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Washington State Library, Head Coach

"Go Hawks" @ the Washington State Library

“Go Hawks” @ the Washington State Library

As today is Seahawk blue Friday my mind as I drove south to my job at the Washington State Library was skittering between thinking about the Seahawks and thinking about the Washington State Library (WSL).  Then it occurred to me:

The State Library is like the head coach of a football team. Just as a good coach would, WSL thinks about winning the game—and winning the game is getting the best library services for everyone in the state by serving ALL the libraries in the State.

WSL takes on different roles at different time depending on the needs of the team (citizens of the state)

Sometimes WSL leads

  • IT Academy
  • Library Now (Boopsie app)

Sometimes WSL coaches and mentors other

  • Gadget menageries (staff training), ARSL scholarships, First Tuesdays
  • Central Skagit Rural library district advice on getting organized
  • Trustee wiki
  • Washington Rural heritage (teaches local libraries and historical institutions digitization and cataloguing skills for the presentation

Sometimes the coach runs onto the field and gets right into the games

  • Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, institutional libraries found in hospitals and prison
  • Genealogical resources focused on the Pacific Northwest,
  • Best collection of historical newspapers collection which are a great boon for researcher and students need access to primary sources for  common core requirements.
  • Providing access  through indexing to primary sources needed by businesses (weather data, historical statisitics, population)

A good coach makes certain that everyone has a “level playing field” which WSL does by providing group contracts

  • Statewide database licensing
  • Washington Anytime library
  • Ask-WA

When other teams want to have a statewide “impact”, they need to  “go through”  the Washington State Library: WSL coordinates and collaborates with the Gates Foundation, NoaNet, the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the Department of Early Learning,  the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and  Employment Security among others.

Then just like any good coach WSL cheers when its players do well by using the skills and resources they have been taught.

Here’s a story from one of Washington State’s small public library: the independent municipal library at Sprague

Dear Carolyn,

I’d like to share a story with you about one of my summer reading programs (Editor’s note: Washington State Library supports this). I had a 12 year old boy in my teen program. He is in special education for all of his classes. I encouraged his mom to let him be part of the teen program. I told her to keep track of what he read. I said she could also read to him and that it would count.

He came to our program mostly to check out books and turn in his reading list. He seemed to be wary of interacting with the other teens. At the end of our program we have a pizza party and give out awards. This boy won the top prize for reading the most books and he was very proud.

My daughter has the boy in her class and when school started she said that he was raising his hand and answering the teachers questions. She went on to say that he never used to talk in class. I received a phone call from his mother and she said that because of our program he has a new sense of confidence. He wasn’t fighting her on homework and he was taking the initiative to work on homework first without asking for help. The mother thanked me profusely.

I give credit for the success of the summer reading program to the extra books that I have received during the interlocal grant, (Editor’s note: WSL grant Connecting Libraries through Resource Sharing) where the libraries rotate their collection every three months. We had the newest, coolest books to offer the kids to read that summer. I have an extremely small budget and our library runs mostly on donations. The new books made the teen program. The kids got very excited about new series that are the ‘must reads’. I wanted to thank the Washington State Library for making these grants available.

Judy’s library may be small, but her impact is mighty!

GO TEAM!!!!!!



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