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new fiction

minor differences

A film by Heather Dew Oaksen

Wednesday, April 1 @ 1:00pm at the Orcas Center

What do a thief, kidnapper, two murderers and a heroin addict have in common with your child, brother, father? Take away the labels and you'll find these imprisoned teenagers are an awful lot like people you know. MINOR DIFFERENCES introduces five juvenile offenders in maximum security lock-up. We meet them again 18 years later.


Eighteen years ago, filmmaker Heather Dew Oaksen taught a video skills class at Green Hill, a maximum security prison for juveniles in Chehalis, WA. There she got to know the young men you will meet in MINOR DIFFERENCES. At the time, they were boys between the ages of 16 and 19.

Oaksen did not set out to establish long-term relationships with these jailed teens. But they won her heart and she won their trust. Their powerful first person stories illustrate their struggle to overcome childhood trauma and incarceration as we witness their transformation from boys to men.

MINOR DIFFERENCES tells the harsh truth about growing up behind bars....all cons, no pros.

In creating their pieces, the boys momentarily shed their label of "offender" or "gang banger" and revealed themselves to be engaging young people who aspired to stay out of jail and lead satisfying lives. They still had hopes for the future.

Oaksen learned that despite their youthful mistakes, they were smart, likable individuals, and she kept in contact. MINOR DIFFERENCES is an update on the boys, now men in their mid 30's.

Today, they express the sincere desire to lead good lives and care for their children, yet, as their stories show, they have never been able to overcome their early prison experience. Oaksen's current film intermixes footage from recent interviews and her original work with the Green Hill boys. In their own frank words, the young men and their families describe the world of obstacles and problems the teenagers faced as they tried to stay out of jail.

For more information on this project visit minordifferences.com

A film by Heather Dew Oaksen

Wednesday, April 1 @ 1:00pm at the Orcas Center

learn a new language

Rosetta Stone® provides cutting-edge interactive technology that is changing the way the world learns. The company's proprietary language-learning techniques—acclaimed for their power to unlock the natural language-learning ability in everyone—are used by schools, businesses, government organizations and millions of individuals around the world. Rosetta Stone offers courses in 30 languages, from the most commonly spoken (like English, Spanish and Mandarin) to the less prominent (including Swahili, Swedish and Tagalog).
To access Rosetta Stone please enter your entire 14-digit library card barcode in the form window below.

Orcas Island Library Card Number:

Testing & Education Reference Center

The Testing & Education Reference Center is a start-to-finish resource with all the information and support materials needed to make informed, confident decisions to shape the rest of your life.

  • Over 300 practice tests and courses
  • Dozens of ebooks containing valuable study material and practice tests
  • Information on over 4,000 accredited schools
  • Scholarship search featuring $8 billion in available scholarships
  • Resume builder with over 1,000 brainstorming phrases to get you started
  • Career modules covering subjects from career change to salary negotiations

To access the Testing & Education Reference Center you will need your entire 14-digit Orcas Island Library card number. Using this resource from your computer outside the Library requires a password. The password is orcas.

Follow the link to begin using the Testing & Education Reference Center.

friends store

The Friends of the Orcas Island Library has merchandise for sale*. Merchandise is available for purchase in the Library.

  • Canvas Bags: $15
  • Mugs: $15
  • Hats: $12
  • Bumper Stickers: $2.50

And, of course ... paperbacks ($1) and hardbound books ($2) in the Library lobby.

*All proceeds from the sale of merchandise help to further the mission and activities of the Friends of the Orcas Island Library.

what's a mooc?

What's a MOOC? It's a Massive Open Online Course. A MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.

Coursera and EdX are two of the most popular providers of MOOCs. But, there are many more: visit our eLearning page. Or, visit MOOCs: Top 10 Sites for Free Education With Elite Universities.

ask orcas

Have you ever wondered where you or a friend can go for help with medical or mental health concerns? Or where to go to sign up for Food Stamps? Or how to fill out a disability claim? Sometimes, when we need help the most, it is hard to know where to turn.

Ask Orcas is a new collaborative program staffed by a team of skilled volunteers, trained to navigate available programs and services available on Orcas and surrounding areas. Volunteers will be available in person to assist with identifying opportunities, completing applications, and making connections to needed supports.

Starting on October 1st, Ask Orcas will be at the Orcas Public Library on Sundays from Noon-3 pm, at the Community Church on Tuesdays from 11-3, and at the Senior Center on Fridays from 11-3. There is no fee for service, no income qualification, and all client information is confidential. Or, call Ask Orcas- 376-7676- to connect to a volunteer advocate to help Orcas Islanders navigate the programs serving the Orcas community.


Ask Orcas is a 6 month pilot program of the Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF), developed in response to the results from our last community needs assessment; specifically, that a key barrier to getting needed supports was not knowing who to ask for help. With over 100 nonprofits and faith based organizations providing services, it is challenging at times to know who to turn to for a specific issue, or how to navigate between different services needed to address a larger issue. Ask Orcas will help steer people in the right direction. It will also help OICF, and the community at large, learn what the most pressing needs are for community members and where gaps and overlaps in available services exist.

For more information or to contact a volunteer, call 376-7676.

microsoft it academy

Microsoft IT Academy program provides industry-leading technology skills to help bridge the skills gap.

Microsoft IT Academy provides digital curriculum and certifications on fundamental technology skills -- as well as courses critical for learners of all ages to be successful in today's technologically evolving world.

Interested in free access to Microsoft training?


friends of the library

Winter Book Sale - Saturday, February 28 - 10am-2pm

Connect to the Friends' Corner

get our mobile app

The Orcas Island Library has a mobile app. Scan the QR code above, or download from wa.boopsie.com

Access the Library's online services using Washington State Library Now, the library app for Washingtonians.

Library Now works on mobile devices including Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod and iPod Touch), Windows Phone 8, Windows Mobile, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Palm, J2ME, and Symbian Series 60.

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