Live Music Is Better…

To quote Neil Young from his Hawks & Doves album, “Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.” I love music and, more often than not, I love live music even better. While nothing compares to actually being at a live music performance, there are some great live recordings that will work as the next best thing.

Here’s a short list of my favorite live albums.

The Allman Brothers – Fillmore Concerts

The Fillmore Concerts is taken from a handful of performances at the Fillmore East in New York in the spring of 1971.  The sound is stellar, recorded on a “portable” 16 track machine by Tom Dowd and the two-hour-plus running time captures the imagination, improvisation and genius of The Allman Brothers Band at their peak.

The Allman Brothers Band (1975) Wikimedia

The Band – Rock of Ages

Close on the tail of the release of their fourth studio album The Band recorded a series of shows at the Academy of Music in New York City at the end of 1971. The added horn section turns the set list into a warm, loose, big-hearted party. The highlight for me is a cover of the 1964 Motown hit single “Baby Don’t You Do It” by Marvin Gaye.

The Band (1969) Wikimedia

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – 4 Way Street

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came out of Woodstock (only their second live performance together) as one of the hottest new musical acts on the planet. Several factors make 4 Way Street one of the great live recordings; each artist (accomplished musicians and composers in their own right) steps into the spotlight and showcases their talent with the others supporting, separate acoustic sets and finally, capturing the sum of the parts in extended, high energy, electric jams.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970) Wikimedia

The Grateful Dead – Europe ‘72

Originally a triple album on vinyl, Europe ’72 was later reissued as a two-disc CD in 1990. This set captures a handful of performances from the 22 shows recorded during their tour of Western Europe in early 1972 with the band at or very near its peak. Overdubbed vocals aside, it showcases the Dead’s ability to improvise, dialog with each other through their music and demonstrates their proficiency as a live band. Additionally, it’s a chance to hear the influences American Roots music (e.g., Blues, Bluegrass, Country & Western and Folk) had on their on their compositions and arrangements.

Grateful Dead (1970) Wikimedia

Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus

According to a 1975 Rolling Stone interview, Little Feat was Jimmy Page’s favorite American band. And Jimmy wasn’t alone. Little Feat was a favorite of musicians the world over. It’s no wonder, given that their music remains a solid amalgam of Rock n’ Roll, Blues, R&B, Soul, Funk, Country & Western, Folk, Bluegrass, Gospel and Jazz. Waiting for Columbus was recorded in August of 1977 at a series of shows on both sides of the Atlantic. It is a snapshot in time of one of the legendary live bands of the ’70s featuring the Tower of Power horn section catapulting their best songs into the next level.

Little Feat (1975) Wikimedia


Get Ready to Learn the art of Comics!

Did you know that part of our Summer Learning program this year involves setting a goal and accomplishing that goal to get entered into a raffle drawing for a chance to win a tablet computer? Are you maybe drawing a blank while searching for the perfect goal to accomplish this summer and looking for some recommendations? Never fear, why not learn how to draw your very own comics! It might be a surprise but we have many different drawing books in our collection and comics are just the beginning. Here are a handful of some of my favorites to start with so check them out!

Jacket (13) Jacket (16) Jacket (15)   Jacket (17) Jacket (3) Jacket (14)

Also, if you really want to work on those drawing chops and take your art form to the next level come check out one of our amazing Teen Comic Workshops in Port Orchard,  Bainbridge or Poulsbo this summer!  This is a workshop that you will definitely not want to miss lead by the world famous comics artist David Lasky.

Photo courtesy of David Lasky
Photo courtesy of David Lasky

David Lasky, colorist of Newbery Award-winning El Deafo and Eisner Award-winning The Carter Family, will teach simple cartooning skills to help express character, movement, and space. Learn booklet-making, the grammar of comics, and leave with your own mini-comic. Supplies provided. Space is limited and registration is required. Ages 12-18. To register email:
Port Orchard:  (July 20 , 6 p.m.)
Poulsbo: (July 31, 1 p.m.)
Bainbridge:  (August 20, 2 p.m.)

But don’t take my word for how awesome this guy is, check out some of David Lasky’s collaborations in our collection!

Jacket (22) Jacket (18) Jacket (19)
                     Jacket (23) Jacket (21)

Summer Learning Inspiration: Minecraft & Reading

Welcome guest blogger, Betsy B, and her two boys Sean and Matthew.

