I’ll be at the Zoo, will you?

As this hot, sunny summer is drawing to a close, have you picked up your free zoo tickets yet? Any participant in our Summer of Learning program for children or teens is eligible to receive two free tickets (while supplies last) to Woodland Park Zoo!

How do you get them? Fill out a simple survey by Thursday, Sept. 10.

wild scienceFind surveys at your local library:

  • On the back of Summer of Learning activity booklets
  • On the fliers for early learners
  • On the teen program fliers
  • Or online at www.spl.org/summeroflearning.


  • Tickets are good for free entry to the zoo for one person 18 or under and one guest
  • Dates: Friday, Sept. 11; Saturday, Sept. 12; or Sunday, Sept. 13
  • Surveys will help the Library improve next year’s Summer of Learning program
  • Children ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

We are also providing a free bus shuttle on Sunday, Sept. 13:

The shuttle will depart between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. from the following locations.

  • Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 206-386-4636
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St., 206-684-7454
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S., 206-386-1905

Thanks to our sponsors:
The Seattle Public Library Foundation, U.S. Bank and Woodland Park Zoo

Questions? Call The Seattle Public Library at 206-386-4636

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Rock Operas and Concept Albums

By Danielle J.

You know Tommy and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, but what about contemporary rock operas or concept albums? One of my favorite bands, Titus Andronicus, just released a rock opera composed of twenty-nine songs performed in five acts called The Most Lamentable Tragedy. Titus Andronicus is no stranger to this sort of thing, as their second release, The Monitor, was an epic concept album inspired by the Civil War, complete with musicians reading Abraham Lincoln speeches in between tracks. It’s one of the best rock records of the last decade and I can’t recommend it enough. The release of The Most Lamentable Tragedy got me thinking about other recent concept albums which manage to bring the rock’n’roll without being gimmicky.

Cover art for Black Sheep Boy by Okkervil RiverBlack Sheep Boy (and appendix). The album gets its name from the 60’s folk song of the same title, originally by Tim Hardin. The album uses the voice of Black Sheep Boy to express a multitude of dark emotions, some very sharp, some more abstract. The world it creates is one of unrequited love, loneliness, princesses and really, really long songs. It also has some very strange and lovely instrumentation. It’s definitely worth listening to in one sitting if you have the time and inclination. Make sure you get the version with the appendix!

Cursive: The Ugly Organ. The Ugly Organ is a carnival-esque album about the perils ofCover art for The Ugly Organ by Cursive being an artist and a critically acclaimed band with all the accompanying pressures and expectations. The Ugly Organ itself is the dark force that churns out songs, ruins relationships, and causes artists to self-destruct. There are songs about writing songs and songs about feeling sad about being sad. A good example is from the song “Butcher the song”: “I’m writing songs to entertain/but these people/they just want pain/They want to hear my deepest sins/the songs from the ugly organ.” If it sounds melodramatic, that’s because it is, but it works (I swear!). It’s self-deprecating and more than self-referential, but it’s heavy and loud enough (with all manner of guitars and string instruments) to keep it from being too sappy or pretentious.

Bonus points: Pedro the Lion’s Winners Never Quit, about a politician’s fall from grace and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, a sweeping album about exactly that.

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Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Dark Fantasy

~posted by Carrie M.

What constitutes a work of “Dark Fantasy,” can be difficult to define. For our purposes, we will be looking at some works that are fantasy in the sense that they have the mandatory elements of other worlds and/or otherworldly beings, but that also contain a “dark” element such as (cue *gasps*) horror.

Find The Gunslinger in the SPL catalogThe Dark Tower series, by Stephen King, is one of my very favorites. The eight book magnum opus combines fantasy, horror, and western elements successfully for an epic series – both in written word and graphic novel form. The story follows “The Gunslinger,” Rolland Deschain, as he travels his world in order to reach the Dark Tower – the nexus point of all universes. Along the way Rolland encounters numerous enemies and monsters, many gruesome and bloody battles, and even traverses between his universe and ours while preparing to battle The Crimson King. Be warned that the action scenes in this series definitely fall into the “dark” aspect of this subgenre, but once you start with book one (The Gunslinger), you won’t be able to stop. Continue reading

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Book Bingo: Memoirs

Book Bingo MemoirThis summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Follow this series throughout the summer

     ~ posted by Marion

Frequently I dream of sitting in a chair on a beach and reading away.  It’s been working out to be a few stray afternoons in the back yard until a late summer vacation week. I love reading memoirs about people with strong character. Sometimes, it’s the book cover or the book’s length which catches my eye. Here’s a quick list of what’s been tops on my summer reading list and why. And, for more memoir suggestions, check out the Book Bingo: Memoir list.

bossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey. Plenty of library copies are available of this former bestseller. And people keep talking about loving it.

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War by Annia Ciezadlo. The pink flowers on the cover caught my eye. Literature, food and war did indeed bring people of all ages together in war-torn Beirut and Baghdad. Continue reading

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Movie Mondays: SNL stars get (mostly) serious

~posted by Frank

Dozens of Saturday Night Live cast members have gone on to have movie careers (to varying success). While comedies are still king for SNL stars, they occasionally find their way in a drama – or at least a “dramedy” that gives each star the chance to be funny and exercise their acting chops (earning Eddie Murphy a Golden Globe nomination in Dreamgirls, for instance, and accolades for Will Forte in Nebraska). Here are four more compelling dramas starring some of your favorites from SNL. Continue reading

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Book Bingo: Checked Out from the Library

Book Bingo Checked Out Library     – posted by Sarah.

This summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Follow this series throughout the summer!

Given how hectic life can get, it can be hard to slow down and take the time to meander through a leisurely-paced novel. A summer vacation can provide an opportunity to enjoy the deliciously lazy feeling of lingering over an author’s turn of a phrase while lounging by the pool or sipping espresso at a sidewalk cafe. For your next vacation, I recommend Haruki Murakami’s literary romance Norwegian Wood. The book, translated from the original Japanese, is a middle-aged man’s sweet and sad reminiscence of his college days, coming of age in 60’s Tokyo, and the two women that he fell in love with.

Continue reading

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Welcome W.W. Norton to OverDrive!

~posted by Frank

W.W. Norton is the latest publisher to make their ebooks available to libraries, and the library has added more than 350 titles to the digital collection in OverDrive. Here are some of the highlights. Continue reading

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