Posted on April 21, 2017

4th Avenue Theatre, Anchorage AK

I have written about the 4th Avenue Theatre a couple times, but it is appropriate to do so now for two reasons: the Alaska Historical Commission is holding a special meeting concerning this beautiful historic building next Monday, April 24 (9-11 am at the BP Energy Center in Anchorage), and there is a 70th anniversary celebration planned in downtown Anchorage on May 27-29 (see


Here is the post I wrote in September of last year:



The National Trust for Historic Preservation is encouraging us to join #thisplacematters during Preservation Month, September 2016. The idea is to post a photo of your favorite historic place, and tell about places that matter to you. (See more at


I have been fortunate to have many historic places in my life in Alaska. But the one that stands out for me personally is the 4th Avenue Theatre in downtown Anchorage. I posted about it here last May (


Cap Lathrop, a prominent Alaskan, started construction of the movie theater in 1941, but World War II postponed the project, and it was completed in 1947. It is also known as the Lathrop Building, in his honor. Designed in Art Deco style by B.Marcus Priteca in association with architect A. A. Porreca, it was the most opulent building in town, especially in a town that is not known for its artistic sensibility. I love the artwork inside the building, which no one gets to see anymore, so here are some old photos from the Library of Congress:



4th Avenue Theatre, Anchorage

4th Avenue Theatre, Anchorage





I have many happy memories of the theatre. I saw movies there as I was growing up, and my first date with my husband was there.


It is owned by a private company and the future plans for the building are up in the air. I hope that having the 4th Avenue Theatre on the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties list and featured in #thisplacematters will help preserve it for the next generation.


If you’re interested in learning more about the 4th Avenue Theatre or the list, you can look at the AAHP’s website at Also, check out the Facebook group Save the 4th Avenue Theatre at


Do you have a special historic place in your life? Then please participate in #thisplacematters.


Posted on April 14, 2017

#FellowshipofWords In History

As you may know, I declared this the #FellowshipofWords year, and I’m exploring how words and books can bring us together. (See my first blog post on this topic at

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how words have brought us together throughout history. I had the opportunity to judge for our local National History Day competition, and read papers about people taking a stand on important issues from women’s rights to tribal violence. I know of other examples as well, thanks to PBS (public broadcasting TV) and some of my own reading. Words can help us feel empathy and lead to changes in the way we see each other. Here are a few book examples from different points in history, to give you some food for thought:

I’ve often heard the anecdote about President Lincoln greeting Harriet Beecher Stowe with “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass brought the horrors of slavery to light and made white readers realize that blacks were people just like them.

Jumping forward in time, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath illuminated the poverty of the Great Depression. It created empathy for the refugees of the Dust Bowl and led to reforms.

Outside the U. S., Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe showed us the impact of colonial policies in Africa. Readers better understood Nigerian history, and saw how people respond to change in universal ways.

As we keep telling stories and finding connections to other people, we find that we have more in common than we have differences. Authors can play an important role in this process.

May our reading bring us closer to our fellow human beings. Do you have any examples to share?

Posted on April 7, 2017

AN IMLS OVERVIEW by Danielle Fortin

This was posted on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) website on April 4, 2017 by Danielle Fortin at

It’s such an important and timely issue that I asked to share it on my blog. Any errors are from my cutting and pasting—please see the original if you have problems with the links, etc.


from the YALSA website:

AN IMLS OVERVIEW by Danielle Fortin

If you are anything like the general population you know that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) does SOMETHING with libraries (and museums) but you really have no idea what it does. We hope by now that you know that IMLS is on this year’s chopping block, per the White House’s proposed budget, but aren’t sure how it will affect you, and why it’s a big deal.

And these cuts are a Big Deal. The IMLS is fairly young, as government organizations go, having been created in 1996 by the Museum and Library Services Act (the act combined the Institute of Museum services and the Library Programs Office), and is reauthorized every 5 years, but it touches every state and US Territory in the country. IMLS now supports all libraries- public, academic, research, tribal, and special as well as every type of museum- from children’s to planetariums to history. Over 158,000 museums and libraries combined benefit from IMLS funds every year.

