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Author: Brian Vander Veen

Crowdfunding Success Stories: Q&A with comics artist Manny Trembley

Posted in Business and Careers, Explore and Discover, For You on March 11, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Launching a creative endeavor or a new business usually requires money. Traditionally, acquiring such funding has meant the need for taking out a loan, finding an investor, borrowing from friends or family, or spending your own hard-earned nest egg. In recent years, we’ve seen yet another option emerge. It is one […]

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What To Do in Spokane County

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on February 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Recently on the SCLD blog, our deputy director Patrick Roewe wrote about the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, describing how SCLD has begun reaching out to various groups and individuals within our service area to find out about their aspirations for their communities and about the challenges they face as they rea […]

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Finding Free Music Without Getting Sued

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on January 28, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen It recently made me feel old to realize that more than fifteen years had passed since the first major peer-to-peer file sharing service, Napster, was launched. Napster lasted only two years before it was shut down by court injunction, but it helped ignite almost a decade of contention between the recording […]

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The Educational Merits of Minecraft

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You, Parents and Teachers, Prime Time, Teens on January 8, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen At the North Spokane Library, where I mainly work, it’s rare that anyone has to wait more than ten or twenty minutes for a free computer, if they have to wait at all. But sometimes our computers do get full, and I’ve more than once heard adult members grumble about the […]

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Free Resources for Lifelong Learning

Posted in Business and Careers, Explore and Discover, For You, Parents and Teachers, Prime Time on December 17, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen It’s been nearly twenty years since the film Good Will Hunting came out, and honestly, I don’t remember much of it, but there’s one line that has long stuck with me. Working-class genius Will is arguing in a bar with Harvard student Clark, and what Will says, the redacted PG version […]

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Holiday Gift Guide for Tinkerers, Makers, and DIYers

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You, Parents and Teachers on November 26, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen When people hear that I’m a librarian, they frequently assume that I’m a big reader. And I love a good novel, no doubt, but I can be easily distracted, lucky to finish a book in a month’s time, and my genre tastes are largely confined to some combination of wizards and […]

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Library Hack: Resources for Local Businesses

Posted in Business and Careers, For You on October 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Earlier this year, the Spokane Business Library went live at spokanebusiness.org. A collaboration of the Spokane County Library District and the Spokane Public Library, the Spokane Business Library consolidated the two library systems’ digital business resources into a single one-stop portal. Up till now, however, to use the […]

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Life Lessons From Little Free Libraries

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You, kids, Parents and Teachers, Prime Time on October 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Last year, my partner Sheri and I started our own Little Free Library. If you’re not familiar with what Little Free Libraries are, they’re simply containers, usually near a sidewalk or similar publicly accessible space, where people can take and leave books for free. Little Free Libraries first began appearing in Wisconsin […]

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Graphic Novels For the Skeptical

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You, Prime Time on September 23, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen I grew up in a bit of a book desert, a decent sized city, roughly as big as Spokane, with only a single library and one tiny bookstore. Even calling it a bookstore is a little generous; it was more of a newsstand, to be honest, staffed by a single employee […]

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The Freedom of Open Source

Posted in Business and Careers, Explore and Discover, For You, Prime Time, Teens on August 26, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen As someone who was a college student for much longer than any reasonable person ought to be, I discovered a few things about living on the cheap: one, that dried beans and rice are a great way to stretch a food budget; and two, that a lot of useful software is […]