WA Secretary of State Blogs

Stafford Creek’s Favorite Author, Garth Stein, Visits Yet Again!

May 22nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized No Comments »

From the desk of Karen S. Diehm, Secretary Senior, Stafford Creek Corrections Center

Write fat, edit lean – Garth Stein


SCCC’s Library crew with Garth Stein (L-R): Clerks Harold E., Jacob M., and Nate H., stand with Stein, Program Manager Laura Sherbo, and SCCC Librarian Jeannie Remillard stand to the right.

On Friday, May 8th, 2015 Garth Stein made his 3rd visit to Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC) . We think he’s beginning to like it here!

We originally invited Garth to SCCC due to his novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is narrated by a dog. This beautiful book has over 4 million copies in print and was on the New York Times bestselling novel list for 3 years! Garth graciously accepted our invitation, met with the Freedom Tails handlers and dogs, and proceeded to discuss the book with program volunteers. With some cajoling from the handlers, Garth agreed to come back for a book read which involved the general population and was an overwhelming success.

Recently, when we contacted Garth, he was happy to visit SCCC for another book read. Not only that, but he donated all the books! This time, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets was introduced to the SCCC’s general population. The theme of this novel is based around a man who has found out, long after the fact, that he has a 14 year old son. There are many offenders who have been in, or are in, this situation, so it made for a great novel of choice. garth stein

While discussing the book, many other questions came to light – especially on the art of writing itself. Stein informed his audience that the first and foremost rule of writing is: “There is no rule”. Questions abounded from the offenders ranging from dialog tagging, point of view, the voice, and the process. One by one, Garth answered all questions – and of course more questions ensued. One point Stein stressed to the offenders was: “The easiest thing to do in the world is to not write. The hardest thing to do is write – and, it’s easy to find excuses not to write.”

Among the questions asked, many offenders wanted to know how to deal with editing your work. Garth explained that is was necessary to get people you trusted and who would give you honest feedback, but to keep in mind that “other people can tell you where you went wrong, but they can’t fix it. Only the writer can fix it.”

scccAs usual, Stein’s visit was an overwhelming success. Everyone at SCCC truly appreciated him taking the time to come share his talent and knowledge, and we look forward to him coming for another book read in the future!

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Can you proofread in Cyrillic? Will Stuivenga can!

May 19th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

The Anytime Library in Russian

The Anytime Library in Russian

Part of Will’s job involves managing the Washington Anytime Library, a collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks shared by 43 of the smaller libraries throughout the state. Recently they added a Russian language interface to the digital library. Now patrons can choose to have the Anytime Library menus and instructions appear in English, Spanish, Chinese, or Russian. The books are still in English (for the most part), but the interface that helps you find them can be displayed in these other languages for the convenience of patrons who are more comfortable using them.

Checking out the new Russian language interface, Will noticed that the language interface selection box options were capitalized for English and Spanish (don’t ask him about the Chinese!), but not for the Russian, which uses the Cyrillic script. Uncertain if Cyrillic uses the same capitalization conventions as the Roman script used for English and Spanish, Will took a look at the rest of the Russian interface, and sure enough, he saw that the first character of most words was larger than those used for the rest of the word, but perhaps there was some exception to the rule for the word “Russian” itself when displayed in Cyrillic?

So he wrote back to the vendor rep and asked, who promised to check with the translation team. By the next day, the interface had been updated to show the word “Russian” in Cyrillic with the first character capitalized. So yes, Will can proof-read (albeit to a VERY limited extent) even for Russian Cyrillic!

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It’s that time! WSL Statewide Database Licensing Project – ProQuest Renewal.

May 7th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Literacy, For Libraries No Comments »

Digital Graphics by Steve Johnson Flickr Creative Commons http://bit.ly/1csa93x

Digital Graphics by Steve Johnson Flickr Creative Commons http://bit.ly/1csa93x

The WSL Statewide Database Licensing (SDL) Project announces the 2015-2016 ProQuest renewal for all participating Washington libraries. Barring significant cancellations, pricing is not expected to change appreciably for the upcoming year. This contract is open to all non-profit LSTA-eligible libraries in Washington State.

For public, academic, and special libraries, the renewal is automatic. Invoicing from ProQuest will occur in June or July. If a public, academic, or special library wishes to cancel its ProQuest subscription through the statewide contract, please fill out, sign, and return a Cancellation form by or before May 27. For school libraries, renewal (or cancellation) is through your local ESD (Educational Service District).

The invoice period is July 1 through June 30, annually. Individual library costs can vary slightly from year to year, depending on whether libraries drop out, or new libraries join during the previous year. Exact costs will be calculated early in June, and sent to ProQuest for invoicing. If your library needs to be invoiced prior to June 30, please contact us so that we can request expedited invoicing for you.

Note: This is the final renewal that is available under the current contract with ProQuest. The SDL Advisory Committee is currently considering recommendations for the future of the project, based on the recently completed SDL Needs Assessment. Please feel free to submit your thoughts or suggestions to any member of the SDL Advisory Committee, or to Will Stuivenga, the project manager.

More information, including the Cancellation and Intent to Participate forms, can be found on the ProQuest SDL Renewal page. Questions? Contact Will Stuivenga, 360.704.5217 or toll free 866.538.4996.

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10,000 Legos = 18 Pounds of Pure Fun!

May 1st, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »


The State Library’s Lego kit which is traveling around Washington state was last sighted in Davenport where the library hosted a “Block Party”.  A Block party?  Well Lego blocks of course.  Librarian Katy Pike sent us a report and some great pictures so we thought we would share. In this small town of 1,682 the library program was attended by 10 kids, 6 adults and 2 teenagers – quite a turn out. The first 30 minutes focused on structural building and designs. During this time kids were encouraged to use any building materials that were available to make tall structures. The majority of the building materials came from a STEM kit that the State Library purchased in 2011 They explored what makes some structures more stable and compared the various types of materials used for building.  After all the building came… The un-building.  Katy reports that they had as much fun demolishing their structures as they did building them. Well yeah, isn’t the purpose of building a block tower to have the joy of knocking it down!

lego3Next came the Lego Challenge.  Kids drew a random challenge card and had to build what was suggested on the card. Among these creations: houses, space ships, skate parks, a flower, and a pirate ship. The last hour was spent free building or designing your own mini figure. Later programming included stop animation with the free Lego Movie Maker App, Blindfold Block Building, “Around the Block” Poetry, and other activities. One look at the pictures and it’s very clear that these kids had a grand time playing with the Legos; so much fun they probably were unaware of all the great learning going on.


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Statewide Database Licensing Needs Assessment Results Released

April 28th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources No Comments »

Image courtesy of K. L. - http://bit.ly/1HO1tQa -Flickr Creative Commons 2

Image courtesy of K. L. – http://bit.ly/1HO1tQa -Flickr Creative Commons 2

The WSL Statewide Database Licensing (SDL) project announces the release of the results of the recent needs assessment. The consulting firm’s executive summary and recommendations, as well as the full 28-page report are available for download and reading at sos.wa.gov/q/SDL_Needs.

The data collection included two surveys, one for library staff, and one for library users as well as interviews with library staff. The library audience for both surveys included all types of libraries that participate in SDL: public, private academic, and community and technical colleges, hospital and research libraries, and K-12 schools, both public and private.

A goal of the assessment was to determine if the current ProQuest package of databases continues to meet the needs of participating Washington libraries, their staff, and the citizens of the state. Fully 85% of library staff respondents showed their preference for having the SDL project continue doing what it has been, but at the same time, a majority also indicated their desire for more choices and flexibility in the resources offered by the project, although the percentage of those making that their top choice has declined since 2010 when a similar survey was conducted.

Making sense of the results, and writing recommendations based on them is the current task of the SDL Advisory Committee and project manager, Will Stuivenga. Comments and suggestions are solicited and encouraged.

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Great news for Washington Digital Newspapers!

April 22nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized No Comments »


The Washington State Library has been awarded a Veridian Newspaper Conversion Grant to process and present up to 10,000 newspaper images from our Historic Newspapers Collection.  In March we competed against other national and international academic, public and special libraries with digital collections for the opportunity to have the Veridian software company convert our metadata and cloud-host a full-text searchable collection for two years.

We will have new features to explore, such as advanced search techniques, improved search results, comment opportunities and personal search lists! By converting our keyword, subject-based collection of historic newspapers to METS/ALTO metadata standards, a standard approved by Library of Congress for newspapers in their Chronicling America program, this grant will enable us to capture the text from news articles in a form that allows researchers to use advanced search techniques such as proximity search, exact phrases and date ranges to find their favorite topics. It also encourages users to help improve search results with crowd-sourced correction features when poor Optical Character Recognition (OCR) resultKeepLightBurning_Stars occur from smudged or blurry originals.

 The Washington Digital Newspapers program has the largest collection of Washington state and territorial newspapers in the world, but we are still quite shy of having as extensive a digital collection as we have on microfilm. There are also plenty of community newspapers ready to be digitized across the state. This grant will help us compare the best online software features available for newspapers and we will use this experience to determine the future growth of our online newspapers collection for the residents and researchers of Washington.

Progress for Digital Newspapers!!


DL Consulting provides Veridian Software

Here are some examples of their work:

Newspaper collections from our NDNP partners

Library of Virginia

California Digital Newspaper Collection

Non-newspaper collections

Princeton University




From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer- Washington Digital Newspapers Coordinator

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New Digital Collection: Colville National Forest

April 15th, 2015 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding No Comments »

The Washington Rural Heritage project recently went live with a new digital collection from the northeast corner of our state. The Colville National Forest Collection provides access to a sampling of the archival photos, maps, and documents held by the Heritage Department at Colville National Forest Headquarters in Stevens County.

Of particular note are the photos of fire lookouts that once dotted the mountaintops of the Kettle River and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. These photos have been geo-referenced and placed on a “Story Map” so that users can fly from peak to peak, getting a glimpse of the varied lookout tower styles  as well as truly stunning panoramic photographs taken from the lookouts themselves—once important tools to the fire spotters that occupied the lookouts. Because most of these photos were produced by the U.S. Federal Government, they are in the public domain.

The collection represents a collaborative digitization project undertaken in 2014-2015 by the Colville National Forest and Libraries of Stevens County. According to Colville National Forest spokesman, Franklin Pemberton, “We love the idea of people having access to [the documents] – for research or for student projects. They capture the heritage of Northeast Washington before photos were widely available to average citizens.”

The Washington Rural Heritage project serves public and tribal libraries throughout Washington, as well as partnering organizations such as museums, local government, and schools. Headquartered at the Washington State Library (Office of the Secretary of State), the project is supported with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project’s 2015-2016 digitization grant cycle is currently accepting applications from eligible insitutions. To find out how your organization can participate in this statewide digitization initiative, please contact Digital Repository Librarian Evan Robb at evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.


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Washington Congressional Senators and Representatives sign off on legislation crucial to Washington.

April 8th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized No Comments »

From the desk of Rand Simmons

Rand0714Two pieces of legislation important to the people of Washington are working their way through Congress. Optimum support requires members of both the House and the Senate and from both parties sign on to “Dear Appropriators” letters.

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is administered by the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. The Senate letter notes that “LSTA is the only federal program that helps public libraries meet community needs, provide enhanced services through technology, reach underserved populations, and retain librarians while recruiting new entrants to this important field. Robust federal support for the state formula program and competitive grant provided by LSTA is more essential now than ever.”

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) chair the Senate committee to obtain maximum allowable funding for the Act. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) signed the letter. State Librarian Rand Simmons had urged her to do so. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA 2nd) signed the House letter. Currently the State Library receives about $3.3 million annually in LSTA funding and all types of libraries in Washington are eligible to receive funding and services.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) is a grant program under the Fund for the Improvement of education. The Senate letter states, “IAL provides competitive awards to school libraries and national not-for-profit organizations, including partnerships that reach families outside of local educational agencies, for providing books and childhood literacy activities to children and families in high need communities. The program also supports parental engagement and focuses on promoting student literacy from birth through high school.” Senators Blunt and Murray are also leading the quest for this funding.

Signers in the House include Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA 10th), Jim McDermott (D-WA 7th) and Adam Smith (D-WA 9th).

  • Learn more about how the Washington State Library administers the Library Services and Technology Act at the Library’s web site.
  • Information for this article came from the American Library Association’s Advocacy Works: Broad number of legislators back library funding. Links to Senate and House letters are provided.
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On the Eve of Prohibition…

April 6th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection No Comments »

From the desk of Steve Willis, former Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

After the voters of Washington State had approved a state-wide prohibition of alcohol in 1914, the clock started ticking for drinkers. The last legal drinks could be consumed on December 31, 1915. By that time, the town of Starbuck was the last town left in a two-county area that was still “wet.” The following article found at random in the January 8, 1916 issue of the Starbuck Standard describes the town’s transition into a Brave New World:

Starbucks standard

‘Mid Shrieks of Many Whistles Starbuck Sees a New Epoch

Starbuck, for the past five years the only wet town in either Columbia or Garfield counties is dry and for the first Saturday in over 25 years, liquid refreshments were not dispensed on New Years’ day.

 Many had anticipated an unprecedented New Year eve for the old town, and but for a shortage of malt, vinous and spiritous liquors, this might have been fully realized. At any rate there was “something doing” from early in the day Friday until the numerous engines in the yards proclaimed the dawn of nineteen hundred sixteen. mid shrieks

 The Star Hotel bar, owned by J.S. Fuller, for 20 years in business in Starbuck, was the first to run out of goods and closed its doors at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The Columbia Bar, J.R. Hill proprietor, held on until 8 in the evening when a shortage of goods compelled the closing of the doors. The Starbuck saloon, Mike Ray proprietor, seemed better supplied with stock and remained open until midnight, although during closing hours only whiskey was on sale. Mr. Ray has been in business here for nearly 15 years.

 Saturday apparently was a blue day for many, and a quiet one for the town. Many of the imbibers, however, had laid in a supply of refreshments and this helped in making the world look a little brighter, for the moment at least. The stores were open during the forenoon, but in the afternoon the town took on a graveyard appearance.