The majority of IMLS support to libraries is the Grants to States program. Grants to States is the biggest source of federal funding for libraries across the country. It is a bit of a misnomer, because these grants aren’t competitive or something that requires an application. Every state automatically receives funding from Grants to States based on population needs, over $150 million dollars in funds is distributed to libraries every year through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Each state receives a base amount of $680,000 and each Territory receives a base amount of $60,000, which is then matched at the state level. (To find out how your state uses LSTA funds visit the IMLS State Profile Page.)

Each state or US Territory is able to determine how they will allot these funds, and many states distribute their library portion through their State Library. These funds support a variety of library functions and operations. States use this money to fund staff at state library agencies, continuing education for library workers, Talking Books programs (books for the blind and physically handicapped), broadband internet access, programs for teens, seniors, and at-risk populations, access to databases and downloadable books, and much more. Visit your state library’s web site to learn more about all of the resources and services they have available to help you help teens.

The IMLS also supports libraries through competitive grants, research, surveys, and policy development. The IMLS works in partnership with state agencies and museums to collect data and distribute the collected information to state and federal agencies. This data is used to identify the upcoming trends in library and museum services and to identify target needs across the country. These trends are studied and policies for best practices and plans to improve them are established. Initiatives on InterLibrary Loan, staffing, library governance, collections and more are developed through these extensive surveys and research.

Without the funding from the IMLS libraries will be facing far-reaching budget and service cuts. We will see the funds for things such as the databases we depend on for research dwindle, the funds for downloadable content dry up, and our state agencies will likely lose valuable staff that support our work at the local level. Statewide library funds will effectively be halved by these measures, putting library services and libraries at risk.

How can you help?

Be vocal. Contact your national, state and local representatives and share stories about why IMLS funds help teens

Participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 2

Bring attention to these cuts on social media #saveIMLS

Write letters (Use the template that YALSA provides!)

Take a look at YALSA’s Talking Points for ideas and suggestions

Read this earlier blog post for 10+ action items you can do right now

And finally check out the YALSA Advocacy Toolkit

Facts and figures drawn from

Posted on March 30, 2017

Happy Seward’s Day!

Seward’s Day is usually held on the last Monday of March, but the actual anniversary it commemorates is today, March 30, so I’m going to wish you a happy Seward’s Day today!

On March 30, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. William H. Seward was the person chiefly responsible for that action, understanding the territory’s natural resources and geographical location would be important in our Pacific interests. He was the Secretary of State for President Johnson at the time; before that, he served under Lincoln and was a state senator, governor of New York and U.S. senator. The State Department has a nice biography of him at


William Henry Seward, source U. S. Department of State

William Henry Seward, source U. S. Department of State


Alaskans named a town after Seward and many see him as kind of a founding father. Of course, the relationship between the United States and the Alaska Natives, the first people here, has been complex and not always a positive one. So our view of Seward is also not easily summed up in ten words or less. But the anniversary, especially this year’s150th or sesquicentennial, is notable. Here are a few events:

Music Without Borders: A Musical Journey into the Cultural Heritage of Alaska, April 1st in Sitka

Polar Bear Garden exhibit, through September 17, at the Anchorage Museum

Emanuel Leutze’s painting Signing of the Alaska Treaty is traveling to different venues around the state through October

Learn more at the Alaska Historical Society website at

Posted on March 24, 2017

It’s Break Up Time in Alaska!

A few days ago, the outside temperature was just above freezing. I basked in the warmth of the sun heating up the interior of my car as I drove across town. As I turned into the right lane, my wheels hit the puddle of snow melt and threw water over the curb. “Break up is here,” I said to myself, glad no one was walking nearby. I’d hate to drench someone with that icy, dirty water.