Last summer, Sean had a goal to read 100 hours for our library’s Summer Reading program. He took a little too long and missed out on getting a t-shirt, so this year he is challenging himself to get his hours in early.

Matthew’s goal of 10 hours is a little more modest, and he is equally excited to reach his goal and earn a free book.

School is officially out now and both the boys are making great progress on their reading goals. Matthew is able to read pretty well for a 6 year old, but still likes to be read to. When I’m not available, he is happy to look at books for a long time.

Sean read this book in a day. I am learning that I need to have plenty of options on hand for him.

Part of the Summer Reading program includes some pretty great activities. We live between two branches and I like to scope out what they each offer. There are so many to choose from! We have been to one already. It was a Minecraft party where 8 computers were hooked up for kids to play together. The boys have played Minecraft with their cousins before, but this was a different experience for them since it was on computers instead of devices (iPads, phones, etc.)

They had a great time and are looking forward to the next Minecraft afternoon in July. If you want to try something fun at your library this summer, check out the calendar of events at KRL!

This post is part of our Summer Learning Inspiration series.  Folks in our community have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn!

Summer Learning Inspiration: Family History

Welcome guest blogger, Jo Blackford.

This summer I want to tackle a project that I’ve had vague plans to do for far too long – organizing my grandmother’s family tree research into a format that is easy to search, refer to, and share. I’ve had copies of her papers, family trees written by hand, for the last decade, ever since I asked my family for help when I was creating a family tree quilt for her. Her handwriting is neat and fairly legible, but stacks of paper are not easy to reference or organize, and, to be honest, I often forget where I have them stored. (Don’t worry, I found them in the first place I looked!)


I feel like I could do so much more with this information if I worked with it, catalogued it, and made it my own. The problem is, I’m not really sure where to start. And I don’t want to waste time entering all this information into a program and then finding out that it’s the wrong program, or that I can’t share it or add photos.

I have a few basic questions I need to find answers to. Is there software I can buy or get for free? Should I make a family tree on or somewhere else online? Can I use the library’s access to build a family tree without having to buy a membership? I had my DNA tested a while ago and I get emails that say I have 4th and 5th cousins who are also using the service – so how do I integrate those people into my family tree?

I guess I’ll probably start by searching the Internet. That’s usually where I start when I have a question about anything. I have a feeling there’s a lot of information out there about family trees and probably a lot of different software options. Probably too many options and too much information!

It might be a good idea to chat with the Puget Sound Genealogical Society volunteers at the Sylvan Way Library Genealogy Center. They can probably tell me some of the advantages and pitfalls of various services and software. Maybe they’ll even show me what an online tree looks like. I know there are plenty of books about genealogy at the library so they may be able to steer me towards something helpful. Once I figure out what software or service to use I can get started typing in all the details I have and then see where that leads me.

I recently heard about a free podcast that lays out the basics of genealogy for beginners, so that might have some good information for me too. And it would make sense to ask my friend who is studying to become a professional genealogist what software and services she uses.


I’m not quite ready to go down the “obsessive genealogist” rabbit hole yet, but I’d like to make the most of the work that’s already been done, to honor my late Nana. In the long run I’m sure I’ll end up being the family historian – the person who makes sure we keep the family tree updated as new children are born, the person who collects photos and, more importantly, stories about our family.

This summer I’m going to finally get started.

This post is part of our Summer Learning Inspiration series.  Folks in our community have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn!

Summer Learning Inspiration: Set and Accomplish Your Personal Goal

Summer Learning Inspiration: This post is part of a series from folks in our community who have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn! Welcome guest blogger, Amy N.

IMG_1342We are HUGE summer reading fans in our family. I grew up in a library loving family, toting laundry baskets full of books home weekly, and especially loved summer reading contests and prizes! So when my oldest was a little five month old I signed him up for summer reading and we’ve been at it ever since! I now have four children, ages 9, 7, 5 and a 1 year old caboose baby. My older two are now multiple year 100 hour readers, and I have three who have that goal this summer!

But beyond that, as an educator and as a mom, I am loving the new element of summer learning; the goal setting side of the tracker. Reading is vital yes, but it’s also pivotal to teach our kids WHY we read. We read for entertainment for sure, but we also read to gain knowledge and know how.

We already have a summer goal setting routine in our house, so getting this part off the ground was pretty easy to implement, but even without any precedent it’s not a daunting task. Promise.

