Off the Shelf – Local librarian helps select nationwide children’s book winner

What does a librarian from the Forks and Clallam Bay branches of the North Olympic Library System (NOLS) have to do with the book honored with this year’s Newbery Medal? The story begins in 2021 when Youth Services Librarian, Kristine Techavanich, was notified that she had been elected to serve on the next Newbery Award Selection Committee. Named for John Newbery, an 18th-century publisher, the 101-year-old Newbery Medal recognizes a single book from the previous year, which stands out as “the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for Children."

April 25th, 2023|

Off the Shelf – Downloadable Magazines now at NOLS

NOLS’ collection of magazines just got a lot bigger! In January, NOLS began a one-year trial of downloadable magazines, currently available through the Washington Anytime Library.

February 1st, 2022|

Off the Shelf – Books for You to Start 2022

There are so many great books to inspire you to live a good life – from following big dreams to committing to small daily habits. Maybe this is the year to finally get essential paperwork in order, do better at managing your finances, learn to draw, or commit to daily exercise. Whatever your goals are for 2022, stop by the library to browse the shelves or check out or to find a book that supports your personal growth.

January 1st, 2022|

Off the Shelf – Cozy Up for Winter with the Library

December is a great time to cook comfort food and fall into the flavors of the season, spend time with loved ones and your community, and grab a good book or join in on some winter programming with the Library.

December 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Anticipating a big purchase? Start with your library card.

You may be thinking about a big purchase (a snow-blower, a new furnace, kitchen appliances) or a new toy or gift (a hot tub, a laptop, or a new grill!) for yourself of someone else. Instead of reaching for your credit card just yet, pull out your library card!

November 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. The recognition started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period from September 15 to October 15.

October 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Lifelong Learning at the Library

Summer days are on the way, which is great news for readers. NOLS’ Summer Reading Program offers the chance to win prizes just for reading! This annual program is a great way to encourage reluctant readers to consider making reading a daily habit. Anyone – from babies to grown-ups – can participate in the fun, free program.

September 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Explore the Peninsula

Summer days are on the way, which is great news for readers. NOLS’ Summer Reading Program offers the chance to win prizes just for reading! This annual program is a great way to encourage reluctant readers to consider making reading a daily habit. Anyone – from babies to grown-ups – can participate in the fun, free program.

August 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Digital Public Library of America Includes Local History

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a free resource that allows users to search through millions of records at dozens of contributing institutions simultaneously. Instead of having to search individual collections at museums, institutions, and academic libraries, researchers can conduct one search and find relevant material from any contributor. With a recent update, NOLS and the Washington Rural Heritage Collection (WRH) are now included in DPLA.

July 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Summer Reading, Summer Fun

Summer days are on the way, which is great news for readers. NOLS’ Summer Reading Program offers the chance to win prizes just for reading! This annual program is a great way to encourage reluctant readers to consider making reading a daily habit. Anyone – from babies to grown-ups – can participate in the fun, free program.

June 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, commemorating the contributions and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Take time to learn more when you visit your library. Consider reading a book by an Asian American author or Pacific Islander author or check out a documentary film.

May 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Weeding, Seeding, and Reading

Flowers are blooming, the grass is growing, the weeds are prolific, and seeds are sprouting! If you’re looking for garden inspiration, want to grow your knowledge about plants, or simply enjoy looking at beautiful pictures and illustrations, the library offers plenty of selections for all ages.

April 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Welcome Back to the Library

The shelves at the Sequim Branch Library are jam-packed with books, magazines, DVDs, and audiobooks. Come visit the library during Grab and Go Browsing hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2pm-6pm and Saturdays from 10am-1pm, to browse the shelves for interesting titles to take home and enjoy. Library staff are excited to welcome community members back inside the library again! It’s been a long year.

March 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Science Fiction Starter Pack

If you’ve never seen the appeal of space, imaginary technology, or aliens, then this column is for you. It’s escapism with some intellectual heft behind it. Seeing the universe from every perspective imaginable helps us see things here on Earth with fresh eyes. Readers new to the science fiction (sci-fi) genre often start with a classic like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card or Dune by Frank Herbert. Consider five sci-fi sub-genres that may get you hooked!