Break up is the time of year when the snow and ice melt. (You’ll see it as one word or two, capitalized or not, so I just picked one spelling variation here to be consistent.) It gets its name from the dramatic break up of river ice, which is a lot more impressive than watching cars run through puddles. Other northern locales have break up too, but we like to claim it as an Alaskan thing.

Ice out on Yukon River 2 Pilot Station Alaska by Mark Dornblaser U.S. Geological Survey

Ice out on Yukon River 2 Pilot Station, Alaska by Mark Dornblaser U.S. Geological Survey

Break up season varies around Alaska—here in Southcentral, we get it before the Interior or Arctic region. The Nenana Ice Classic ( the biggest break up celebration in Alaska. It’s a lottery where people guess when the Nenana River will melt enough to knock down a tripod set on top of the ice. Last year, the winners split a pot of $300,000 when it went down on April 23.

Of course some of us like the play on words between the season break up and a break up in a relationship. My local romance writers group used to run a break up writing contest at this time of year, when people submitted their best break up or fight scene. We read some awesome ones over the years. A break up is a good way to create a “dark moment” for a romance plot, as long as it’s only a temporary setback for the heroine. I’d love to see one set during break up season—would be a nice metaphor, don’t you think?

Here’s wishing you a good break up, or spring if that’s more your style. Stay away from the curb, just in case. 🙂

Posted on March 10, 2017

#FellowshipofWords Libraries Today

I recently had the privilege of attending the Alaska Library Association (AkLA) conference. Every time I walk into a room of librarians, I feel at home. I’m with my tribe—people who love books and the written word. But what I was most struck by last week was how much libraries do for their communities, with and without books.

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes set the tone in her kickoff speech, sharing her story of how books enriched her life. She’s been able to pass that on in her own writing, especially in her Louisiana Trilogy of middle grade novels. Many of us bought her books later, and other great titles we learned of during the conference. That was one of the highlights for me, seeing how much we all love books and want to share them with others.

Of course, librarians spend much of their time and job duties sharing books with people. But that’s not all they do, nowadays. I learned about several different programs that provide ebooks, music, and movies to library patrons. Public libraries are one of the few public places where people have computer access, important for applying for jobs, schools, and other opportunities. Libraries also host maker spaces and speakers who provide information about job skills, entrepreneurship, early child development, online research, self publishing—you name it, there’s probably a library near you that has offered it.

Each library provides programs and assistance tailored to their community. For example, they might have patrons who experience homelessness or need to learn English as a Second Language or who are bridging the gap between school and work. One segment of the population I have an interest in, teenagers, often have teen library programs catering to their interests and needs. One reason I attended was to pick up ideas for our local teen services, and I came away with lots of awesome examples we can try in the future.

The information age has fostered an evolution in libraries. As speaker Sari Feldman pointed out in her presentation, libraries have moved from helping people find answers to helping them craft the questions. Librarians are on the front line of the digital world, and they help patrons understand the flood of information and opinions out there, and how to tell the difference between the two. Even if they did nothing else, this would be a huge service to our country. As it is, digital literacy is one of many things libraries teach us.

THANK YOU to libraries and librarians everywhere. And an extra thank you for the ones I spent time with at the AkLA conference. Librarians are special people, and definitely members of the #FellowshipofWords!

(For more about the #FellowshipofWords see my blog post at

Posted on March 3, 2017

Ketchikan Totems

While in Ketchikan for the Alaska Library Conference, I discovered it is an important place for art from many cultures. Southeast Alaska is the traditional home for Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Indians. They all make complex and beautiful art, and totem poles are common in the Ketchikan area.


Totem Bight State Historical Park ( is a site that has restored historical totem poles and some copies of old ones from the area, plus a traditional clan house. Many of these were created or restored during the Depression through the CCC program.