Here’s how we did this: last week I found an evening when we were all home, grabbed the kids and some markers and paper, and just started brainstorming some goals or things they wanted to do this summer. This is the “anything goes” phase. My five year old told me she wants to be an astronaut. This summer. Haha! So then, we narrow those ideas down to things that we have the resources and ability to accomplish in the next few months.. Some of the things that ended up on the lists were: get really fast on my new rollerblades, finish all my math facts on X-tra Math, write a short story every day and make a collection, so on and so forth.

Then, for the purpose of this tracker, I asked them to choose one goal to focus on. At this point it became more effective to work with one child at a time.


My 9 year old chose dirt biking. He has never biked off road and he wants to. Then we broke it down into some steps: make sure his bike is tuned up. Check out a book or websites for dirt biking tips. Arrange some rides from mom and dad to the dirt biking track. Practice several times. Take a video of successfully riding the track.


IMG_1174Then my 7 year old chose cooking. She wants to cook and entire meal and dessert by herself. When we broke it down into steps she came up with: browse some recipe books. Mark possible options. Practice cooking skills with mom in night a week. Pick a night to be the lead chef.  Make a menu. Make a shopping list. Go shopping with mom. Make the dessert the morning of. Make the meal in the evening. Take pictures and share the meal with family and friends.

And then we got to my five year old who…..had fallen asleep on the couch! Just keeping it real! We’ll keep working on that one!
So, there you go. My simple steps to getting this up and off the ground with my kids. There are so many ways this could be successful: this is just one way of getting started.

Free Summer Meals for Kids and Teens

Summer is finally upon us, and Kitsap Regional Library has a full menu of cost-free programs and classes to keep kids 0-199 years of age entertained all summer long! Some of these programs, especially for the little ones, bring in quite a crowd and with acts like Reptile Man at Blueberry Park in East Bremerton, Kids Dance Party with Play Date at Kiwanis Park in Downtown Bremerton, and Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist at the Port Orchard Waterfront Park, it’s easy to work up an appetite!

That’s why a few of the Kitsap Regional Library locations are partnering with local school districts and the Parks and Rec department to offer free lunch for kids and teens at some of our summer programs. However, since we can’t serve free meals at all of our summer programs, we have compiled a list below of community locations where free lunches will be served for youth. Check to see if there’s a free-lunch site near you!

Summer Meals in Kitsap for Kids and Teens:

The USDA partners with some of the local school districts to provide free meals for kids and teens over the summer. For free meals in the Bremerton area, take a look at the summer food service calendar provided by the Bremerton School District.

South Kitsap School district offers free lunch M-F at local schools for anyone under 18. Check out the meal locations and the food menu. Sack lunches are also provided on Wednesdays next to the Gazebo at the Waterfront Park by Port Orchard Library from 11:30-11:45.

For other locations serving free meals for kids and teens in the Kitsap area more information can be found by calling the USDA at 1-888-3HUNGRY, or visiting the USDA Summer Food Rocks page.

StandUp For Kids offers free meal bags for ages 12-24 at these Kitsap Regional Library locations: Sylvan Way, Downtown Bremerton, Kingston, Port Orchard, and Silverdale during each location’s open hours.

For other locations that offer free meals for all ages (unless otherwise stated), check out the Salvation Army’s Free Meals in Kitsap County guide.

Garden Crafts

Whether having a beautiful garden is more of a dream or a reality, there is always more you can do to embellish your little domestic eden. There are many books which provide instruction on building practical projects as well as more flamboyant decorations for your little bit of paradise.

9781604695397lSoon to be added to the library collection (in July) is this project book: Color Concrete Garden Projects by Timber Press which provides ideas for planters, furniture and fire pits in color. Timber Press is one of the premier publishers for all things garden-related.


garden_projectsAnother brand new title is Garden Projects: 25 Easy-to-Build Wood Structures and Ornaments by Roger Marshall with projects that range from building raised beds to garden sheds.


9781604694871lMosaic Garden Projects by Mark Brody offers inspiration through Brody’s beautiful mosaic work. We might not be able to equal his work but readers can enjoy the delightful designs. This book also provides basic instruction for beginning mosaic work.


shed_decorShed Décor by Sally Coulthard is another book of inspiration. This is not for the person who is just looking for a place to store garden tools! You can use your shed for an art studio, an office or a getaway. The author furnishes her shed inspirations mainly through flea market finds. 250 color photos show a variety of decorating styles–stuff to dream on.


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