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Washington State Library promotes technology

March 20th, 2015 Rand Simmons Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized No Comments »

Picture4The good ol’ card catalog. How we miss it?

The card catalog was a dominant technology for several centuries harkening back to the French Revolution when after raiding religious houses of their books and manuscripts the revolutionaries established a system of public libraries and the French Cataloging Code of 1791. The bibliographic information for each book was recorded on the blank back of playing cards, hence the card in card catalog.

In the 1960s with the development of machine readable automated cataloging – the MARC record – and the rise of OCLC, a bibliographic utility that stores library information electronically, libraries abandoned their card catalogs seduced by computer catalogs otherwise known as online public access catalogs.

Along came Bill and Melinda Gates and Bill Gates, Sr. with their vision of placing PC’s in every public library in the United States. Thus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries program was born around 1997.

At that time only about 25% of public libraries offered access for the public to the Internet.

The nation’s state libraries partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by 2004 the Foundation had invested $240 million in placing computers in libraries and had connected 99 percent of U.S. public libraries to the Internet.

However, as wonderful and as crucial as the U.S. Libraries Program was, it was just the beginning of libraries adapting new technologies.

Over a period of time, roughly 1998 to 2014, the Washington State Library through its administration of federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds invested $4.2 million in technology-related grants to libraries.

These grants have helped bring connectivity to libraries; have provided laptop and tablet training labs; and we helped libraries dip their toes into the pool of digital imaging.

Later we taught local libraries how to digitize their historical treasures, how to make the images find-able through metadata, and hosted these digital collections for libraries who retained the originals.

In the early 2000s the State Library helped create a “virtual reference network.” The concept was to create a network of participating libraries across the state that would, by collaborating with and linking to a national network, share responsibility for providing customers with information 24/7/365 – that is, to anyone, anywhere they might be, and at any time. Customers are served even when the library is not open. That program lives on as Ask-WA.

Perhaps the most ambitious project we have undertaken was joining a loose-knit collaborative of anchor institutions (schools, hospitals and libraries), non-profits, state and local government agencies and others to apply for Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grants. Two successful applications, one in summer 2009 and the other in Spring 2010 netted $138 million awarded to the Northwest Open Access Network to bring higher bandwidth connectivity to rural Washington communities. When in the second round application the federal government added a matching fund requirement to the application our friends the Gates Foundation stepped up and provided the match for several state libraries including Washington.

We have also provided professional development grants to individuals to take technology courses and have provided technology-related training.

Lately we have engaged in the provision of free online technology training by partnering with Microsoft. With funding from the Washington legislature and large discounts from Microsoft the Washington State Library is able to offer the Microsoft IT Academy free to any resident of Washington through public, two-year, and tribal libraries. Schools also offer the Academy and it is administered by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

We are taking the Academy to a deeper level by pairing with Workforce Development and supporting training among the tribes using the Academy to address digital literacy needs on the reservations.

So while the card catalog remains an object of fond memories, one which many of us lovingly display in our homes, if we were lucky enough to snag one, I doubt any of us would go back.

Technology will change libraries. The Washington State Library, as a change agent, is committed to lead the charge.

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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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Clippings – February 13, 2015

February 11th, 2015 Staci Phillips Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Uncategorized, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of February 13, 2015

Library News

At the Upper Skagit Library
This article provides information to the community about Upper Skagit Library activities. The library thanks the community for contributing to the Winter Food and Book Drive. One-on-One tutoring is being offered on the first and third Fridays of each month. The tutoring focuses on basic computer skills, resumes, cover letters, and job applications. Call the library (360-853-7939) to schedule an appointment. The library has new hours: Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Upper Skagit Library Board meetings have been rescheduled to the second Thursday of each month in 2015. (Concrete Herald, Concrete, 1/–/15)
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WLA Library Legislative Day -January 30, 2015

February 2nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized No Comments »

Library staff, trustee and friends from all points in Washington State gathered in Olympia for the Washington Library Association’s Library Legislative Day. Library Legislative Day

Following a morning briefing these library advocates swarmed the Capitol campus to make their legislators aware of issues that affect Washington libraries.

Among the issues discussed was the Washington State Library’s budget crisis. Many legislators are probably unaware that the State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State is in crisis.

State Librarian Rand Simmons said, “The Washington State Library is facing a $2.4 million shortfall in its budget. The legislature must provide a backfill during this session or the State Library will lose its ability to serve the people of Washington beginning July 1, 2015. Washington libraries depend on federal funding to serve their local communities. Currently $1.8 million in state dollars results in $3.3 million federal dollars. These funds help bring reading to the blind and others who cannot read traditional print material, provide library service to those in institutions and enhance Washington communities statewide. Without state funding for libraries we will lose federal dollars.

kim color small

Secretary of State Kim Wyman spoke to the group about the partnership of the State Library with the libraries of Washington State.  She stressed that the State library touches everyone in the room through opportunities provided by LSTA funds. She explained that she is working diligently to address the situation, visiting legislators and newspaper editorial boards, but she also urged the crowd to speak to their legislator about the State Library and how it impacts their community in a very tangible way.  “They are used to hearing from us, they need to hear it from you, their constituents.” Just how does the State Library serve the people of Washington?  We talked to several of the librarians at the gathering and got a wide range of answers, answers that reflect the wide range of services that are offered by the State Library.  Here are just a few of the comments we “collected”

Tony Wilson – Retired librarian from Highline Community College.