February 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – New Year, New Habits

Many of us start out the New Year by setting intentions, committing to new habits, reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to a better year ahead. The library offers resources to support you and your family, as you learn, create and connect in 2021.

January 1st, 2021|

Off the Shelf – Winter Gifts from Your Library

This December, we’re all being challenged to adapt favorite traditions and settle in at home for a while. If you’re looking for ideas to help pass the time this winter, visit to learn more about materials and services available online or curbside at your local library.

December 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Celebrate National Picture Book Month

In recognition of National Picture Book month, I thought I would share a handful of my favorites published in 2020. Although picture books are particularly good for one-on-one sharing with the children in your lives (introducing new vocabulary, helping build a love of reading), they are also great for all ages; replete with art and poetry.

November 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Visit Your Library Curbside

Many of us are heading inside earlier than we did a month ago, with sunset arriving closer to dinnertime, leaving us a couple hours indoors at the end of the day. This is a great time to connect with a new book, watch a movie or listen to an audiobook as you work on a craft. If you’re looking for something to read or watch, the library has endless options.

October 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Doorways to Reading

If you’ve ever been confounded by what to read next, and a librarian or friend suggested the ideal book, then you’ve been a beneficiary of readers’ advisory! At the North Olympic Library System, staff can give personalized recommendations online at (under ‘Services’ select ‘Bookmatch’) or by phone. If you wonder how staff find those books or would rather search yourself, here are some things to try.

September 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Find a New Book

Looking for a great new read to while away a summer day? The North Olympic Library System has you covered. The Library’s new book shelves, once a frequent destination for in-person browsing, are now full of books received within the last year waiting to be put on hold and checked out via curbside library service.

August 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Customize Your Listening

For community members with a smart phone, tablet, or home computer, downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks available through the Washington Anytime Library (WAL) and hoopla, are simple to access anytime from home—and have been a lifesaver through the recent library closure.

July 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Summer Reading

We’re all looking forward to life getting back to “normal.” While this summer will look a bit different than past years, the library is still offering something familiar to many kids and adults – the Summer Reading Program!

June 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – What can I do on the NOLS website?

The question is really, “What can’t you do?” You may be surprised how much there is to explore at

May 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Escape Into a Good Mystery

Right now who couldn’t use an escape? I love nothing better than an absorbing mystery that keeps me turning pages until the end. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed recently.

April 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Numbers Tell a Story

Every ten years, the Census counts everyone living in the United States. By mid-March, you'll receive a postcard in the mail with information about how to complete the 2020 Census -online, by phone, or by mail. It only takes 10 minutes to complete and reflects where you are living on April 1.

March 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Celebrating Love at the Library

February is the month to celebrate love. The library collection contains thousands of love stories in books, audiobooks, and movies, along with countless love songs on music albums (available on CD or downloadable audio). This month, the library is also offering programs that support kindness and health/wellness. All programs are free and everyone is welcome to attend.

February 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – A Great Start to a New Year

Popular New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, developing healthier eating habits, getting organized, improving your financial situation, and spending more time doing the things you enjoy. I plan on doing all of these things - every January. Many of us start out the year committed to our new healthier habits, but can’t seem to stick with them past February.

January 1st, 2020|

Off the Shelf – Best Picture Books of 2019

It’s no big secret that I’m a huge picture book fan. Growing up, I enjoyed nothing more than checking out huge stacks of picture books and poring over the pages, and talking about them with my family. As an adult, I love the artwork and the enormous opportunity for conversation between reader and listener that a picture book gives.

December 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Fall Into a Good Read

Adding a book to any North Olympic outing only increases the ways to enjoy our beautiful space. Whether that’s an audiobook by the campfire, an engrossing novel (on a waterproof eReader!) while lounging in a floatie on the lake, or chatting about favorite titles with friends on a sunny porch, the Peninsula offers a wealth of ways to enjoy books and our setting at the same time.

November 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Octo October

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. This engaging nonfiction book is the selected title for Clallam County Reads, a countywide initiative encouraging community members to share in a common reading experience this October.

