Open Thread: Summer is Coming

Hi there! It’s the busy season for the library right now, as everyone’s getting ready for the end of the school year and the great migration of kids and students from their schools during the day to vacations, sleeping in, and yes, the library too. The parts and pieces are set for this year’s Summer Reading Program, which we are happy to say will have a program for adults this year! We’ve had many people asking for us to do something for adults, and this year, we’re delivering. Keep an eye on the News for when the Scout Summer Reading badges launch for this year.

Coming up in a couple of weeks are a some major sporting events – the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Canada next month, so if you’re a fan of women’s soccer, there will be plenty to see on the airwaves. The US Drew Australia, Sweden and Nigeria for their group stage, with FiveThirtyEight classifying it as the “Group of Death” for this tournament. The second weekend of June heralds the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay, so whatever your plans may be, if you get too close to University Place, you may have a long traffic wait to get to your destination. Thankfully, the golf tournament only lasts four days, so things should return to normal during the following week.

Has everyone been liking the new Guilty Pleasures series of badges? It always seems like there’s something that you absolutely adore that someone else goes “Wha? Why would you like that?” over, sparking a long quest to try and get them to like you, too. Reading some of your offerings inspires a bit of nostalgia for the past…or a worry that someone’s going to remake it into something horrible in the future. It’s still been very entertaining to see what your likes are, so we hope you continue to tell us about them.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about SCOUT, or if you spot something not working, use the feedback button at the bottom of the page – it helps us know what we need to focus on.

See you next time!


Calling All SCOUTs!

Summer is fast approaching and the SCOUT team wants to make this one great! What would you like to do to earn badges this summer?



Open Thread: 2000 Scouts!

Hi, Scouts.

We hit another milestone a little while ago – more than 2000 people have registered to take part in SCOUT, which makes you all a great community to work with. We’d love more, of course, so please do tell everyone about SCOUT that you want to participate in the program. The more we have, the more interesting things you get to see pop up as part of the badges.

Yesterday, the White House enjoyed stories, dances, and a lot of children rolling eggs in the annual roll, which partnered with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to get people doing more exercise and play activities. Professional sports have been joining in on these ideas as well, trying to encourage their fans to have a more active lifestyle. Maybe with the opening days of the baseball season coming this week, there will be more time to get out and enjoy what passes for sunny days here in the Northwest. If driving up to Seattle isn’t your idea of a fun time, there are more local and less expensive options for minor-league teams in the area – gather some friends and make a day of it.

Speaking of getting outside, exposure to bright light might be important to the proper formation of the eye and the avoidance of myopia. Not that parents needed another reason to usher their children out into the influence of the Daystar, but a study like this might work well against the child that needs proof that something good happens when you go out.

Our Pierce County Reads events are going on in spades right now – if you’ve been to one, make sure you input your SCOUT code before the event ends. If you haven’t been to one yet, why not go? In addition to the big author talk planned for the end of April, smaller events are happening at the Pierce County Library closest to you.

Last program shill, I promise, but if you’ve ever been in the mood to show off your super mini-golf skills, Pierce County Libraries will be holding some mini-golf events in anticipation of the U.S. Open coming to Chambers Bay golf course in University Place. You’ll have a shot at prizes and the ability to brag to those around you about being able to sink a hole-in-one…so long as you leave out the mini-golf part, who’s going to be the wiser?

As our parting thought for this time around, ever wonder if, at times, the dragons are protecting the princesses from bad situations instead of trying to put them in one?



How goes it Scouts?

Our team strives to make your SCOUT experience as enjoyable and obstacle-free as possible. We want to know what (if anything) stands in the way when you attempt to complete badges. We want your feedback!



Open Thread: Pierce County Reads

We’re deep in the thick of PC Reads season, and I hope you’re all having fun with the new badges! I’ve been listening to The Boys on the Boat in my car on my way back and forth to work, and I keep finding myself sitting in parking lots, just waiting for a race to end. The reader of the audiobook was Edward Hermann, who passed away on December 31, 2014 and is probably best known for playing Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. He had a wonderful voice. Apparently he pronounced some Washington words wrong, which I hear can be jarring, but I’m not local so I haven’t noticed. All I notice is his dulcet, soothing tones, and how well he seems to be pronouncing the German words.

We launched not one, not two, not three, but FIVE new badges in honor of PC Reads. I’m really enjoying watching the new activity. Check out this sweet boat that Nammers made for the Boatbuilder Badge!

Plus, people are learning that paper boats really CAN float.

There are a lot of great programs planned throughout the next two months as part of the PC Reads program, both things that are directly related to the book like book discussions and programs to help you learn more about themes in the book like the Great Depression and World War II. Find out more here – which one are you looking forward to the most?



Random Acts of Kindness

February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. You probably perform RAK on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Do you hold a door open for a stranger or let the “one item person” cut in front of you and your fully loaded shopping cart?

On a related theme, has the library been kind to you? Did you receive help with a question or does a library collection or service make your day? Has Scout kindly pushed you into exploring new and fun avenues? If you remember the library being a good scout in your life, please share it as a comment below.



