Summer reading program to kick off June 12 at public library

Puyallup Public LibraryJune 4, 2014 

“Stories do have roaring power, stories are the most crucial and necessary food, how come we never hardly say that out loud?” This quote from an essay by Portland author Brian Doyle should be said out loud and repeated often.

Summer is approaching, and in addition to being a time for backyard barbecues with marinated chicken, potato salad and grilled cobs of corn, summer is also a time to celebrate stories.

The Puyallup Public Library’s summer reading programs for kids, teens and adults give you the chance to read for fun, to read whatever you want — free of the constraints of required reading for school or work. It’s time to break out the beach reads, or read that novel that you haven’t had the time to pick up.

Our summer events begin June 12. At 7 p.m. that evening, the library is welcoming author Brian Doyle to help us kick off our Summer Reading program for adults.

Doyle teaches at the University of Portland and is also the editor of Portland magazine. He writes exquisitely, and is the author of two novels: “Mink River” and “The Plover,” which was released earlier this year. His work, in the words of one of Doyle’s editors, “elevates the reader.”

“The Plover,” the story of Declan O’Donnell’s sea voyage aboard the titular ship, is truly transcendent writing. This is not a dull, listless story of what goes on in a sailor’s mind as he looks out at the endless ocean. This is so much more.

Sailing out from the Oregon coast, Declan meets his friend Piko, a biologist, along with his daughter, Pipa, who has been left without the ability to speak because of a traumatic incident. But Pipa sees, hears and observes much, and Doyle gets us into her head along with the other characters as they take a journey on The Plover together. Doyle is a very literate and witty man, and this program promises to be one that will stay with you for a long time.

The library is also making it easier for you to get your stories like “The Plover.” You may have noticed our new self-checkout machines. Besides the three machines downstairs, we now have a machine upstairs as well. Our patrons have told us that they love being able to check out upstairs. With our new Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID), you can check out multiple materials instantaneously. They can be placed into the machines in a stack.

It’s been so much fun to help our patrons use the new machines and see how amazed they are at how quickly, seamlessly and easily it works. What you may not have seen — working behind the scenes — are our new automatic materials sorters that check in your materials immediately. These pieces of new technology are fulfilling the dream of former library director Gay Uhl and the Puyallup community for this building to be a library of the future.

Please also join us at noon on June 12 for our formal ribbon-cutting celebrating the library’s technology upgrades. We will be welcoming Mayor John Knutsen, as well as other members of the city council along with city staff.

And then come back in the evening to hear Brian Doyle. As summer comes to Washington, let’s celebrate — not just the technology that will make your library experience almost magical — but more importantly, let’s celebrate the way stories give us common frames of reference and bring us together.

Tim Wadham is the director of the Puyallup Public Library. He can be reached at 253-841-5452 or by email at

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