Evolution of a Sustainable City

This September, I set up a display on the Central Library’s 7th floor called “Sustainable Cities” to complement a traveling exhibition we were showing at the time elsewhere in the building. The display featured books and documentaries about how to design and build an urban environment that would offer more economic and energy security, better transportation options, cleaner air, and higher quality of life than current cities generally do.

Just for fun, I designed the display about sustainable cities in the form of a miniature sustainable city. Between the books and DVDs on their traditional wire stands there were paper apartment buildings, a cloth representing green space, a lake made from a blue placemat, tiny paper bicyclists, and a person or two in a wheel chair to remind us of the need for accessibility. We then challenged patrons with this question:

What would we see in YOUR sustainable city? Continue reading “Evolution of a Sustainable City”

Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition


One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.

More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?

The international exhibition Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars offers fascinating answers to this question. Continue reading “Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition”

Honoring Jim Henson and the Art of Puppetry

When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there. – Jim Henson

On Saturday, May 13th, The Seattle Public Library is delighted to be hosting an all-day, all-ages puppeteering event called Jim Henson Con with fantastic co-sponsor, Geek Girl Con. The event will not only honor a beloved genius whose creations have captured the imaginations of people worldwide, but celebrate the art of puppetry and all of those who practice it, whether professionally or simply for the love of the craft.

Among the activities at this convention will be performances by professional puppeteers Jennifer Carroll, Rachel Jackson and Jason Mondine, puppet making opportunities, and Labyrinth and Rainbow Connection sing-alongs. Special guest Karen Prell, who worked with Jim Henson and was the voice of Red Fraggle in Fraggle Rock and the worm in “Labyrinth” will also speak at the event, which is very exciting!

Make or bring your own homemade puppet or Henson-inspired costume and you can participate in our runway show, complete with fabulous prizes! Check out our Facebook event page for the full agenda. Continue reading “Honoring Jim Henson and the Art of Puppetry”

New Magazine Subscriptions: Part 1

We are excited to announce the start of several new print magazines subscriptions at the Central Library and at many branches! Thank you to all the patrons and staff who made suggestions over the last two years. You have helped our magazine collection remain current and a reflection of the many interests of our community. Here are some of Central Library’s most recent additions, with more to come in the near future:

City Dog Seattle famously contains more dogs than children, so it’s no wonder that our city also offers an excellent magazine for the pooch-loving city dweller. If that’s you, City Dog is an excellent local source for information on training, socialization, gear, wellness, and a variety of dog-related local events.

Continue reading “New Magazine Subscriptions: Part 1”

Wuthering Weather

Up here at the Central Library science desk, weather conversations are often much more than small talk. Patrons often want to know how their perceptions match available data, and recently it’s been all about fat raindrops and heavy coats. Has this winter really been unusual? Our research says yes. Seattle has just experienced the coldest winter in 32 years, as explained by Q13. Cliff Mass reports that we received a year’s worth of rain in five months.

Cliff Mass

So: What happened? Continue reading “Wuthering Weather”