WA Secretary of State Blogs

Got CDs?

February 17th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized No Comments »

photo by Eelke de Blouw https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

photo by Eelke de Blouw https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

CDs… do people still use CDs or is all music “consumed” digitally these days?  Across the state, people are cleaning out their CD collections and think that these “dinosaurs” are no longer viable.  But wait… we have an audience in Washington who will gratefully, happily and enthusiastically take those CDs off your hands.  One of the more popular items in WSL’s Institutional libraries, the library branches in our prisons and state hospitals, are the CDs.  The inmates and patients do not have access to streaming music or digital players so CDs are an excellent alternative.  We are always on the lookout for donations of CDs so if you or anyone you know are cleaning out their music please keep the State Library in mind.

Donations may be sent to:

Washington State Library (attention Laura Sherbo)

6880 Capitol Blvd SE

Tumwater, WA 98504

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When the going gets tough, the tough get creative

January 26th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services No Comments »

Kathleen Benoun, long time Library Associate at the Western State Hospital library, had an idea. For over thirty years Kathleen has delivered excellent service to the hospital patients.  ddwIn the past Kathleen used to take the library to the patrons, presenting programs ranging from trivia contests to poetry reading. However over the time that she has worked at the Hospital library, like librarians across the nation, Kathleen has had to learn to do more with less.  As the solo librarian she is no longer able to visit the wards.  So let’s get back to the idea.  In January of 2011 she started writing a monthly library newsletter which the hospital print shop produced and the mail room distributed.  Kathleen reports:

My original goal was to highlight books and films in our collection by themes.  Often, we added new materials that I wanted to advertise immediately.  Thus, the monthly newsletter became a weekly in 2013.   Later, I began to add some historical information about the hospital.  The response has been good.  Staff and patients contact me to request the materials highlighted in the newsletter.

If you’ve ever written a weekly newsletter you know that coming up with an idea every week can be a challenge so here’s where the creative part comes in.  As of January 2015 the Dewey Digest Weekly – “50 states edition” was born.  Each week Kathleen highlights a state pulling together books, films and music that salute the state of the week. There’s a little bit of state background information (what librarian doesn’t want to impart a tidbit of knowledge when they have the chance), followed by books, musical artists and movies associated with that state.  Is it working? ddw2 Kathleen reports that she definitely notices an uptick in requests for materials highlighted in the newsletter.  Kathleen’s newsletters are a fun and visual way of continuing to take the library to the patrons.  Fifty states… well that takes care of 2015.  We can’t wait to see the ingenious idea Kathleen comes up with for next year’s newsletter.

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Why Do We Need a State Library?

December 3rd, 2014 Will Stuivenga Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Library 21 Initiative, News, Public Services, State Library Collections, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library No Comments »

Slice of Advocate headerTo quote a prominent library administrator: “Every library is designed to serve a specific community:

  • Public libraries serve the people of a specific city or county.
  • Academic libraries serve the faculty, staff, and students of a specific college or university.
  • School libraries serve the students and teachers of a specific school.
  • Medical libraries serve doctors, nurses, and patients at a specific hospital.
  • Law libraries serve the attorneys and staff of a specific law firm.

Each library is designed to add value to the specific community that it serves.”

The Washington State Library (WSL) is none of the above. Its broad mission is to collect and preserve materials of value for the entire State of Washington.

This theme is developed in the current issue of the WLFFTA newsletter, the Advocate. WLFFTA stands for Washington Library Friends, Foundations, Trustees & Advocates, and is an interest group of the Washington Library Association.

The current issue of the Advocate focuses on the Washington State Library and some of its key services and programs. It also highlights the precarious budget situation in which the State Library currently finds itself. Read the entire newsletter at http://sos.wa.gov/q/AF2014.


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Joyce Hanna is the 2014 State Library Employee of the Year.

September 30th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services No Comments »

OSOS Staff Appreciation Sept 26 2014 026Joyce retires today after a long tenure with the Washington State Library. She is our branch manager at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, one of our largest institutional library branches.

Joyce was one of the first branch managers to establish a Read Together program. The community reading program became very popular and inmates who regularly attended the programs frequently asked what the next book would be.

Last year Joyce fought, and beat, cancer! While undergoing treatment she kept the Airway Heights Corrections Center open, an indication of her dedication toward library service to prisoners.

Her manager Laura Sherbo summarized Joyce’s leadership role as “leading by example.”

Bob Fendler will step in on an interim appointment to manage the Airway Heights branch.

Congratulations, Joyce. Enjoy your retirement.

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Washington State Library Reduces Service Hours

June 9th, 2014 Rand Simmons Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library No Comments »

From the desk of Rand Simmons Washington State Librarian

Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA

Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA

Based on an OSOS Press Release, 6/9/2014.

In-person service hours at the main Washington State Library in Tumwater will be reduced by four hours a day, effective June 16, as the service-and-research institution grapples with continuing significant budget challenges.

The Library at 6880 Capitol Blvd. in Tumwater traditionally has been open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  But like other states facing budget difficulties, the State Library faces an immediate shortfall that must be addressed through layoffs and fewer direct service hours.

The dedicated fund that finances Library operations now projects a potential shortfall of more than $1 million, due primarily to an unexpected slump in the number of recording fees collected by county auditors. This is on top of a $664,000 budget cut that was required at the beginning of the biennium, following a decade budget and staff reductions.

Beginning June 16, the central Library will be open daily from noon to 5 p.m. for walk-in patrons.  Chat and email help will still be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

“The State Library staff have become more efficient in their operations over the past 10 years, providing the same general level of services while reducing employee count by 42 percent. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, whose office hosts the Library said, “We have reached the point where we must reduce our in-person hours at the central library, at least temporarily, because of additional staff cuts.”

The shorter hours in Tumwater do not affect the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle or the institutional libraries at state hospitals and corrections centers. Grants to local libraries, a central role of the Washington State Library, will be maintained, and the State Library-Microsoft IT Academy will not be affected.

“The decision to reduce service hours is something that pains us very much – librarians are absolutely passionate about serving patrons directly, either in person or online or over the phone,” Wyman said. “That service ethic will not diminish one bit, but the hours we’re open will be fewer, sadly.”

Instead of 45 hours of in-person service each week, it will be 25 hours.

Wyman said the action reflects continuing challenges of sustaining the Library, which is the oldest cultural institution in Washington, dating to 1853, when the first territorial governor, Isaac Stevens, and Congress created it with books shipped around the Horn. The Library was assigned to the Secretary of State by the Legislature about a decade ago, and was formerly a separate agency.

“The State Library has been a core service of government for 160 years, but for some years now, it has been a struggle to survive. In the past decade, state support has dropped by 42 percent and staff levels have shrunk from 158 to 63 today.”

Wyman acknowledged that recent library usage around the country is turning to online access, rather than solely relying on a brick-and-mortar library building.  The State Library is committed to service excellence to all customers, whether online or in-person, and is working to make more of its collections available online, she said.

“We are busy transforming the State Library information services, meeting people where they live,” Wyman said. “As the old saying goes, crisis meets opportunity. We intend to be the model Library of the 21st Century.”

State Librarian Rand Simmons is at 360-570-5585.

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A Library with No Books

March 5th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, State Library Collections, Uncategorized No Comments »

Kathleen Benoun, long time Library Associate at the Western State Hospital Library in Lakewood, WA, is an amateur historian who spends a lot of personal time researching the history of the hospital, and the library itself.  Kathleen recently shared this interesting story about opening day of the library back in 1950.

Can you imagine opening day at a library without a book or librarian in sight?  That’s exactly what happened in 1950 on the grounds of Western State Hospital.  The Tacoma newspaper photograph you see below accompanied a story about the budget crisis of 1949 that diverted monies for the Staff Research and Patient Libraries to other building projects on campus.

Thankfully, the Legislature held a special session to fund both libraries and the Research Institute that occupied other floors of the building.