Totem Bight totems

TB totem 1










Saxman Village’s Totem Park ( has Tlingit totem poles and a clan house, plus a carving shed where people can watch artists at work. We were lucky to talk with the master carver Nathan Jackson there. Not only is he a gifted artist, but he’s also one of the most modest and nicest people I’ve met.

Saxman totems

Nathan Jackson, Saxman








The Totem Heritage Center ( preserves old totem poles from Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian villages. Some of them are on display, and others are held in an archive. The Center also has displays and classes for other cultural art such as baskets and bentwood boxes.

Totem Heritage Center

Totem Her Ctr 2










If you travel to Ketchikan, give yourself an extra day or so to see these totems. You’ll be glad you did.


Posted on February 26, 2017

Welcome to Ketchikan, AK!

I’m in Ketchikan for the Alaska Library Association (AkLA) conference. It’s a great Southeast Alaskan town with its own culture and history. The Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingit people fished in this area for hundreds of years near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek, “kitschk-hin,”  meaning creek of the “thundering wings of an eagle.” Then a cannery was built here in 1886, bringing in European Americans, Filipino and Asian workers. By the turn of the century, Ketchikan was a growing town, and Creek Street was the red-light district.

Ketchikan 1 by Lynn LovegreenKetchikan 2 by Lynn Lovegreen







Fishing and fish processing, then logging, then tourism became the biggest industry here. Now, there’s a mix of all of the above plus medical and other employers, but the cruise ships rule Ketchikan in the summertime. The town is quiet during the winter, but still charming. Please enjoy my photos of Creek Street and downtown Ketchikan.

Ketchikan 6 by Lynn LovegreenKetchikan 7 by Lynn LovegreenKetchikan 5 by Lynn Lovegreen

Ketchikan 3 by Lynn LovegreenKetchikan 4 by Lynn Lovegreen

Posted on February 17, 2017

Raven Love

I’ve always loved ravens. They are smart, savvy, and sassy at times. They can be found in many different places around the world, including most of Alaska. I love their beautiful black feathers, their intelligence, and their personality. This time of year, they pair off to start a new generation of ravens.

Raven in treeravens 1









Here in Southcentral Alaska, we see them all year round, but even more so in winter, when they move into town for the easy meals. Why work hard in the frigid woods when you can pick up french fries and other goodies in a parking lot? That’s why most of my raven photos are taken in the winter, when I can catch them perching on a streetlight or grabbing something off the pavement. These are a few samples.

raven parking lot

ravens 2ravens 3

Posted on February 10, 2017

My Most Romantic Scene

This post first appeared on the Romancing the Genres blog, where I have a monthly gig. Check out the blog at

My Most Romantic Scene by Lynn Lovegreen

I have written five young adult historical romances. I have several favorites in my Gold Rush series, from my favorite first kiss to my favorite supporting character. But my favorite romantic scene is in my novel Gold Nuggets, because it shows true love.

When a critique partner read this scene, she said it showed that Henry really loved Charlotte because he was thinking of her needs, not his desires. I agree—one definition of true love is that it makes you the best person you can be for that person. You’re not just after the fulfillment of your own wishes. Henry is at his best here.

He knew now that he loved Charlotte. He wanted the best for her, and wanted to be the best person he could, for her. That felt like love. The hard part was deciding what role he could play in her life that would be better for her. Should he woo her and marry her? Would being his wife be right for her? Or was she better off pursuing her own life without him? Henry didn’t want her to feel tied down to him, but maybe marrying him would give her more choices to pursue her dreams without worry about finances.

Of course, this was assuming she’d want to marry him. She still wouldn’t look him in the eye. Was that her way of putting him off?

The train car hit a short gap in the rail and it jolted Charlotte awake. She looked around and met his eyes. She smiled.

This was as close to alone as they’d ever be, so he seized his chance. “Charlotte, I love you.”

Hope you find the perfect romance in your own life, however you define it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

GoldNuggets by Lynn Lovegreen







Direct link to Gold Nuggets page: