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MARCH 2021

Welcome to March at the Orcas Island Library

I’m excited to share that we continue to be able to offer in-building browsing services, and to be planning for increasing access within the building, rather than decreasing it. I hope that as soon as this month we can offer some combination of more services (public computers, study tables), more capacity, and more available time within the building. If so, we’ll be sure to share the good news.

Also, this month we are able to offer a virtual explosion of magazine access! Recognizing that it’s difficult to browse our printed magazines with such limited building access, we are now sharing online access to over 3,000 magazines through our Washington Anytime Library link. You’ll need to sign in with your library card to see these titles, which are available through a separate subscription for our members. If curious to learn more, read the details in this newsletter.

As spring and summer approach, we hope to be able to start considering offering outdoor programs. In the meantime, I hope you’ll take advantage of our online resources and programs as described in the newsletter.
As always, call us with any questions or requests, at 360-376-4985. Or email me at

See you soon, I hope.

Phil Heikkinen
Library Director

Ben Montgomery

Author of A Shot in the Moonlight

Wednesday, March 10 @ 6:00PM via ZOOM

On the night of January 21, 1897,in Simpson County, Kentucky, a mob of white men surrounded the farmhouse of freedman George Dinning, who had lived and farmed peacefully in the area for fourteen years. The mob wrongfully accused him of theft and began shooting into his home, where his wife and children were sleeping. Dinning fired back in self-defense, killing the heir of a wealthy local family. Dinning was charged with murder, and convicted of manslaughter.

What happened next may surprise you.
With the help of an unlikely ally, Confederate soldier-turned-lawyer Bennett H. Young, and a stunning outpouring of public support, Dinning managed to claw his way to justice in a system that was stacked against him. In A SHOT IN THE MOONLIGHT: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South Ben Montgomery unravels the sensational and little-known story of George Dinning’s life, and the fascinating legal episode that ended with him becoming the first Black man in America to win damages against a would-be lynch mob.
As in his books Grandma Gatewood’s Walk and The Man Who Walked Backward, Montgomery’s deft writing and exhaustive research breathe vivid life into this untold American story. By shining a light on a long-forgotten piece of our nation’s violent past, Montgomery grants us an opportunity to consider the violence we accept in the present. As a relentless tide of police brutality and vigilante action forces us to reexamine who our systems of justice and law enforcement serve, George Dinning’s life and his righteous struggle remind us of the cruelty of oppression—and the power of hard-won redemption.
The Orcas Library is delighted to be able to present a Zoom book talk by Ben Montgomery.  ZOOM passcode: 998602
Join the Conversation
Over 3,000 Popular Magazines Now Available for Download
Orcas Island Public Library is pleased to announce that over 3,000 popular magazines are now available to download and read on any device 24/7. Users with a library card can read digital magazines alongside ebooks and audiobooks on Libby, the award-winning reading app from OverDrive, or by visiting Top titles include Cooks Illustrated, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and many other popular magazines.

Digital magazines have no wait lists or holds, do not count towards checkout limits and provide readers the option to renew their selections. Orcas Library patrons can also download magazines to Libby for offline use. Readers can browse lists of magazines within the app and search by format to find available titles.

To get started enjoying magazines, ebooks and audiobooks, download Libby or visit

Prime Time Family Reading Program

Thank you to all the participants in the virtual Prime Time Family Reading Program.  In a partnership with Humanities Washington, Orcas Island Public Library provided six consecutive evenings filled with stories and humanities-based discussions led by local educator David Turnoy for families with children (aged 6 to ten years).  Stay tuned for future library programs that nurture a child's love of reading. 
Image property of Orcas Island Library, not for reproduction or sharing

Birding backpacks available at the Library

Are you looking for fun ways to get your kids outside with nature? Would you like to learn more about local birds?  Come to the Library and check out one of our family-friendly birding backpacks!  