Washington State Hospital Library 1950

Washington State Hospital Library 1950 (from the Tacoma News Tribune??)












Since then and many budget crises later, the Patient Library has endured to provide leisure, educational, and therapeutic resources for both patients and staff.

Washington State Hospital Library 2014

Washington State Hospital Library 2014

The shelves are no longer empty.  Now the library houses 8574 books and 5610 CD/DVDs in the collection, as well as popular magazines and local newspapers

Beyond the physical resources the library provides, over the years, Kathleen visited every ward in the hospital to present Library programs.  Her goal was to both entertain and encourage the patients to borrow from the collection or use library services such as the listening center where patrons could enjoy radio or music or outreach programs for ward-bound patients and staff. The most popular ward programs were interactive–such as trivia contests and poetry readings.  Kathleen reports, “One month, I visited a ward with older men and women and challenged them to play the board game Chauvinist Pigs.  Its trivia questions were based on gender-specific common knowledge.   We had such a spirited time together, the staff came over to shush us.  First time that ever happened to me, but it wasn’t the last.”

Patients and staff often express their gratitude for the presence of an on-site library to provide a comforting environment within the state psychiatric hospital.  Over the years, both patients and staff have donated materials to supplement the meager library budget.  Patients have also donated poetry and original art.  One patient read so many novels, he told the Library staff he could write his own book, which he did and donated two copies to the Library collection.

The Western State Hospital Library is a unique library which serves a key purpose; a place that responds to the needs of its patrons and provides a welcoming, non-judgmental space to visit. But isn’t that the definition of all good libraries?





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WSL Updates for January 16, 2014

January 16th, 2014 Diane Hutchins Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, Institutional Library Services, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Tribal, Updates No Comments »

Volume 10, January 16, 2014 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







Read the rest of this entry »

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Inmates at Clallam Bay Donate $1,000 to CBCC Library

October 28th, 2013 vmullen Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services, Uncategorized 2 Comments »

Clallam Bay Library

Clallam Bay Library

The CBCC Branch Library was given a check this month in the amount of $1000.00 to spend on any and all kinds of books for the library. The check was donated by the CBIT (Clallam Bay Improvement Team) which is made up of offenders serving life without parole. The money comes from them holding fund raisers, such as pizza sales or baked goods made in the bakery by inmates and purchased by inmates through the whole institution. The bakery is run by Peninsula college and is a certified class. The purpose of the team is to improve life in the institution for all inmates. They are always craving new, up-to-date items that have to do with re-entry, medical, jobs and of course popular fiction authors. Due to the size of our budget at this time the library was grateful for the check and we thank them all.

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WSL Updates Special Edition for September 6, 2013

September 6th, 2013 Diane Hutchins Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, News, Updates No Comments »


Note: The next regular edition of WSL Updates will appear on Thursday, September 12, 2013.



The Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Library, is recruiting for three permanent full-time Branch Library Associates. One position is available at each of the following locations:

  • Washington State Reformatory in Monroe;
  • Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell;
  • Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

All applications are to be submitted through the Careers website at www.Careers.wa.gov. For additional information, review the job posting at www.sos.wa.gov/office/employment.aspx. Please share this announcement with anyone who may be interested.


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An archive of WSL Updates is available at http://list.statelib.wa.gov/read/?forum=wslupdates.


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McDonald’s Book Exchange Comes Through in Our Time of Need

August 5th, 2013 Jill Merritt Posted in Institutional Library Services No Comments »

This is a long overdue post about the wonderful staff of McDonald’s Book Exchange in Redmond.  As our budgets have been cut over the last several years we have looked for alternative sources of material and the staff at McDonald’s Book Exchange have really come through with 1000’s of books donated to the Institutional Libraries.  These books have ranged from bestsellers to old favorites, fiction and nonfiction filling many empty spaces on our shelves.  I want to personally thank them for all their hard work and the wonderful books they have donated to our patrons.
16210 NE 80th St
Redmond, WA 98052
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