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Check out Prosser Heritage digital collection ?>

Check out Prosser Heritage digital collection

Photo courtesy of Benton County Museum & Historical Society

Whether you’re from Prosser or the Yakima Valley, or just like looking at old black and white photographs, you’ll want to take a look at the new digital collection of historical photographs documenting the early years of this town located along the Yakima River.

The photo above shows a farmer operating a combine that is pulled by a horse team on the Horse Heaven Hills in 1907.

The collection, entitled Prosser Heritage, became available thanks to a partnership between the Prosser branch of Mid-Columbia Libraries and the Benton County Museum & Historical Society. The State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program published the collection and provided a grant to fund it. Prosser Heritage is the 20th collection published by the rural heritage program.

Washington Rural Heritage is a collection of historic materials documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the State Library. The initiative provides the infrastructure and training to both digitize and serve unique collections to a widespread audience.

Go here to learn more about Washington Rural Heritage and see its digital photo collections.

Library levies fare well ?>

Library levies fare well

Most of the attention in Washington’s recent Primary Election was on the U.S. Senate race, certain high-profile congressional contests and several legislative matchups. One of the other storylines from the Primary was that many local library levies passed, including the Fort Vancouver Regional Library and libraries in Clallam County, Spokane County, Castle Rock and Ocean Shores.

The State Library did an extensive blog post about the library levies here .

And the award goes to…WTBBL! ?>

And the award goes to…WTBBL!

wtbbl logo redFor many years, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle has played a crucial role in providing services to Washingtonians who are visually or physically impaired, from talking books to Braille materials to the Evergreen Radio Reading Service.

WTBBL’s great work has not gone unnoticed, as today it received the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Network’s 2009 Library of the Year award.

“We are ecstatic and very honored to receive this national award,” said WTBBL program manager Danielle Miller. “We have so many wonderful patrons throughout this state, and our staff works hard to provide them with many helpful services.”

“Congratulations to Danielle and the dedicated, hard-working staff at WTBBL for this terrific honor!” said Secretary of State Sam Reed. (more…)

Your Top 10 influential books? Here are mine … ?>

Your Top 10 influential books? Here are mine …

One of the side benefits of recuperating from my recent surgery has been long blocs of reading time.  I got four thick books as get-well gifts (including Douglas Brinkley’s “Wilderness Warrior,” about Teddy Roosevelt, from staff) and right now I’m plowing through an amazing book called “Citizens of London” by Lynne Olson. I  heard a book review on NPR and was intrigued. It is about an unsung hero, a former governor of New Hampshire who succeeds Joseph P. Kennedy as Ambassador to Great Britain at the outbreak of World War II, and how he helped gain American support for the war and the British people.

sam1
I’ve been hearing about the blogosphere’s interest in people’s subjective list of Top 10 Influential Books.  Since my office includes the State Library and I have gained a reputation as being quite a reader, my staff asked me to compile a list of 10 books that have made a big impact on me and my view of the world, about what leadership looks like and what lessons we (more…)

Mahre family poster just in time for Olympics! ?>

Mahre family poster just in time for Olympics!

Steve and Phi for webWith the Winter Olympics set to begin up in Vancouver and Whistler in a few weeks, the State Library has a new Washington Reads poster featuring two Olympics heroes from our state: the Mahre twins.

At the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, Phil and Steve Mahre captured the gold and silver medals in the men’s slalom. The Mahres, who honed their skiing skills at White Pass, were among several Washingtonians who medaled at those Olympics. Others included gold medalist Debbie Armstrong in the women’s giant slalom and silver medalist Rosalynn Sumners in women’s figure skating.  Steve’s son, freeskier Andy Mahre, is also featured on the poster.

Due to budget constraints, there are no free printed copies of the new poster available. But you can acquire it in one of two ways: If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader software, you can download it for free here. You can also buy 11” x 17” print quality posters for a small fee from the Washington State Department of Printing General Store. The order and cost information is provided on the store’s Web site here.

State Library facing budget cuts – again ?>

State Library facing budget cuts – again

librarysadAs state legislators work to fix a projected $2.8 billion budget hole before the 2010 legislative session ends in March, the Washington State Library once again is in the crosshairs.