Open Thread #5: Sportsball and Cats

Greetings, Scouters!

That was an intense football game. I was certain I could hear massed expletives of both victory and defeat coming from opposite sides of the country last week. Twitter was afire with tweets about the game, although there’s a big dark spot in the Denver area and on both sides of the Rockies. Not enough markets there, maybe, to sustain the rivalry?

If you weren’t interested in the sportsball game, though, the advertisements seemed to be either playing it safe or going for broke in their attempted impact, so there will be plenty to talk about on those fronts for some time. Let us know what you thought about either the sportsball or the advertisements in the comments.

I wanted to mention a couple things about SCOUT that can enhance your experience and connect you to other users. For instance, did you know, that like on Twitter, you can @ someone’s username in your postings. You’ll have to go to their profile page to make sure that you get the right one (it’ll be the one after the @ sign), because what people’s names are (The Big Lebowski) and their usernames (@thedudeabides) can be different.

Plus, if you’re friends with that person, you can send them a private message through the messaging system – you can start one of those by clicking on the “Private Message” button on their profile. It’s only between friends, though, so you’ll have to buddy up with someone before you can send them a message.

Is everyone enjoying the new badges? I’ve seen a lot of activity on them, so it seems like these are good fits for you. Maybe in a later news post, we’ll give you a poll so that you can tell us which ones of the new crop are your favorites so far.

In honor of the Memeageddon badge, to provide fodder for your thinking, Buzzfeed compiled a list of what it believes are the 100 most important cat pictures on the Internet. And as a sneak preview of what you’ll see next, the Internet Archive has an incredible collection of old computer games that can be emulated and played on modern systems. With a little technological setup, youngsters can be reintroduced to some of the games that started the industry of computer games, and understand what it means to have to walk three miles through virtual snow with no health powerups.

Keep at the new badges! Your responses are entertaining and thoughtful, and we’re having fun reading them.



Why do you SCOUT?

Howdy-do SCOUTS!

This week we want to find out why you SCOUT. Hopefully your replies to this question will assist us in creating new badges that will not only entertain you, but also add a new wrinkle to your brain. Check all that apply!



Happy 2015!

Wow, 2014 really flew by, didn’t it?  It was a whirlwind year of change for me, the biggest of which was moving from the east coast (let’s not talk about football, okay?) to the Pacific North West.  I’ve been spending some personal time reflecting on the year just passed and thinking about what the next year will bring.  Here are some things that I hope I’ll be doing in 2015:

  1. Spending LOTS of time outside.  I love camping and hiking, although I need to get in shape to tackle some of the steeper inclines of the terrain here!  My favorite resource to discover new hikes is, and I really like the FalconGuides “Best Easy Day Hikes” books.  However, I’m not sure where to go camping that’s not too far from Pierce County – suggestions welcome!
  2. Exploring some more of the local museums.  I’ve been to the Museum of Glass and the Washington State History Museum, but I’m waiting for one of the library’s museum passes to be available before I hit up the Tacoma Art Museum.  I also want to go up to Seattle and check out the EMP Museum and the Pacific Science Center.  I’m pretty sure there’s more museums I want to see, but those three should keep me busy for the next couple of months.
  3. READING.  I was recently appointed to the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Alex Award Committee.  This committee selects the best books published for adults that will appeal to teenagers.  Starting in February, I’ll be reading nothing except for books that have either been nominated or that I think I might want to nominate.  It will be a lot of work, but I’m very excited.
  4. At work, I have a few other projects I’m looking forward to working on: new Scout badges, of course, along with the library’s first systemwide Adult Summer Reading program.

What are you looking forward to in 2015? Feel free to share your ideas (and suggestions for this PNW newbie) in the comments, and don’t forget to complete the Fresh Start 2015 badge!



Open Thread #4

Hi, Scouts! It’s December, which means there are a lot of festivals and celebrations coming up. We even had snow in Pierce County early in the month, a rare treat for those of us who emigrated from snowier areas to Washington. While I’m personally hoping for a little more snow before the winter is done, I realize that opinion is not necessarily shared by others.

We’re taking a look at all of your badge suggestions and seeing which ones can be made to work and which ones might require a little more thought before we can make them work. Please do keep sending us your ideas by using the Feedback form at the bottom of the page. There’s also a Forum thread dedicated to suggesting and refining new badge ideas, where you can make suggestions. The best way to make sure we get your ideas is still the Feedback button, though, so maybe use the Forum topic for refining suggestions before submitting them through feedback.

If you want to see what people can do with the snow and ice that they get during the winter months, there are a lot of possible places to go. If you go quite northward in the state of Michigan, you’ll find the Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech, celebrating foot-high snowdrifts and winter sports that can be played on flat frozen ice sheets. If you have a bit more money to spend, the Ice Lantern Show in Harbin, China will let you stare at frozen sculptures internally lit to provide brilliant art pieces, and the Snow and Ice Festival in Bruges, Belgium provides Disney characters and other sculptures on display. It’ll be cold, but the pretty will be worth the chill, I’m sure.

Here in Pierce County, though, it looks like things will be evergreen for the winter holidays. Not bad, just different. What are your plans for the winter?