On the February Library page: Retired trustee sheds light on position; Book Review
1/29/2014 1:28:51 PM
Retired trustee sheds light on position
By Tammy Kimberley
Splash Staff Writer
After seven years of service, Mary Ellen Steen retired from the Liberty Lake Municipal Library Board of Trustees. The 17-year Liberty Lake resident said she found her time on the Board "not only important and challenging, but exciting and satisfying" since the library is constantly evolving to embrace new ideas and technology. The Splash recently caught up with Steen to ask about her time on the Board as well as her perspective on the future of the library.
Q: Is there an accomplishment that you are most proud of during your time on the Board?
A: Putting together a proposed library budget during the financial recession year of 2010 (2011 budget) was a real challenge. Potential cuts to the proposed budget would have decimated the number of hours and services to the degree that the Board felt the very existence of the library was in jeopardy. It took significant time, effort and imagination on the part of the Board, working together with our library director, community members and the City Council, to reach a compromised budget that allowed the library to weather the worst of the recession and move forward.
Q: What might patrons be surprised about that happens behind the scenes in order to offer a wide array of library services to the community?
A: The degree of innovation and self-generated programs is amazing. Instead of purchasing expensive products, staff members work to see how it can be developed in-house. Examples put into use include the self-checkout station, the news monitors with information, the procedure for processing books and the interactive iPads in the children's section.
Q: What do you appreciate most about the library services offered in our community?
A: I appreciate the diversity of the services offered by a truly awesome staff. Every Board meeting, a new service was outlined. Computer training, anyone? Want to learn how to knit? Children's imaginative activities? We've got you covered. Ordering a hard-to-find book, whether it's audio, hard-bound or on your device? No problem.
Q: What do you feel are the greatest challenges the library faces for the future?
A: The biggest challenge will be to grow fast enough to keep up. As our city grows in size, so must our library to provide the hours, services and programs needed to support our citizens and to serve as a center of community.
Q: Even though you've retired as a board member, do you plan to stay involved with the library?
A: Absolutely. There is talk about a community planning committee that would meet a couple of times to discuss long-term library goals. I might volunteer for that. Then there are the support organizations -the Friends of the Library and the Library Foundation -(that are) also possibilities. And I'm sure I'll be talking to my former fellow board members to let them know what this "woman on the street" thinks of how the library is doing.
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Book Review: Thriller probes relationships, effects of the past
By Daniel Pringle
Liberty Lake Municipal Library
A.S.A. Harrison's "The Silent Wife" is a psychological thriller with the emphasis on psychological. Therapist Jodi sees clients in the well-appointed Chicago apartment overlooking Lake Michigan she lives in with husband Todd. Todd is a self-made man who worked his way up from renovating one deteriorating apartment building to success buying and redeveloping properties across the city. Although by all outward appearances they share a settled and stable, even enviable, life, Todd has been serially unfaithful and is pursuing a new life with his pregnant mistress, while Jodi's quiet routine covers a past she is unwilling to confront.
These circumstances combine to collapse their marriage, which is made more fraught for Jodi when it is revealed that they were never legally married to begin with, and that Todd has control of their finances and no legal obligation to her. The situation plays out in alternating chapters from Todd and Jodi's points of view, relying heavily on psychological examination of their childhoods-Todd's abusive, alcoholic father and Jodi's unnamed trauma, explored in dialogues with her psychiatrist-culminating in Todd sabotaging his new relationship as Jodi plots a violent last resort.
Those looking for a break from February's gray chill won't find it in Harrison's descriptions of the sludge-colored lake, stormy sky and emotional decay. They will find a compelling and complicated look at how a marriage can fail, how we cannot escape our past, and what one might contemplate just to preserve a fragile self-conception. With the slow build of ratcheting tension, Harrison's novel disquietingly captivates the reader.
Daniel Pringle is adult services and reference librarian at the Liberty Lake Municipal Library.