Category Archives: Libraries

Archival Library Poster from the Library of Congress

Some things never change, your library and librarians can help navigate all the new ways to find accurate information – on the Internet and in our books, ebooks, reference books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, now in print and online.  This poster was featured on the Library of Congress blog for Archives Month.For greater knowledge on more subjects, use your library


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Filed under BPL services, Information literacy, Libraries

Time Capsule Opening – Treasures from 1916

Members of the Burlington Historical Society, library and city officials gathered Saturday June 25th to officially open and reveal the contents of the “time capsule” stored in a cornerstone cemented into the historic Burlington Carnegie library building (see image below).  The local newspaper of the day described the ceremony of a century ago. [Click here for slide show of the process and event]

Under [within] the cornerstone the following articles of more or less historic community value were deposited in a sealed jappaned box, These documents were placed in a japanned tin box, in large manila envelopes that were heavily coated with paraffine (sic) wax.”

“Burlington Library Cornerstone is laid” The Journal, Burlington Washington June 2, 1916
1. Two copies of the Burlington Journal
2. Two copies of the [Skagit County] Informer  [so far there is only one reference to another copy (microfilmed) of the Skagit County Informer held at the Washington State Library – however we have not yet checked with the Skagit Museum]
3. Copy of the Burlington Journal containing the library ordinances
4. History of library and reading rooms
5. History of new library activities in getting money for founding Carnegie library
6. Year book of the Alpha Club
7. Yearbook of the Monday Civic Club
8. Ordinance establishing Library Board
9. List of city and school district officers

These items will be on display soon at the library temporarily and viewable on our Hub History page.



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Filed under Burlington, Historic Preservation, History, Libraries

“The Martian” Fuses Science with Hilarity

The_Martian_2014“The Martian” opens with a freak dust storm, forcing manned Mars Mission Ares 3 to cut its journey short. Astronaut Mark Watney is pierced by debris while his crew scrambles to the safety of their spacecraft. When his vital signs flat-line, the crew makes the difficult decision to embark for Earth without him. But after a miraculous turn of events, Watney recovers to find himself alone on the red planet. Traveling to Mars takes years, so it’s likely that he will starve or succumb to the harsh, unforgiving conditions of his new home before a rescue mission arrives. No danger of that, though, because why would NASA rescue a dead guy?

Through a series of journal entries riddled with humorous commentary, readers learn that Watney is the mission’s fix-it man, in addition to a botanist and a snarky (yet cautious) optimist. Watney overcomes setbacks with the resourcefulness of TV’s MacGyver, using his meager assortment of supplies and raw materials to improve his chances of survival. From supplementing his food by farming potatoes to making water out of thin air, Watney shows again and again that while he was one of the first astronauts to walk on Mars, he’s not ready to be the first to die there. That is, if he doesn’t die by overexposure to the cheesy 1970s sitcoms and disco music that the crew commander left behind.

Watney’s sense of humor turns this tale of survival into something new and unique. It’s more lighthearted than one might expect, and while some may find that refreshing, the cheerful quips occasionally struck me as unrealistic given the circumstances. Author Andy Weir’s language and format make the scientific elements comprehensible to nonscience geeks (like me), although I found myself skimming through lengthy descriptions to get back to the action.

Overall, excitement and laugh-out-loud dialogue make this novel an excellent pick for general fiction readers as well as thrill-seekers. Die-hard science fiction fans will especially appreciate Weir’s technical writing. (Please note that strong language laces Watney’s journal entries and may not appeal to everyone.)

It’s something of a miracle that Weir, a computer programmer by trade, crafted a debut novel that crawled its way from self-published anonymity to the desk of director Ridley Scott. Scott’s proven success with “Alien” and “Gladiator” foretells that the forthcoming film may prove to be a 2015 blockbuster. Don’t wait for the movie release, though; get your hands on the book everyone will be talking about before it hits the big screen. In the meantime, check out these similar titles available at Skagit libraries: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury; The Martian Race by Gregory Benford; and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.

