September 22, 2017

The civil War in Cinema: From Birth of a Nation to Ken Burns

Neill Public Library welcomes film historian Lance Rhoades as we discuss the history of the Civil War on the silver screen!
The American Civil War has been a perennially popular subject in cinema. The war had been over for less than fifty years when movies began to reach the public on a large scale; some veterans were still alive to see their likenesses captured in celluloid. Over one hundred years later, this near-constant obsession with the Civil War not only reflects the nation’s ongoing attempt to understand a most traumatic period, it also illuminates changing attitudes about national identity and character.  Join in a conversation about the cinema the war has inspired, and how it reflects changes in our nation.
This free event takes place Monday, September 25, at 5:30pm in the Neill Public Library Hecht Room.
The event is free to the public and requires no registration, but please note seating is limited.  Light refreshments will be served.

About Lance Rhoades

Lance Rhoades is a multifaceted Seattle-based scholar who completed his graduate studies in Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Washington, where he has taught in the Department of Comparative Literature, and in the Cinema Studies, Comparative History of Ideas, and American Indian Studies programs, and was a recipient of the UW’s Excellence in Teaching award. 

September 20, 2017

Check Out These New Titles in Adult Services....

by Jessica Shattuck
Available in: Print, eBook, eAudio, CD

The Women in the Castle tells the story of three women and their children who take refuge in an ancestral Bavarian castle at the end of World War II.  Guilt weighs on each of the women as they attempt to come to terms with the choices they made before, during, and after the war. The Women in the Castle is a vivid portrayal depiction of war and its aftermath.

by Hannah Tinti
Available in: Print, eBook, CD

Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a retelling of the ancient myth of Hercules, set as a modern-day story about a widower and his twelve-year-old daughter. In part, the story focuses on the daughter, Loo, trying to establish her own identity while beholden to her father’s grief over the loss of his wife. As devoted as the father is, he is secretive about his dark past and he blurs the lines between caregiver and criminal.

Since We Fell
by Dennis Lehane
Available in: Print, eBook, CD

This compelling thriller is an insightful character study about the search for identity and belonging. Since We Fell follows a severely agoraphobic former journalist who enjoys an ideal life with a loving husband. This is all upended when the main character finds that her husband is not who he appears to be. This moody psychological mystery fluidly spins a clever tale of murder and deception.

September 18, 2017

Enhancing the User Experience

Neill Public Library is embarking on a journey to enhance your experience at the library. As our community grows and changes so do the service expectations of our users.  Providing you with an excellent library experience requires mindfulness and continual evaluation on our part.  With generous financial support from the Friends of Neill Public library, we’ll be working with a consultant next year to evaluate and improve our processes and systems to make it easier and more intuitive for you to use the library.

At its core, the user experience is about how customers feel while they are using a product or service. Do they feel cared for or ignored? Can they conduct their business easily or do parts of the process leave them feeling confused or frustrated? Less than desired feelings are indicators for improvement in the user experience.

Opportunities for improvements can be easy to spot when you’re listening to your customers.  We’ve already implemented some great changes based on your feedback.  Taking your cues, we have simplified the printing process and lowered the cost of printing, resulting in happier, less confused and frustrated patrons. Also in response to your feedback, we have simplified the process of using our public computers, resulting in a significant increase in total computer usage without long wait times for patrons.

Some opportunities are easy to identify but difficult to fix. Providing a useful and useable web user experience is a priority, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Many users have very high expectations for web design but don’t always realize the Amazons and Googles of the world employ thousands of software engineers to deliver an outstanding user experience - and even then there are plenty of errors.

At the library we are (very) aware of some of the shortcomings of our online presence. But finding the resources to address those problems is not so easy.   We continue to look at new options, and frankly, by providing our feedback as users, we do our best to pressure some of our IT vendors to create a better user experience for us and for you - hopefully without raising their prices.

Sometimes, the outcome of user experience improvements is difficult to predict in advance. In January, we restored our hours of operation, and while some may not think of this as a “user experience” improvement, it certainly is. With more accessible hours, we have seen a substantial increase in library use and gained new patrons as a result.  While statistics and data were heavily employed to create the new schedule, it was impossible to fully know in advance how user behavior would actually respond to this change.  Happily, the outcome has been extremely favorable and judging by patron feedback, is an enormous improvement in a library user’s experience.

Over the coming year, we will continue to identify and implement library service enhancements.  We invite you to participate in this process by sharing your ideas and input with us along the way.

Joanna Bailey
Director, Neill Public Library

September 13, 2017

Check Out These New Titles in Adult Services....

NaturalDisaster Survival Handbook
by Editors of Outdoor Life
Available in: Print

This book by the editors of Outdoor Life provides readers with crucial information and the recovery steps to take in the event of natural disasters- including wildfire preparation, earthquakes, and even step-by-step instructions on flood proofing your home.  Entertaining and informative, this book is useful for everyone.

Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition
by Linda Gordon
Available in: Print

Prize-winning historian Linda Gordon chronicles the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s in urban, northern, and Midwestern states.  Largely limited to white, Protestant, native-born Americans, the Klan was a major political force and Gordon demonstrates how this ‘second coming’ shaped the course of mainstream politics from the twentieth century until today. 

Junk Gypsy:Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder and Wander
by Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes
Available in: Print

Drawing on over 17 years’ experience, these sisters from Texas are the stars of their own HGTV show that features an Americana inspired design aesthetic.  Chronicling their journeys throughout the country as well as DIY projects and bohemian inspired designs, this colorful and inspiring book is a must-read filled with pro tips, flea market guides, road trip playlists, and so much more.

September 06, 2017

Check Out These New Titles in Adult Services...

S.M. Hulse
Available in Print, Audiobook, eBook, eAudio

Black River is a tense Western and assured debut, telling the story of a Spokane man whose life was transformed by a prison riot as he returns to the Montana town and the convict who shaped his life. Black River is also the 2017 Everybody Reads book selection- S.M. Hulse will be on the Palouse Nov. 6-9 to discuss her work, so get your copy today.

The One Inside
Sam Shepard
Available in Print

The One Inside is a powerful story of a life, both surreal and unforgettable. The protagonist sees his life and America through a series of memories, and particularly the memories of a powerful, personal tragedy. Shepard- an actor, musician, director, and playwright- passed away in July 2017.

Available in Print, Audiobook, eBook The 21st book in the John Rebus series, Rather Be the Devil gives us Rebus settling into retirement, though murder is never too far away. Rebus begins investigating an unsolved case from the past and discovers he isn’t the only one interested in events from decades past, and he will have to reunite with former colleagues to uncover the truth.