October 1st, 2019|

Libraries and Librarians – Changing with the Times

The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) is excited to announce it has joined a growing movement of libraries across the country that have gone fine free. Why fine free, and why now? Libraries are not static institutions. They continually grow and change in order to better reflect the current needs of society and more effectively serve their communities.

September 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Summer Jazz at the Library

If you haven’t yet enjoyed an outdoor concert at the Sequim Branch Library’s outdoor stage, mark your calendar for Friday, August 23rd and 30th. The panoramic views of the Olympics make for a stunning backdrop, admission is free, and the memories are priceless. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic, and invite your friends and neighbors to meet you at the library for a show! Concerts start at 6pm; inclement weather brings the performance inside the library.

August 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf: Expand Your Reading – Expand Your World

Books have amazing powers to both affirm our lives and expand our horizons. Everyone has personal preferences for certain types of authors or characters, and reading in a well-loved genre, style, or subject can be relaxing, comforting, and reassuring. But reading can also expand our world view, taking us beyond our own lives, local culture, or current society, and letting us experience different times, lifestyles, life experiences, places, and cultures.

July 1st, 2019|

Peninsula Families Today – Encouraging Empathy in Children

"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression." Mr. Rogers

July 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – 3, 2, 1… Blast Off!

Every year, libraries across the country encourage youth to continue reading during the summer break. Daily reading is good for everyone, but is especially important for young people who are learning to read and developing critical thinking skills. Whether you’re a book-lover or reluctant reader, a kid or grown-up, NOLS is here to help you achieve your summer reading goals, and have fun doing it!

June 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – For the Birds

You’re never too young (or too old) for birdwatching. Celebrate spring migration by taking a bird walk with the children in your life. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary and experience nature in a live-action “Where’s Waldo?” situation that appeals to the puzzle solver in all of us.

May 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Spring cleaning is optional!

Spring has arrived on the Peninsula, and whether you’re working in the yard or inside planning your summer garden, exploring a new trail or doing some spring cleaning, the library has plenty of resources to support and inspire you this season.

April 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Celebrate National Poetry Month with Children

Every day is a good day for sharing poetry with children. Poetry is a powerful tool to use with children of all ages, bolstering vocabulary and developing critical thinking skills. Poetry encourages the reader to stop and reflect – two skills that are often missing in today’s fast-paced world, but which are important to a child’s academic success. Poems can be a wonderful springboard into conversation about the world.

April 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

“Well-behaved women seldom make history” is a quote you’ve likely seen on bumper stickers, T-shirts and posters. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich originally wrote the words in a 1976 scholarly article. History remembers those who push the limits, change laws, fight for freedom and democracy, advocate for justice, live creative lives, and take risks.

March 1st, 2019|

Peninsula Families Today – Area librarians offer reading suggestions for all ages

When the temperatures drop, there’s nothing more fun than curling up with a good book! The North Olympic Library System has some great new titles for all ages, ready for check out.

February 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Finding Love at the Library

February is a month of romance, hearts, valentines, and love. While Valentine’s Day focuses on romance, love in many forms can fill our lives throughout the year. If you’re craving a good love story, whether it’s from a feel-good romance story, something with some heartbreak, or a story of the love of longtime friends, consider adding some of these titles to your reading list.

February 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Read-Alikes for Books Popular in 2018

Circulation data about the books most frequently checked out during 2018 provides a glimpse into community interests and reading preferences. Mystery, history, and books on politics, health, self-help and baking, all made NOLS’ Top 30 lists this year.

January 1st, 2019|

Off the Shelf – Animated Films for Adults

Animation is not just for kids! Adults who love film, visual arts, or stories that are not traditional Hollywood fare, can find real gems in NOLS’ collection of animated films. These are some suggestions for animated movies with exceptional artistic merit -- in fact nine of them have been nominated for Academy Awards.

December 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Gratitude, Connection, and Comfort at the Library

Initial election results are in, and after weeks of political news leading up to Election Day, many are ready for the warmth of upcoming holidays focused on gratitude, connection, and comfort. The library can help as you nurture yourself and your family this season.

