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Meet the Bloggers

Posted on May 19, 2015 at 6:00 am

Every week our blog team brings you posts with topics ranging from tween birthday party tips to resources for starting your own small business. It’s all for you—our fantastic members! A short writer bio appears at the end of every blog post, but we thought it would be fun for each of us to answer a set of questions so you can get to know us a little bit better.

We’re always looking for new, fresh ideas so we can best serve your interests and needs. If you have questions or suggestions for future blog posts, please take a moment to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

Meet the Bloggers | Spokane County Library District

Jane Baker 

Communication & Development Officer

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I wish that I could skateboard and do those fancy tricks in the half-pipe.

What is your dream vacation destination? Somewhere tropical.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? My personal mission statement is to leave something of beauty everywhere I go.

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I’m an outdoorsy type. My favorite part of living in the Inland Northwest is the trees, mountains, lakes, blue skies, etc.

What is your favorite book? Too hard to pick just one. Just finished Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and loved it.

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Again, hard to pick just one. Perhaps, I’d stay local and lunch with Sharma Shields or Cindy Hval and order something fattening.


Sheri Boggs

Youth Collection Development Librarian

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I really wish I could sing. I love singing but I’m so bad. Not even kidding. I’ve had strangers suggest I just harmonize; a storytime mom said maybe I could use some vocal coaching, and even my normally supportive and kind boyfriend begs me to stop.

What is your dream vacation destination? I’ve never been to the UK, which is ridiculous since I’m such a history, lit, and museum nerd. I’d love to go there with my partner, Brian, because he lived in Nottingham for awhile and knows a lot about UK customs, transportation, and culture. I’d also love to go back to Venice and stay in the same hotel I visited with my mom eight years ago. It had a tiny loft bedroom with a view of the Piazza San Marco and I’d stay up late reading Watermark, Joseph Brodsky’s book of essays about Venice, with the window open and the sounds of tourists and the smell of the harbor wafting in. It was magic.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? “Now, if you ask me, what’s going on is that we’re all up to here in it, and probably the most important thing is that we not yell at one another.” – Anne Lamott

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I really love the Palouse. I grew up in Moscow, ID and that landscape feeds something deep and nostalgic in me. I love how it’s green and lush and rippling in the spring and then becomes this stunning, pale yellow by summer’s end. Some of my happiest moments have been just driving from Spokane to Steptoe Butte or Pullman or Moscow with the window down and that gorgeous smell filling the air.

What is your favorite book? These are the ones I return to over and over again: What It Is by Lynda Barry, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, All of Us: the Collected Poems of Raymond Carver, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (one of his lesser known adult novels), and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Charlotte Bronte and we’d go wherever she wanted because I’m sure the food in 1840s Yorkshire was pretty terrible.


Rachel Edmondson

Librarian

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I’ve tried to learn knitting several times. I can get the basics, but I never quite devote enough time to practicing–there are too many books to read.

What is your dream vacation destination? I love Europe, but I haven’t made it to many places in Eastern Europe. I would love to go on a Rick Steves Tour of Eastern Europe.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? I’m not a big inspirational quote person. I guess if I had to pick a motto, I’d stick with The Golden Rule. It’s beautifully simple and yet at times so challenging.

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I like having four seasons, although most years I’d be happy if winter was a bit shorter.

What is your favorite book? This question is unfair. I refuse to answer it!

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? This is also nearly impossible to answer. There are so many good possibilities–J.K. Rowling, John Green, C.S. Lewis–but I guess I’ll go with Harper Lee. I’m sure I would be incredibly nervous, so I’m going to say I’d order, “Whatever she’s having!”


Clarissa Fidler

Communication Specialist

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I’ve always wished I knew how to play tennis. One of these days I need to stop wishing and actually take a class. 

What is your dream vacation destination? I’ve never been abroad but dream of going to Europe someday. I particularly want to visit Ireland and Italy. The idea of roaming the Irish hills exploring ancient castles seems so picturesque and wonderful. 

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I love how easy it is to get out and enjoy nature. You can drive 20 minutes and be in the mountains or farm country. We also have a ton of awesome thrift stores in the greater Spokane area, which I make a point to visit on a regular basis. 

What is your favorite book? Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Daphne Du Maurier. I’m fascinated by her writing style and would love to hear how she came up with her dark, twisted tales. She seems to have been a very emotionally deep person, which I find appealing. For lunch, I’d order a club sandwich and strawberry lemonade.


Gwendolyn Haley

Library Services Manager

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I’ve always wished that I knew how to tap dance. One I day I will invest in a class.

What is your dream vacation destination? I just took my dream vacation—we spent a week on Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun. It was perfect. I had great company, a stack of books, a chair on the beach, and a view of the Caribbean.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I love having mountains close by. I don’t ski and I don’t really hike, but it’s nice to know the mountains are there, all the same.

What is your favorite book? Nope, can’t pick just one. Books that I re-read frequently include: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series (warning, when you read them all at once, you tend to have dreams about “you know who”), Anne of Green Gables, and Strong PoisonWhatever book I’m currently reading might also become my favorite–who knows?

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? I would put together a table with C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Theodor Geisel. I think we would have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup—one of my all-time favorite comfort meals; but, they’d have to be this grilled cheese and this tomato soup.


