Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection

October is American Archives Month and we are celebrating with the completion of a new digital collection: the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection.

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Donald Schmechel was a Seattle Public Library board member who, in the 1980s, created a project to interview prominent figures in Pacific Northwest History. Schmechel raised funding for the project, volunteered his time to manage it, and conducted interviews along with a crew of volunteers. The resulting oral histories were divided between the Seattle Public Library and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). Continue reading “Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection”

The Space Needle: A 21st Century View

How many times have you gauged your location or some necessary distance by that 605 foot spinning top of a landmark? Long after March 1962, the centerpiece of Seattle Center has evolved just as the campus it towers over continues to morph and change with the ever-growing city surrounding it.

The future is here! Built in record time, the Space Needle went from being a doodle of an idea, on a napkin, to an iconic landmark. Once the largest structure west of the Mississippi, the Space Needle is now dwarfed by buildings that soar over the 605 foot tower. Continue reading “The Space Needle: A 21st Century View”

Library Reads for October 2019

Ready to place some holds? Check out these ten books coming in October that librarians across the US are loving.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
A fascinating look at the human body and how it functions. Each historical tidbit is well-researched and thoroughly cited. Interesting stories, such as how diseases, cells, nerves, and organs were discovered, are woven throughout. For readers who like narrative nonfiction such as Gulp by Mary Roach, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, and Guts by Giulia Enders.
~ Carolynn Waites, Manvel Library, Manvel, TX

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas
In this fun, playful series, Thomas has created a female version of [Sherlock] Holmes who is vibrant, real, relatable, and intelligent. This fourth book has Holmes and Watson travel to France, with twists and turns the reader won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series and Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series.
~ Carrie Pedigo, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, IN

The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld
Denfeld’s writing is like lyrical poetry, with every word captivating. Add to this an amazing mystery, a plethora of suspense, and an ending that exceeds all expectations, and we have another 5 star book. For fans of What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan and Love You More by Lisa Gardner.
~ Cyndi Larsen, Avon Free Public Library, Avon, CT Continue reading “Library Reads for October 2019”

Author Vicki Conrad Shares Favorite Picture Book Biographies

We asked the author of Just Like Beverly, a new picture book biography of Beverly Cleary, to share her favorite biographies for children in this Nightstand Reads post. Here are five picks from Vicki Conrad:

As a child, the Ramona Series was dear to my heart. I truly felt so much like her. My two favorite books are Ramona and her Mother, and Ramona and her Father. I also loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

My 5 Favorite Biographies, right now:

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson
This book is packed with scientific information, but with lovely poetic language. It is a quiet gem. Continue reading “Author Vicki Conrad Shares Favorite Picture Book Biographies”

The Apollo 11 Anniversary 1969-2019

What began as one small step for [a] man, is now one giant leap through half a century of the calendar of human history, as we commemorate the first landing on the moon, July 20, 1969.

With the anniversary comes books and other resources highlighting the landing, the astronauts, and the space race—which was an echo of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. After some early experiments in space, President Kennedy in 1961 set the mission for the nation, to land a person on the moon by the end of the sixties. This story had it all, great characters, drama, heroes and villains, pathos and tragedy, and finally triumph. Also, microwaves, Teflon, and the never ending development of technology that came about as offshoots of the space missions during that half century.

Some of the newer titles out for the anniversary year include the books American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley, Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings by Roger Launius, and One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman.

DVDs include First Man (based on the book by James Hansen), and from director Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11. Continue reading “The Apollo 11 Anniversary 1969-2019”