Edmonds Kind of Play: The library as a community gathering place, plus Día de los Muertos events

Jennifer Marx

This afternoon, I picked up a copy of Lynda Hunt’s Fish in a Tree, the story of a student with dyslexia, at the Edmonds Bookshop. It was one of those interactions that went exactly right on all levels. Despite my calling ahead of business hours, when the reminder showed up on my phone, I was able to leave a voicemail. Not too long after, I got a call back saying they had one more copy and offered to hold for me at the front. Then, when I got there, I got the 15-minute parking space directly in front of the store — honorable mention to the bookmark they give you. Dyslexia is top of mind right now for a lot of reasons: It’s Dyslexia Awareness month, I just had a parent/teacher conference for my son, who has the “trifecta” of learning disabilities — dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia — plus I just went to a meetup at the Snohomish Library put on by a Facebook group of Washington parents with children struggling with dyslexia.

One thing that struck me about the event was the free use of this room at the library. I would say it was maybe half the size of the Plaza Room above the Edmonds Library, with a high ceiling and placed far enough away from the stacks to worry too much about the volume in the room. As we were stacking chairs to leave, the librarian came in and was chatting with the event’s organizer about the reservations. I had never really considered what it looked like for any kind of group to hold an event at the Edmonds Library, and whether people know they had access to the space. I was able to easily get the information, and then some, from the Edmonds Library and their website.

I initially pictured the Plaza Room. It is on the second floor of the library next to the plaza where people take their pre-prom photos. I had NO idea this was a destination, and even though mine aren’t there yet, enough of my friends have kids in high school and I’ve have seen the pics on social media over the last few weeks —  and we’ve been in this room for Storytime and other library events. It turns out that the Plaza Room is rented out by the city.

Your option for a space to reserve inside the Edmonds library is the meeting room. The first librarian I spoke to told me that this room fits 15 adults comfortably, though technically 20 are allowed, and it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. They take reservations for the room roughly two weeks out. For instance, I called on Monday, Oct. 28, and the librarian I spoke to said that we were looking at around Saturday, Nov. 9 as the latest I could currently reserve the room, for free. When I had questions about a million different scenarios, I was transferred to the Children’s Librarian, Katherine Combs. She confirmed that the meeting room was the best way to reserve a space at the library to meet as a group.

Since I was using my meetup as an example to ask about available spaces, after we talked about the meeting room, Combs offered to talk to me about how the library could be involved with a meetup like the one I was talking about in Snohomish, which for us connects family members and students with similar challenges. It made me immediately think of all of the wide range of options for people at the library from tax or SAT Prep to sharing different cultures and their holidays, to being a warm place to be during a cold day. This is all to say, there is a free place for your group to meet at the library and possibly a partner to offer the group to a larger audience.

The Edmonds Library Día de los Muertos display.

Even before my meetup, I was going to write about the library this week after I saw a post on the library’s social media. The Edmonds Library is currently featuring two different displays of books on Día de los Muertos/Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead, which according to History.com is “a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration.” Among the displays are posters advertising local Día de los Muertos events, plus I found a few options within the Sno-Isle family. The holiday, which is from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 each year, isn’t related to Halloween and there are resources available online and on social media to help ensure respectful participation in the holiday.

The Edmonds Day of the Dead Festival will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Edmonds Masonic Center on Dayton. This “family friendly free event” features music and dance with Grupo Folklorico Guadalajara and our favorite Westgate Elementary kids. There will be arts and crafts including face painting and sugar skull decorating with a community altar. To find more information on the event and even a link to buy Edmonds Day of the Dead Festival merch, you can visit their Facebook Events page HERE.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 2, the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council is holding a Día de Muertos Celebration at the Spartan Rec Center. The event, for youth and adults, includes live music by Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana, traditional dance by Baile Folklore Colibri and  a community altar with photos and ofrenda — “Please plan to add to the altar by bringing photos of loved ones, and any other items you would like.” There will also be hands-on art activities and food trucks “serving a mix of a favorites.” The tickets, $0-$25, are “pay what you can.” They explain that when you pay more, it is to help others access the event and that paying in the middle helps the organizers cover their cost and “any proceeds made will go towards arts programming in our community.” For more information and to buy tickets you can visit ShorelineArts.net.

Within the Sno-Isle family, there are options to learn about and celebrate the holiday. The Monroe Library has an altar for your to bring in your memories and “commemorate loved ones who have passed.” This is available during library hours on each day of the holiday. On Friday, Nov. 1, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Snohomish Library, patrons of all ages can “learn about the ancient tradition of Día de los Muertos by making sugar skulls, papel picado and tissue paper flowers to decorate your own altar to loved ones who have passed away.” On Saturday, Nov 2, from 2 to 3 p.m., there is “Sugar Skull Decorating for Day of the Dead” at the Mill Creek Library for elementary-age participants

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

One Reply to “Edmonds Kind of Play: The library as a community gathering place, plus Día de los Muertos events”

  1. Thanks for all the information about the library. It’s a great resource and one of the reasons we moved to Edmonds.
    In reference to your son and his learning difficulties please don’t overlook the benefits of reading to him. I was a teacher of children like your son. I was amazed at how the students (even 8th graders) loved to be read to. I used a set of stories which were rather short. Or you can choose a book like Where the red Fern Grows.
    I recently put together a booklet with lists of good books for various ages for my nieces and nephews.
    There are lots of great books in the library. Your librarian can help you as she did about the meeting room.

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