Kim Harshberger

Graphic Designer

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I find myself constantly wishing to do more fine arts. While it was the norm in college, since moving on to my career and raising kids I don’t make time for art. I also lack the space to really set up shop. Sadly, I still curate supplies that collect in my office closet in the chance I will start up again some day.

What is your dream vacation destination? I would really like to see various parts of Europe. I have family ties to Italy and Ireland. But I am such a homebody and so uncomfortable with travel, anytime I picture myself taking one of these vacations I become overwhelmed with the idea. Thank goodness “staycations” are in vogue right now.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? With a vast selection of cultural, historical, and outdoor activities, there is always something to do.

What is your favorite book? The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It’s his magnum opus.

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Stephen King. I would order a salad. A person can take a very, very long time to eat a salad without raising suspicion.


Kelsey Hudson

Librarian

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I’d love to learn how to knit or crochet. Every time I try, I just end up with a really knotted ball of yarn!

What is your dream vacation destination? I am a huge Amazing Race fan and have always thought doing a world tour would be the most epic trip ever. If I had to narrow it down though, I’d say New Zealand; it has been at the top of my “To Go” list for a long time now.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.” – Ellen DeGeneres

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I love how diverse the landscape is–within 20 miles there are mountains and rivers, rolling hills and wheat fields.

What is your favorite book? I think this is quite the loaded question for a librarian; I have so many! That being said, I could probably live happily on a deserted island if I had my Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia books on hand.

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? I may have to cheat a little here. Authors are fascinating, but I’d really want to have lunch with one of their characters. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a meal with Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series? I feel like he’d have some interesting stories to share. Constant vigilance being what it is, I don’t think we’d order anything someone else made. We might each bring a homemade sandwich or something equally portable though just in case we have to make a run for it!


Aileen Luppert

Librarian

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I wish I could sing! I’d sing like Aretha and you’d never shut me up. Even better, I’d be Aretha with backup singers in sequence that would repeat, in harmony, the last couple of words of my important sentences.

What is your dream vacation destination? On the top of my list would be Turkey and Greece. My last real vacation was sitting on a beach in Mexico with my sister and Aunt. It is hard to imagine a vacation could be much dreamier than that!

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? When I turned 39, I vowed to try to live everyday with grace and gratitude. Maybe when I turn 40, I’ll add gin (and tonics) to the list.

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I love that we have it all here–cities, forests, deserts, lakes, hiking trails etc.

What is your favorite book? A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Anne Lamott. She is brilliant, insightful, and hilarious. I’ll bet she would be the perfect person with whom to try something new and weird. Maybe we could order some kind of strange molecular gastronomic thing made out of chocolate, edamame, and sea foam.


Brian Vander Veen

Librarian

What is a skill or activity you wish you had or knew how to do? I frequently go through various hobby-related obsessions, leaving behind sad artifacts of suspended or abandoned hobbies such as a patch of weeds that was supposed to be a veggie garden or a half-finished cross-stitch of T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics. I guess, with that in mind, I wish I had the ability to make a ton of money quickly and with minimal effort, so I could retire early and finally have time to finish everything I started.

What is your dream vacation destination? I was a fairly active cyclist at one point, and if I were to get back into proper cycling shape, I’d love to do a bike tour of the Netherlands. I did get the chance to briefly visit Amsterdam when I was studying in the UK, but I was on a student budget at the time, so it would be nice to go back for a proper adult vacation. I’m also a first-generation American on my father’s side, so I’d be especially interested in traveling through Friesland, the area of the Netherlands my relations are from.

Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? There’s a scene in the second book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy where King Théoden and his men are under siege by a horde of orcs, and Théoden gives what he assumes may be his last speech. The original Tolkien version is a little wordy, but the film version captures the sentiment succinctly: “If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance.”

What is your favorite part about living in the Inland Northwest? I am excited about all the momentum we’ve been seeing lately in downtown Spokane: the new businesses popping up in places like the Saranac Commons or the Steam Plant; the new (and newly restored) music venues like The Bartlett and The Big Dipper; and the great stuff happening in the arts community with Terrain and INK Artspace. And as a self-described nerd, I’m likewise happy to see things like Lilac City Comicon and SpoCon continue to gain momentum; and now, we have Pac Con as well and this year’s Worldcon coming in August. I also happen to be vegan, so it’s nice to see a number of vegan-friendly restaurants that have opened here in recent years, like Boots Bakery, Saranac Public House, and Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria.

What is your favorite book? I’d be hard-pressed to choose an all-time favorite. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed reading The Magicians Trilogy, the Song of Ice and Fire novels, and the Expanse series (soon to be a television series that I’m hoping, with cautious optimism, will satisfy my post Firefly television watching needs). But favorite book? Not sure I have one.

If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you order? Ursula Le Guin has a great quote about the inevitable disappointment of meeting the author of a beloved book. The near certainty of disappointment aside, though, I’ve never been a huge dining-with-strangers kind of person. So, at the risk of groans and eye rolls, I’d just opt for lunch with my partner and fellow blogger Sheri (who has herself been published in Spokane Shorties, Lilac City Fairy Tales, and Inlander Histories, so I’m happily counting her as an author). And I’d get the vegan Thai flatbread from the Saranac downtown. Yes, that’s already our Sunday routine, but I’m perfectly content with that.

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