The State Library are national leaders in library database licensing, as well as leaders in reference.  When I needed a map of where forest fires were happening I couldn’t find one anywhere (and I’m a librarian!)  Then I turned to the State Library.  I had the map in minutes.

 Chris Skaugset – Director of the Long view Public Library.

The State Library allows us to do things we simply couldn’t do on our own.Without the State Library we wouldn’t be able to offer the wide variety of digital resources, databases and ebooks that we have available to our patrons.  We also recently received a grant from the State Library that allows us to offer technology training to our community. 

 Mary Thornton – Director of the Hoquiam branch of the Timberland Regional Library.

The digital resources and archives provided by the State Library are the first place we send our Genealogy patrons.  The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society in particular go right to the State Library’s website.

 Devin McCosh – Library Associate from the Olympia Timberland Regional Library

Devin really appreciates the professional development opportunities made available by the State Library.  He mentioned attending online “First Tuesdays” webinars and the fact that the State Library provides Professional Development Grants  to Timberland staff allowing them to keep on top of the profession.

 Donna Schuman – Computer Services Department at Timberland Regional Library

Donna mentioned the Database Licensing that the State Library coordinates, allowing group pricing so that all Washington state libraries are able to provide access at a reasonable cost to the library.  She says the State Library makes a tremendous difference both  in her work and for her professionally. 

How does the State Library impact you or help you get your work done?  How do the services offered by the State Library impact your community?  We’d love to hear your story.

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Clippings December 12, 2014

December 15th, 2014 Staci Phillips Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »


Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library Clippings for the week of December 12, 2014

Library News

First Wind supports local libraries
Miguel Rosales, First Wind’s Western Region Operations Manager who is based in Temecula, Calif., stopped in Rosalia to present a check supporting the Rosalia and Oakesdale branch libraries. In its second year of funding, First Wind supports Rosalia’s Saturday hours and 24 community programs each year at the Oakesdale library. (Whitman County Gazette, Colfax, 10/30/14)

At the Upper Skagit Library
The Washington State Library Now app is available for free download on your mobile devices. The app allows you to search the nearest libraries, access your library account, search the catalog, request holds, and connect to Facebook and library Web sites. Plus, access your OverDrive account through this app and download e-Books. (Concrete Herald, Concrete, 11/–/14)
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Clippings – December 5, 2014

December 5th, 2014 Staci Phillips Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »


Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library News

Libraries partner with Thrive by Five, focus on early learning
The Libraries of Stevens County has partnered with Thrive By Five Washington, the Washington State Department of Early Learning and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Thrive By Five Washington has created a program called Love.Talk.Play, to help provide early education information and encourage positive connections between young children and their parents/caregivers. (The Independent, Chewelah, 10/23/14)

Carlson new library board member
Sonja Carlson has been appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to the Spokane County Library District’s board of trustees. Carlson will fill the remainder of a term due to the resignation of Daniel Davis, whose term expires Dec. 31. (Valley News Herald, Spokane, 10/24/14)

Grandview Library marks its centennial in 2014
In 2014, Grandview Library celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding, which took place April 12, 1914, the date of the first meeting of the Library Board of Trustees. That birth date was commemorated April 15, with a party in the main area of the library, hosted by the Grandview Friends of the Library. That was the first of a number of other activities. (Grandview Herald, Grandview, 10/29/14)
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WSL Updates for December 4, 2014

December 3rd, 2014 Shirley Lewis Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Volume 10, December 4, 2014 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







—————————————————————————————————————  Read the rest of this entry »

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Clippings – November 21, 2014

November 25th, 2014 Staci Phillips Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Uncategorized, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library News

PA council eyes bridge measures (Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, 10/19/14).

Library levy lift would help maintain services, meet requests (The Independent, Chewelah, 10/16/14).

Planning for new $7M library underway (Central Kitsap Reporter, Silverdale, 10/17/14).

Library grant to fund science, technology lab (Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon, 10/19/14).

Book Corner: County library programs promote food awareness (Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon, 10/26/14).

Uniontown Library aims for new space. The Uniontown Library may be three times as big by this time next year if plans by Whitman County Library staff and volunteers come to fruition. The Uniontown branch is now housed in a 10 x 14 foot room at city hall. A new proposal would move the library into a current fire department garage next door. (Whitman County Gazette, Colfax, 10/16/14).
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November 20th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, Uncategorized No Comments »

The jumblies and other nonsense verses" (1910) http://bit.ly/1pNxtrZ

The jumblies and other nonsense verses” (1910)

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

Edward Lear’s classic nonsense poem The Owl and Pussycat has such a charming conclusion:

 And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

 Well, er, that’s not exactly how this piece of Random News ends. It is an article that will mortify birders and make us cat lovers shake our heads sadly but knowingly. Our precious purring little pointy eared felines

dance at the thrill of the kill,

the kill,

the kill,

They dance at the thrill of the kill.