Each backpack includes a child-sized pair of binoculars, a set of BirdSleuth games (Bird Spy Bingo and Habitat Scavenger Hunt), and a Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North American.  One-week checkout.  Ask at the front desk for further information.

Birding backpacks were generously provided with a grant from the Bessemer National Gift Fund.

The Seed Library Wants You!

The crocuses are popping, the days are getting longer, and another growing season will soon be upon us. Now is a great time to start planning what you want to see blossoming in your garden this year. 2020 was a year of uncertainties, and the supply of seed for gardeners and farmers was no exception. Commercial seed was often back-ordered or unavailable due to high demand. It looks like seed supply has stabilized somewhat for this year, but still there has never been a better time to save and share seed locally.
One way you can do that is by supporting the seed library. This is a free, self-serve seed library housed inside the Orcas Library. It is available to everyone, and is stocked entirely with seed grown locally by people like you. Here is how it works:
  • Browse our seed collection
  • Select seeds that interest you, and fill out an easy form to check them out
  • Grow them in your garden
  • Return a portion of your harvest as dried, cleaned seed to the library for next year's growers
  • Repeat! Feel free to join up whether you have seeds to share or not 
You can also donate your own seeds to the seed library. Here is what you can do:
  • Choose clean, dry, recently grown seed and label it with your name, the year it was grown, and the type of seed. Herbs, flowers, vegetables, grains, cover crop, medicinal plants and native seeds are all welcome.
  • Bring your seed to the library during any of our service hours and place it in the bottom drawer of the seed library. Library staff can direct you there.
If you are unable to come to the library in person, feel to contact the seed librarian, Katie Wilkins at, and she can make other arrangements with you to either donate or check out seeds. Keep a lookout for an updated catalog of the seed library offerings, which will soon be available on the Orcas Library website.

Board Games at the Library

Have you heard about our growing board game collection?  Stop in to browse the game shelf or browse the catalog online.  New games are added every month. This collection has been a popular addition to the Library and we are excited to be able to offer them to the community.  Read more about board gaming during the pandemic here and here.  

Pronunciator has a mission to create the most robust, creative, effective language-learning resources available, with a vast number of languages to learn (164), including an American Sign Language course with 20,000 instructional videos. Also, Pronunciator offers Personalized Courses. Step into a new world with a new language.
The study of genealogy and the study of history go hand in hand.  The Orcas Island Genealogy Club will be combining both areas of research during the upcoming zoom meeting on Tuesday, March 16 from 10:30 to 12:30.  San Juan Island historian and author, Boyd Pratt, will take us into an area we haven't had the opportunity to explore yet:

A Historical and Genealogical Study of the Mitchell Bay Band

The Mitchell Bay Band and the San Juan Tribe of Indians, two federally unrecognized tribal groups, were Indigenous Peoples that historically inhabited and used San Juan Island, particularly in the localities of Garrison, Mitchell, and Westcott Bays, and nearby Henry and Stuart Islands.  Based on the listing of families by Charles Roblin in his 1919 Report, Boyd Pratt explores the complex interconnections among the Indigenous Peoples of the San Juans and Euro American newcomers during the latter half of the nineteenth century and their rich heritage today.  Join Boyd in discovering this intricate web of relations and relationships.

The club meets (virtually during the pandemic) on the third Tuesday of every month from 10:30 to 12:30 and is hosted by the Orcas Island Public Library.  To join please contact either Vicki Leimback at or Kathi Ciskowski at 360-376-4186 or  There is a different topic every month.  Anyone interested in genealogy (any knowledge level) is invited to join this free local club.  A zoom link will be sent via email before the meeting.
Virtual Storytimes: we'll meet you where you are.

New storytimes are posted every Friday morning at 11:00 on the Kid's page, the Library's Youtube account, and on the Instagram account, #Orcaskidsread.  Snuggle up and join us wherever and whenever you'd like.

New Books - Fiction

New Books - Non-fiction
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