Note: I originally wrote this review for On Our Shelves, a weekly column in the Skagit Valley Herald. Read the Sunday edition to check out what library staff around the county are reading.

– Jenny


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Filed under Books, Fiction, Libraries, Movies, New Books, Reading

Practice makes perfect!

If you are planning to take the SAT, GRE, GED or other career qualifying exam, click here to practice the exams using the Testing & Education Reference Center. Your library card allows you to spend time focusing on the tests and sample questions to prepare you for the best scores! You can take the tests over and over again to get it just right!

Practice taking your entrance and qualifying exams on the Testing & Education Reference Center

Testing & Education Reference Center

Testing & Education Reference Center (TERC) is designed to help students — in high school, graduate school, and specialty school and beyond — make their future education decisions easier. TERC is provides easy access to information on colleges, technical schools, practice entrance exams, and certification and professional license exams that show students what to expect and how to prepare for — and excel at — the next level. Plus, the resume Builder and Virtual career library make TERC perfect for job seekers by providing specific examples and tips for the job search. It also provides provides a vast collection of information on two- and four-year institutions across the United States to help students (and parents) screen potential schools.  This resource is available in the library or from home 24/7.  Contact us if you need help.

HSPT (High School Placement Test)
ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam)
SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test)
SHSAT (Specialized High Schools Admission Test)
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
MAT (Miller Analogies Test)
Academic Skills Question Banks
Mathematics, Grades 6-8
Mathematics, Grades 9-12
Reading, Grades 6-8
Reading, Grades 9-12
Science, Grades 9-12
Writing, Grades 6-8
Writing, Grades 9-12
AP (Advanced Placement)
AP Biology
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP English Language and Composition
AP English Literature and Composition
AP European History
AP Human Geography NEW
AP Macroeconomics
AP Microeconomics
AP Physics B
AP Physics C
AP Psychology
AP Spanish Language
AP Statistics
AP U.S. Government and Politics
AP U.S. History
AP World History
COOP (Cooperative Entrance Examination)
HSPT (High School Placement Test)
ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam)
SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test)
SHSAT (Specialized High Schools Admission Test)
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
MAT (Miller Analogies Test)
Nail Technology
Esthetics Fundamentals
Esthetics Advanced
Firefighter Exam
Law Enforcement Exams
Border Patrol
Corrections Officer
Court Officer
Parole Officer
Police Officer
Police Promotion
Probation Officer
State Trooper
Medical/Nursing Exams
Medical Assistant Course
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
Ethics in America
Introduction to Computing
Management Information Systems
Principles of Supervision
Substance Abuse
SAT Subject Tests
Biology E/M
Math Level 1
Math Level 2
U.S. History
World History
International Tools
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
TOEFL Reading Comprehension
TOEFL Vocabulary
TOEFL Writing and Grammar
TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication)
U.S. Citizenship
Accountant/Auditor Exams
ACT WorkKeys
Reading for Information
Applied Mathematics
American Foreign Service Officer
Basic Computer Skills
Microsoft Windows 7 NEW
Microsoft Word 2010 NEW
Microsoft Excel 2010 NEW
Microsoft Access 2010 NEW
Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 NEW
Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)
Postal 473/473-C Exams
Postal 710/711 Exams
Real Estate
Court Officer
Parole Officer
Probation Officer
Treasury Enforcement Agent


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Filed under Databases, Information literacy, Job Hunting, Libraries

If you liked…

Under A Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown

Under A Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown

It isn’t very often we have over 5 holds on a non-fiction book so we have ordered an extra copy of “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.  This title has been on the best-seller list for months.

For those of you who are waiting, several of us agree it is worth the wait. If you also liked Timothy Egan’s “Big Burn” you may also want to read “Under a Flaming Sky”, an earlier title by Brown.