Gov. Gregoire’s budget proposal would ax $2 million from the State Library, resulting in 31 full-time or part-time workers losing their jobs. That’s one-third of the library’s staff. The jobs lost would impact the library’s reference desk, the acquisition and cataloguing of material and preservation of old newspapers. It also would mean cuts to the braille staff and other positions, including the lone children’s librarian, at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle.

If these proposed cuts become reality, they could also jeopardize federal grant funding for several programs that benefit local libraries throughout Washington. (more…)

Wayfinder is way cool…No way!! Way! ?>

Wayfinder is way cool…No way!! Way!

bookwormlaptopThe folks at the State Library are offering a new and very helpful online program called Wayfinder that can let you search for something among millions and millions of items found in many libraries throughout Washington. Wayfinder is an online catalog that provides a single search for locating materials owned by the participating Washington libraries. 

The catalog contains information on the collections of more than 250 public, academic, government, law, medical, corporate, special and tribal libraries throughout the state. Combined, these libraries hold more than 17.8 million items in various formats: books; newspapers, magazines and journals; movies; CDs; DVDs; digital objects such as electronic documents, subscription research databases, or historical items that have been scanned and made available on the Web; books in audio and large-print formats, and much more.

“If you’re a researcher or a student looking for a tough-to-find item, the Wayfinder catalog will be especially useful by helping you pinpoint where you can find it,” said Will Stuivenga, the State Library’s Wayfinder manager.    

(more…)

“Talking books” are going high-tech ?>

“Talking books” are going high-tech

There is exciting news coming out of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in downtown Seattle: WTBBL just received its first shipment of digital talking book machines. These new machines (DBMs) represent a huge transition for WTBBL and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and it marks a major advancement in technology. In fact, WTBBL Program Manager Danielle King said it’s the biggest thing that WTBBL and the NLS have done in 30-35 years.

Mary  Danielle 3As you can guess, it’s a big deal for WTBBL’s many patrons. They are thrilled and cannot wait to get their new digital talking book machines. For years, the WTBBL patrons have had to use cassette tape players to listen to talking books (imagine having to listen to music on cassette tapes or an 8-track player instead of a CD or MP3), so this is a definite step forward. 

Last Friday, Danielle hand-delivered a few of these digital talking book machines to some veterans in the Seattle area. (Federal law mandates that the players first go to veterans.) One of her deliveries was to Mary Tift, a 96-year-old woman who is a huge user of WTBBL’s services. As you can imagine, Mary (pictured with Danielle) was thrilled to receive the digital player.

WTBBL patrons with these new digital players will receive, upon request, a blue plastic case containing a cartridge that is played by the digital player. WTBBL and NLS also have large online collections of audio books that patrons can download from their computer to a flash drive to play on the digital player.

To learn more about WTBBL, go here . WTBBL is part of the Washington State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

Love libraries? Visit our one-stop blog ?>

Love libraries? Visit our one-stop blog

bookwormlaptopThe Washington State Library has merged its five library program blogs into one big blog dedicated to everything libraries: books (of course), tips for librarians, the latest and greatest in library development, technology buzz, news for library users, and more.

We have contributing library staffers from our library branches in state prisons, Library Development and Public Services team, Research and Development crew and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.
It’s a great way to keep up-to-date for librarians, educators and those who just love reading and research.

Get hooked at  http://blogs.secstate.wa.gov/library/

NBC’s ‘Today’: Libraries now more than ever ?>

NBC’s ‘Today’: Libraries now more than ever

bookwormMonths ago, we started tracking how people across Washington are relying on libraries more than ever during this deep recession.  That theme was picked up by NBC’s “Today Show” on Thursday with a segment called “Beyond books: Libraries lend a hand during recession.” The special report says 68 percent of Americans have a library card today, the highest percentage in many years. 

Some of the key points:

  • Some people who lost their job can’t afford to buy a new computer, or if they already own a computer, they can no longer afford to pay for Internet service. In either case, they rely on using library computers to help search for a new job or for other important purposes.
  • Libraries provide free entertainment for kids through story time and other child-focused programs.
  • More people are checking out CDs and DVDs.