"Strip curtains ban bugs, bring in library money"

"Now that spring is bringing longer days and warmer weather, folks open their doors to let in the fresh air. But a doorway without screens invites unwanted flies and bees inside. Nancy Lindholdt, president of the Friends of the Langley Library and past librarian for more than 20 years, has discovered a colorful and less expensive alternative to screen doors that raises funds for the Langley Library as well. Lindholdt once lived in Belgium and noticed that few people had screen doors there. Most used what they called strip curtains, colorful ribbons of plastic that hang vertically to the floor from a rod attached to the top of the door. They're reminiscent of the bead curtains of the 1960s, but are more festive, moving gracefully in the breeze. There are no screen doors at the Langley Library, which gave Lindholdt an idea to keep the bugs out. She remembered the Belgium strip curtains and thought they would be a good idea for a fund raiser as well. Our air conditioning was to open the front door, but with the sweet smelling alyssums outside the bees came in, said Lindholdt. I went back to Belgium and picked up a few curtains to sell. Surprised at how quickly the curtains sold, Lindholdt contacted the manufacturer and a successful fund raiser began to expand the then-tiny library. A lot of people made it possible to create the building we have today, said Lindholdt. We raised two-thirds of the money from generous, wonderful people and got the other third from a state grant. Nowadays Friends of the Library use the funds from strip curtain sales to help buy items such as a new copier or a diaper-changing station. They also plan on getting more computers. Some Friends members thought the market for strip curtains would be soon saturated, but Lindholdt said supplies continue to sell out each year. As the weather warms up, look for the curtains throughout South Whidbey Island, fluttering in doorways at the Sapori Café in Langley in neutral colors of beige and brown, and in rainbow hues at the Langley Library and the Dog House. One child told me it was like walking through a rainbow, Lindholdt said. A few folks have found that the curtains are irresistible to kids and that chickens were undeterred by them. Terri Schaal of Greenbank tried the strip curtains at her farmhouse. The kids braided them so in the end there were only five strips hanging, she said, adding that her open-range, egg-laying chickens found the strips to be no barrier and made themselves at home in her home. Lindholdt said a solution for Schaal's creative kids and curious hens might be to buy the newer-styled heavy-duty strip curtains. They are thicker and longer-lasting, and can slide from side to side. Lindholdt added that this is the time to stock up on the strip curtains, before the supplies run out. The thin plastic strip curtains sell for $25; the new heavy duty variety are $40. For more information, call the Langley Library at 221-4383. "

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