 The Star Hotel bar will be transferred into a pool and billiard room, where cigars, tobaccos and soft drinks will be sold, and will be open for business in about another week. It is probable that the Columbia bar will be utilized to a similar purpose, but as yet nothing definite has been announced. No announcements have been made regarding the old Starbuck bar, and it is reported that the building will not be placed in use for the present.

 James S. Fuller (1860-1933) remained in Starbuck, running a “cigar store” until ca. 1923, when he moved to the Spokane area. Fuller died right before Prohibition was brought to an end. Toronto-born Mike Ray (1869-1943) also stayed in Starbuck for many years and worked as an employee of the railroad. James R. Hill (born ca. 1882) returned to his native Michigan and worked in auto mechanics and construction.

Originally a railroad junction, the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company was a major economic concern in Starbuck in the early 20th century.

The Railway Carmen’s Journal, a labor union organ, mentioned all three of the above gentlemen in the April 1912 issue. Apparently there are a few inside jokes in this song:


(Air, Casey Jones)


Dedicated to the Strikebreakers of Starbuck, Washington.


Come all you scalies, if you want to hear

The story of the strikers here.

Recognition is the strikers’ aim,

On the Harriman lines she will win her fame.


Caller called the scalies at half past four

To calk the flues and look her o’er;

‘Twas the old switch engine, No. 24;

They found “Bad-Eye” York in the fire box door.


J.F. Killeen to the scalies said:

“Get Kid Yorke out or he will soon be dead.”

Then he gave them all the big glad hand,

Said, “I’ll write you transportation to the promised land.”


He weighed 200 pounds when he started the stunt.

Put on the overalls and cached his white front.

With Farry you can tarry just as long as you please,

In the bull pen with scalies, your crumbs, and your fleas.


Old Jim Fuller is a big fat slob,

With scab loving Beck he is onto his job,

Catering to the scalies and picking up the change,

Having no respect for his son’s good name.


Mike Ray stands in front of his bar,

Drinking with scalies, puffing a scab cigar;

Here’s where you can get your drinks and your smokes,

For this bunch of union men are nothing but jokes.


Mr. J.R. Hill is surely our pard,

Having due respect for a union card.

When a scalie approaches him for a drink,

He points to his card and says, I don’t think.



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Our Prison Libraries help inmates to re-enter society

March 31st, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services 1 Comment »

8702897202_7ca303552d_z On February 24, 2015 Library Associate Jean Baker participated in a “Help and Program Fair” at The Washington State Penitentiary.   This is an annual event with the intent of reinforcing positive changes in the prison environment and is held in response to the establishment of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy.   The purpose of this event is to present all of the programs available to inmates and to help them choose different and more productive paths while serving their sentences.   This year about forty inmates attended the Fair.  Facility officials gave opening remarks and the various guests and programs were introduced.    Those included education classes in basic skills, life skills, bookkeeping, and trade education.  Other programs centered on helping inmates establish a pathway for success included Redemption, Inside Dads, Toastmasters, Dog Training, and the Sustainable Practices Lab.  After introductions the inmates were free to visit the presenter tables to ask questions and get printed information.

Representing the library, Jean attended this program and presented information about how the inmates can utilize the library’s resources.   Prison libraries provide access for inmates to books, magazines and newspapers, a service that is highly appreciated by the inmates.    The goal of the librarians is to help inmates find  resources to help their re-entry into society.   The library maintains an extensive collection of re-entry materials on Housing, Education, Health and Benefits, Veterans issues, and Directories.   The Prison Libraries consider this an essential service, to provide inmates with learning options and information to assist them with transitioning to their lives outside the institution.

In our recent “Essential Needs Survey” the staff and the inmates of our prison libraries were very vocal in their support for their libraries here are a few comments we received:

 “The State Library is essential for prison safety.  Offenders who spend time reading are less likely to be behavioral problems.  The need for services for our disabled prisoners is essential as are the resources needed to for offenders to engage in self-help through literature.”

“Many young women have never been in an environment safe enough to read openly about anything they wish with no condemnation or ridicule. This alone should justify our library.”

“I am an inmate at a Washington correction center and the library has always been my favorite place to spend time looking up information on ancient civilizations, and as an inmate it provides a very special distraction for the inmate. I believe in libraries so strong I work in the library. It also provides a calming effect to those who seek a quiet place to study.”

“I’d like it to be known that I’ve acquired an AA degree, 52 credits from Peninsula College and several credits from Centralia College – all while incarcerated. However, I’ve learned more from the books I get in the library (often ILL as well) that all of my college education combined.”

“I am a patron in correctional facility and I can personally say without the library we would not be able to improve ourselves. We have access to countless educational tools to improve ourselves and become upstanding community members. They also help reduce the violence because many people use the library to be better people.”

Clearly our Prison Libraries are highly prized by both the staff and the inmates they serve.






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