All three are historical narratives with good stories of improbable survival, triumph and tragedy.  They serve to keep us aware of our tentative hold on life and humanity.



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Filed under History, Libraries

Discover Burlington History @ the Library

Discovery Burlington History at the Library

Discover Burlington History Program Sept 16 7 pm at the Burlington Library

Tuesday evening, Sept 16, 7 pm
Burlington Public Library Community Meeting Room
820 E Washington Ave

Learn to find Burlington historical places, people, events, buildings, houses, dates, using the library and other new resources – print and online.  Also learn about the new Hub History Digital Collection of online photographs and documents for learning history.

Bring your questions and share your history stories with the Burlington Historical Society group for a fascinating trip back in time here in Skagit County.

Reference Librarian and local historian Karen Prasse will talk about finding the hidden-in-plain-site resources for history.

The program is sponsored by the Burlington Historical Society

For more information call 360-757-4757


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Filed under Burlington, Genealogy, History, Libraries

Burlington Public Summer Reading Bike winner !

Ciro Raygoza, 3, is the proud recipient of a Mongoose bike donated by the Mount Vernon Wal-Mart.

Ciro Raygoza, 3, is the proud recipient of a Mongoose bike donated by the Mount Vernon Wal-Mart for the Burlington Library Summer Reading program

Ciro Raygoza was one of 322 children who registered for the free Summer Reading Program, Fizz, Boom, Read, at the Burlington Public Library.

Each week, his family faithfully read to Ciro and filled out raffle tickets.
One hundred twenty-one (121) children completed the eight-week reading program and were eligible for a complimentary paperback book.


2014 Burlington Library Summer Reading Program


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Finding inspiration in the library

Janis Joplin in 1969

Janis Joplin found her inspiration reading about the blues in her local library

The Library of Congress has been working to digitize interviews that broadcaster Studs Terkel did with prominent musicians.  There is a lot of fascinating material in this collection, including interviews with Oscar Peterson and Bob Dylan.

The one that caught our interest, though, was Janis Joplin talking about how she was inspired by Bessie Smith and other blues singers, and how she “started reading books on the blues that I found in the library.”  Take a listen:


Thanks to the Library of Congress and its partners, you can find a number of Studs’ interviews, with musicians and other notable interviewees, available for streaming online.


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Filed under Libraries, Music

An ebook to die for

BLR_Pedigree_FBgraphicHave you downloaded an ebook from the library yet?  Are you already an avid ebook reader, but just want to try something new?  Either way, be sure to participate in the Big Library Read in the Washington Anytime Library.  During the Big Library Read, anybody with a library card can download a copy of an ebook immediately — no waiting lists or holds — and read it on whatever gadget they own, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Nook, Android phone, Android tablet, Kindle, Kobo, laptop computer, desktop computer… well, you get the idea.

This time around, the book is Laurien Berenson’s A pedigree to die for — a fun mystery where our heroine’s only clue is a missing pedigreed poodle.  You can download the book now, and keep it until June 18th.  No need to worry about late fees, because the book will simply disappear from your device when the Big Library Read is done.  Overdrive, the company that provides the Anytime Library with its ebooks, hopes this will turn into a “virtual, global book club,” so if you like the book, be sure to talk about it using the #biglibraryread hashtag.


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Filed under E-books, Libraries

Today in history…

Thompsons_Switchback_Railway_1884On June 16, 1884, the country’s first roller coaster opened to the public on Coney Island in New York.  The 1884 coaster, named the Switchback Railway, may not look particularly terrifying to modern coaster fans. But according to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Coney Island installed a second roller coaster called the “Flip-Flap”, which “used centrifugal force to keep riders in their seats.” Even those that didn’t ride the newer coaster were wowed by it: the St. James Encyclopedia reports that “an amazed public paid admission to watch” the Flip-Flap.

If you have a library card with us, feel free to browse these expert-written entries in the St. James Encyclopedia about roller coasters, amusement parks, and fairs:



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Filed under History, Libraries