For 21 years, Marti Anamosa has been volunteering her time and talents to Sno-Isle Libraries.
The path that eventually led to two terms on the Board of Trustees started with one Friends of the Langley Library meeting in early 1999.
“By the second meeting, I was on the board and from there, a friend and I traded off as president, vice-president, president and so on,” Anamosa said. “That was my first taste of what Sno-Isle Libraries has to offer.”
In 2004, Anamosa was tapped to join the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Board of Directors. She served until 2010, including four years as president of the foundation board.
“Serving on the foundation board really opened my eyes to how the library and foundation can reach out to various segments of the community,” Anamosa said.
Foundation funds, which come primarily from individual donors, supplement library district spending on new programs or other areas where public money can’t be used. Years ago, for example, the foundation funded a pilot project for teen programming, she said.
“Sno-Isle didn’t want to spend taxpayer money on something that might not work,” Anamosa said. “So the foundation funded the programs in the first two years. The statistics were all very positive, and the library district took over the funding the next year.”
In 2010, Anamosa decided to apply for an opening on the library district’s board of trustees.
A media report at the time announced her appointment and summed up Anamosa’s motivation: “I have realized how much an excellent library can do to teach kids a love of reading, to get teens involved in their communities, and to help people of all ages connect through the shared experience of reading.”
Along with her personal interest and support in public libraries, Anamosa brought her professional experience to Sno-Isle Libraries, too.
Raised in New Mexico, Anamosa went to college in Austin, Texas, and law school in Houston before finding her way to the Pacific Northwest.
Anamosa practiced law for 25 years, focusing on small business and real-estate law before joining the real-estate subsidiary of Burlington Northern Railroad.
During her time on the foundation board and the library district board of trustees, Anamosa has seen and helped both organizations through some tough times. First came the economic recession in 2008-10 and its lingering effects and now, COVID-19.
“The recession was a huge hit,” said Anamosa, referring to plunging property values that impacted funding for the library district. “Sno-Isle Libraries made the commitment to maintain staff if at all possible because the staff is what makes Sno-Isle Libraries so great. We froze staff salaries and executives took cuts. It was a tough stand.”
Coronavirus-related restrictions are presenting a different sort of challenge, she said.
“I salute management and staff for pivoting to online resources so heavily,” Anamosa said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s better than not having anything. I admire the creative way staff pivoted to new ways of reaching customers, such as online storytimes, online trivia programs, and offering TEDxSnoIsleLibraries in online events over six weeks rather than a one–day, in–person event.”
Anamosa says her most gratifying moments as a trustee have come recently.
The first one came in 2018 when voters approved resetting the library district’s property-tax levy. “That was a huge moment of joy,” she said. “The levy funding supports everything the library does.”
The second was hiring a new executive director in Lois Langer Thompson. “Lois asked us what we were looking for, and we told her we were looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives. That is exactly what she has given Sno-Isle Libraries.”
Anamosa has some thoughts for whoever replaces her on the board of trustees.
“I think now is a very exciting time to be a library trustee,” she said. “There is an opportunity to find new ways to provide more services to more people. COVID-19 has forced us to look at new ways to serve our communities, and some of these changes will endure.”
“I think applicants should be engaged with their community library and should know the community because trustees also serve as a conduit for the community to Sno-Isle Libraries.”
While 21 years is a long time to serve, Anamosa says she will miss the people: “There are so many smart people who know what they are doing and do it really well. And I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way at Sno-Isle.”
What is next for Anamosa?
“Retirement,” she says. “My husband says I’ve failed at retirement, so I’m going to give that another try.”
Trustee position application
Island County residents are eligible to apply for the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees position being vacated by Marti Anamosa. For more information and an application form, go to www.sno-isle.org/board/trustrees. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m., Sept. 8.