November 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – The Care and Keeping of You: Health Resources at Your Library

The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls was published 20 years ago and has sold more than five million copies. Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys (both by Dr. Cara Natterson) came out more recently. Both books have educated millions of adolescents (and their parents) about their health. Clearly, there is an enormous demand for dependable health information. The library offers support for research, learning, access to online resources, and connection with local services.

October 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Every Day is a Day to Learn

Today is the first day back to school for students in Sequim. Whether you’re young or young at heart, the library supports opportunities for lifelong learning.

September 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Exploring the Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula offers countless opportunities for exploring in nature, and summer is a great time to get out to the places you’ve been wanting to see. Head up into the mountains, head out to the beach, or enjoy a walk by the river. Visit your library to learn more about local places to discover, the geology of the region, and find topographic maps available for check out to guide you on your next adventure.

August 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Meeting Freedom to Assemble Needs in the Sequim Library Meeting Room

Library meeting rooms reflect the quintessentially democratic values of the American public library. The meeting room at the Sequim Branch is an important, and busy, community hub! For non-profit events that are non-commercial in nature, and open to all, there is generally no charge to use the library meeting room. For other uses the rental fee is moderate. Reservations can easily be made online, up to three months in advance, at

July 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Libraries Rock! During 2018 Summer Reading Program!

It’s summertime, and the staff of the North Olympic Library System have been busy since December, planning a whiz bang Summer Reading Program (SRP). Starting June 18 and ending August 18, the 2018 SRP includes a reading challenge with incentives to earn a free book and T-shirt, chances to win awesome grand prizes, and fun events for all ages, happening both within and beyond Library walls.

June 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Circulating Water… and Books!

This weekend kicks off the 123rd Irrigation Festival. Just as irrigation delivers water to foster growth, the library circulates nourishing materials and services to community members. Sequim’s initial library collection wasn’t too far behind the first Irrigation Festival; in 1915, the Sequim Women’s Club started a circulating library of 300 books. The books were later given to service members during WWI.

May 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Expanding Horizons for the Home Bound

When patrons are unable to make it to the library in person, the North Olympic Library System (NOLS) brings the library to them. The “Outreach to the Homebound” program is a great example of one of the many ways library services reach beyond library walls to improve lives and expand horizons. As Dr. Seuss said, “Reading can take you to places you have never been before.” A person may be physically unable to leave their home, but the movies, music, and books delivered by NOLS are tickets to explore new places, unique people, different times, and other worlds.

April 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Cuddle Up with a Cozy Mystery

On a cold and blustery day, there is nothing better than a comforting book, especially one labeled cozy. But what exactly is a cozy mystery? This very popular genre is defined by the feelings it evokes in readers, namely warm, engrossed, and contented. The mystery element can be very strong or barely present, but it generally does not include graphic “adult” elements or intense action scenes. These elements more often take place off the page. Typically the hero is an amateur sleuth, the setting is a small village or community of some kind and there is a whole series revolving around one or the other. Overall a cozy mystery is a gentle, feel-good book, perfect with a hot beverage and a snuggly blanket.

March 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – Youth Librarians Without Borders

Sequim Branch Library is a bustling “little library on the prairie” what with regular programs like Kids Create Art, Second Saturday Science, Storytimes, Paws to Read, Family Flicks and much more. But some of that excitement carries beyond library walls and into local schools and day care centers with the help of energetic youth services staff.

February 1st, 2018|

Off the Shelf – I can borrow that at my library! Wow!

The Sequim Branch is proud to house tens of thousands of books, on practically any subject that tickles your fancy. There is also an amazing variety of other forms of media, with over 11,000 DVDs and 8000 CDs. New titles are being added to the collection daily, but they are only one aspect of what your friendly local library has to offer. The NOLS Gear button on the library catalog page will guide you to the collection of unique and fun items selected specifically to enhance life on the Peninsula. All of the items that are mentioned in this article are available free of charge, and can be placed on hold with your library card through the online catalog at so they’re ready for you to pick them up and get going. Don’t have a library card? Don’t fret! They are completely free. Bring in some picture ID and a proof of address and you can be signed up for one in less than ten minutes.

January 1st, 2018|
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