 But I am giving away the ending. owl newspaper

This installment of Random News comes from The Yakima Daily Republic, Jan. 15, 1910:


 What Is believed to Be an Elf Owl Has Wandered Far from its Native Haunts.

 Fowl Found Only in the Far South Is Taken on Nob Hill by J.B. Dougherty.

 What is believed to be an elf owl which naturalists say is seldom found further north than the border line of the United States, it rarely coming into California, has been captured in the Yakima valley. It was taken by J.B. Dougherty of Nob Hill Wednesday. The little bird offered no resistance, it appeared stunned by the cold weather.

 The little owl sat on the fence in front of Mr. Dougherty’s residence. As he approached the small fowl it showed no signs of fright and allowed its captor to put his hand around it without apparently the least alarm.

 Killed by the Cat.

 Mr. Dougherty released the little bird in the hope that it would fly away. It fell, however, a prey to the ever watchful eye of the house cat and was brought onto the porch of the house dead. The unusual appearance of the little bird aroused Mr. Dougherty’s curiosity and he took it to Taxidermist Harmer that he might ascertain the species.

 The body of the bird is scarcely larger than that of a canary, although its feathers, projecting almost at right angles from its body, gives it the appearance of being much larger. On the scales it tips the beam at less than two ounces.

 Mr. Harmer searched Dawson & Bowles’ Birds of Washington and was unable to find a description answering to this fowl. He went to the Color Key to North American Birds, a book known to the taxidermist as the bird dictionary. It is published by Frank M. Chapman and Chester A. Reed. There he found the elf owl, the description of which in every way answers to this unusual species.

 The book says that the range of the bird is on the tablelands of Mexico, from Pueblo north to the Mexican border of the United States and in lower California, rarely in California.

The birds of Washington : a complete, scientific and popular account of the 372 species of birds found in the state" (1909)  http://bit.ly/1uYfqGp

The birds of Washington : a complete, scientific and popular account of the 372 species of birds found in the state” (1909) http://bit.ly/1uYfqGp


 Its Colorings.

Its appearance is like that of any other owl except that it is very small. On the back it is a grayish brown, the head is spotted and the back is barred with rust. The under parts are irregularly spotted with an ashy gray.

The bird dictionary says the elf owl utters a tremulous “cha-cha” in different keys, sometimes low and distinct. There is no other description given than that already referred to.

 How this little species should have wandered so far from its native haunts is a wonder to all those who have seen it. Naturalists who have seen the little owl are even at a loss to give a theory as to how it ever became so far separated from its habitat.

 The bird will be mounted on the profile of a half moon.

 A modern work in the WSL collection, Elf owl : Micrathene whitneyi / Susanna G. Henry and Frederick R. Gehlbach (1999) confirms that the 1910 Yakima Elf Owl was indeed about 1000 miles outside its range. It is possible what Dougherty captured was in fact a Northern Pygmy Owl, which would be totally in range. However, the Pygmy Owl is included in Dawson and Bowles’ work and Harmer didn’t think his specimen in hand matched the description.

A viewing of that stuffed and mounted little owl would settle the issue, but the artifact has slipped away. Alfred Sterling Harmer, the taxidermist, had a variety of occupations. He was born in Ontario in 1879, became a United States citizen in 1901, and served overseas in the US Army during World War I. Harmer moved to Western Washington where he worked as an employee for Puget Power for 20 years. He died in Seattle, Nov. 12, 1951.

As for the fate of the feline, I guess the whole episode left a fowl taste in its mouth.elf owl

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Library Clippings November 14, 2014

November 17th, 2014 Staci Phillips Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, News, Uncategorized, Updates No Comments »

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Image courtesy North Pend Oreille Heritage collection

Library News

Olympia Library a hot spot for crime calls to police (The Olympian, Olympia, 09/28/14).

Book bonanza: Chinook Pass Lending Library takes delivery of $12,000 in donated volumes (Yakima Herald-Republic, Yakima, 10/01/14).

Woman charged with setting fire to books in Tacoma library
(The New Tribune, Tacoma, 10/21/14).

Books burned at main library, forcing it to close (The News Tribune, Tacoma, 10/19/14).

Friends’ projects bolster library programs (Liberty Lake Splash, Liberty Lake, 09/29/14).

Heywood provides commissioners with libraries’ strategic plan.
At last Tuesday’s (Sept. 23) Pacific County Commissioner’s meeting, Cheryl Heywood spoke on behalf of the Timberland Regional Library to report the new “strategic plan” for the upcoming year, including new resources, services, and programs the Timberland Libraries has to offer. (Willapa Harbor Herald, Raymond, 10/01/14).
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