas an insights combining health, fitness, and conservation. But where do these come from?!?

As a former zookeeper, PJ saw that she and her peers could take better care of the animals by taking better care of themselves. She took to making fitness a fun and enriching game, and connected healthy habits to conservation. This has turned into a number of PJ’s books, videos, and presentations … like the one Tom and I participated in just before recording WOWI podcast #9.

Prior to the recording session, PJ presented her ZooFit approach at the Langley Library on south Whidbey Island. Tom and I got to sit in as PJ shared her ideas on how to make simple shifts in your life that have an impact on the environment and species we share this planet with. She believe that each person can — not necessarily be perfect but — take on at least the things in our lives that we can to have the best impact on the world.

PJ’s presentation style is down-to-earth, fun, and engaging. She rolled right from the library and brought that same attitude directly to the interview Tom and I held with her at The Commons Cafe & Books. Talking with PJ was an absolute ball, and I know you’re going to enjoy our latest podcast!

… uh, when we get it posted soon. (Done.)

~ Don

PJ can be found online at …

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 9 – Pattie Beaven, Zoo Fit

‘Final’ Interview with Dan Pedersen

16113708
If you see this man, say “Hey, great books!”

This Wednesday Tom and I will be interviewing south Whidbey author and blogger, Dan Pedersen!

Dan is a former Pacific northwest journalist and magazine manager.  When he broke away from city life and joined us here on Whidbey Island he made the personal discovery of writing — and having fun with it!  He started with the topics of nature and rural living and evolved to writing mysteries.

Dan has an impressive list of titles to his name.  Six of these focus on his Whidbey Island detective character, Shane Lindstrom … who occasionally leaves the island to further fight crime!

Our podcast with Dan should be posted by the end of this week — watch for it!

Find Dan at …

His blog, Amazon, and on Goodreads

Enjoy his books …

 

Seeing Into The Future …

ed7b5b9fbac5e9e51bb3826ac3dbe09c
The main floor of Kingfisher — the steps to the basement are behind the red velvet rope …

This past Monday afternoon Tom and I previewed the future expanded floor space at Kingerfisher Bookstore.  Proprietor and all-around-awesome-lady, Meg, gave us permission to record our first indoor-off-season at-a-business podcast in the basement of her historic building in Coupeville, WA.

The upcoming additional space is going to double the display space for Meg and Kingfisher — and as a fellow book-lover I couldn’t be more EXCITED!  Meg also has vision of using this space for author readings.  There is a giant door that opens to the cove on the back wall of the basement, and Meg has even imagined these readings to include audience members listening in on the bows of their boats.

So why were Tom and I spending time in the basement?  To record the latest podcast, of course!

cover-02-200x300
Available on Amazon and Smashwords

This past Monday Tom and I returned to our roots — just as with our first two WOWI episodes it was a discussion between Tom and myself.  Our focus was around my experiences now being one year into being a self-published author.  I’ve learned much — largely based on Tom’s knowledgeable coaching — and this is a topic that could easily supply a number of episodes …. which might explain why this turned out to be our longest recording to date (oops).  Maybe it wouldn’t have been as long had I been operating on a full night’s sleep and didn’t keep repeating myself …

Looking further into the future … it appears that Tom and I will be interviewing author and blogger Dan Pedersen.  With a new book soon to be released, talking with Dan promises to be interesting indeed!  Location TBA, recording on November 20th.

~ Don

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 7 – Don Scoby Bake Your Own Darn Good Cookies – first anniversary