WA Secretary of State Blogs

Reflections from WSP Library, July 2013

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 2 Comments »


West Complex Library

West Complex Library

My job in the Washington State Library Branch at the Washington State Penitentiary has exposed me to an area of librarianship I never would have thought I was suited for.   When I started at the penitentiary library I was green as they say but over the last five years I’ve learned a lot about how to provide library resources to a unique population of individuals.  The inmates are from many situations in their lives and those who take advantage of coming to the library will tell you some of their situation in words, attitudes, and how they present themselves away from the confines of life in a prison cell.

The younger ones, teenagers some of them, who have only experienced street life or lack of parent involvement come in to see other inmates but also are learning that what they can get from reading a magazine or newspaper, even a book, can help them see another way to go in their life choices.

Older men who come know the value of having something to entertain and motivate them to get out of the cell environment for a while.  They look for novels, westerns, books in history, philosophy, religion.  One inmate has asked for books on mindfulness and awareness of spirituality which he said might help him find meaning to his life.

A lot of patrons thank me in various ways for helping them find a book or providing information from the internet that answers a question or fulfills an interest on a subject they want to know more about.  One request for an explanation of the longitude and latitude of the world found in the encyclopedia was just what he wanted to know.  Another request for speeches by famous people resulted in the inmate confiding that he was spending his time learning to recite the important words written by Americans throughout history.

By far the most surprising encounter I have had is with a small Korean man who comes to find instruction books in learning English.  When I talk to him, he understands a lot, but speaking is hard for him.    But, the best communication we have each time he comes in is silent but effective. If I catch sight of him coming in the door I might acknowledge him with a wave or nod my head.  But every time, he stops, and bows to me.   I suppose that is a common action in his culture on the other side of the world, but to experience it in a small library in Eastern Washington placed in a prison says more than any words of appreciation that could be spoken.

More importantly what I learn and appreciate from talking and helping has opened a new world view to me.

New to NW Collection: Stone Projectile Points Of The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Washington Reads | No Comments »


When you visit the local history museums, do you find yourself wishing you knew more about those mysterious chipped points under the glass? Perhaps you are a collector, but are not entirely sure where or who certain parts of your collection came from. If so, then the State Library has added a new reference that will pique your interest.

Stone Projectile Points Of The Pacific Northwest: An Arrowhead Collector’s Guide To Type Identification. By E. Scott Crawford (Carrollton, Tex.: Black Rock Publishing, ©2010. 130 p.)

This work is the lifelong achievement of the author, an expert collector who began his journey in 1962.  It identifies 62 different arrowhead, dart, and lance points, with full descriptions and illustrations to help you learn more about these historic indigenous hunting tools.  It covers the geographic regions now occupied by the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, with northern portions of California and Nevada, and western portions of Montana and Wyoming.

This book contains an introduction to identifying points and a glossary of terms.  It then proceeds to a discussion of the geographic features and the lithic (stone or rock) resources for each of the four Pacific Northwest regions named in the book.  The chronological and temporal location of the point types are wonderfully illustrated in the following section, and then an entire section is dedicated to describing the manufacture of projectile points. The index of projectile points are organized by general shape, then by primary characteristics.  This is an essential guide to both the hobbyist and the casual collector, and a fascinating read for those curious.

ISBN-10: 1453798471

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 979 CRAWFOR 2010
Available as an eReader edition.
Not available in Braille or Audiobook editions

WSL Updates for September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 Posted in For Libraries, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 7, September 15, 2011 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT WORKSHOPS

2) RETHINKING REFERENCE COLLECTIONS

3) ONLINE NORTHWEST CALLS FOR PROPOSALS

4) SURVEY – PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL NETWORKING

5) FUNDAMENTALS OF PRESERVATION

6) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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Piano anyone?

Friday, August 19th, 2011 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | No Comments »


Working in prison libraries, we spend time answering “kites” from inmates in the locked units.  These kites are usually pretty basic reference questions, but every once in awhile we get one that just make us laugh.  Recently one such request was received at the Washington State Penitentiary, from an inmate in the Intensive Management Unit.  The information he requested was pretty straight forward until the last line …   kite……He got the information he wanted but security concerns prevented library staff from doing more!

WSL Updates for April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 7, April 7, 2011 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) MATH AND SCIENCE LITERACY TRAINING FOR LIBRARIANS

2) TARGET STORE GRANTS SUPPORT READING PROGRAMS

3) IFFLA SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEY

4) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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WSL Updates for March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 Posted in For Libraries, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | 1 Comment »


Volume 7, March 10, 2011 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) DOWNLOADABLE AUDIOBOOKS RENEWAL & RECRUITMENT

2) MANAGING REFERENCE SERVICE IN A SMALL LIBRARY

3) CELEBRATE PRESERVATION WEEK 2011

4) SPRING AHEAD TO PREPARE FOR DISASTERS

5) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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Ref22: Mastering the Reference Interview

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Ref22-Logo Did you miss out on the live Ref22 webinar this week? Never fear! All Ref22 sessions are archived and available on the website at Ref22: Archived Sessions.

For our October session we had Christa Werle  from Sno-Isle Libraries talking about mastering the reference interview. Check it out!

Whatever our official status, our users think of us all simply as “the librarian.” Join us during October’s Ref22 to discuss how library staff of all levels can engage (and sometimes disengage) our users to best meet their information needs.

Sno-Isle Libraries offers this training quarterly to all staff that work at a public information or customer service desk. The training is a mix of “Reference 101″ (for paraprofessionals) and “Reference Refresher” (for librarians).

With a focus on working as a team, this training reminds us of our best practices in how to be a community doorway to reading, resources, and lifelong learning.

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Thoughts on Innovation in Reference Services

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Last Friday I had the pleasure of [virtually] being part of a panel at the WLA / PNLA conference in Victoria. The panel was called “Reference Service Innovations: Present and Future”, and my fellow panelists and I were given some excellent questions to consider.

Since I wasn’t sure how the technology would play out (I was a virtual presenter on a panel that was otherwise physically present AT the conference), I recorded the questions with my answers and sent them along so that I could be represented even if the technology failed. Thankfully, it didn’t, and I’m happy to have my thoughts recorded so that I can share them here with you.

The questions were provided by Heather McLeland-Wieser at the Seattle Public Library. These answers represent some of my thoughts on the future of reference service. I hope they’re of interest, and that you’ll share your thoughts as well in the comments.

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WSL Updates for July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | 2 Comments »


Volume 6, July 29, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) UPDATED WSL HARD TIMES GUIDE

2) LESSONS LEARNED FROM RENEW WASHINGTON

3) EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY

4) CORE REFERENCE SKILLS ONLINE COURSE

5) LYRASIS TO BCR TRANSITION TALK

6) SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR FUNDRAISERS

7) PREPARE AND RESPOND – PARTNERING WITH LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

8) ARCHIVED PRESENTATIONS

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WSL Updates for July 1, 2010

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education | 2 Comments »


Volume 6, July 1, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) WASHINGTON READS – WASHINGTON AS PLACE

2) FIRST TUESDAYS – ELLUMINATION!

3) FREE ONLINE CLASSES FROM WSL AND AMIGOS

4) WSL OFFERS FUNDING FOR ARSL-ABOS CONFERENCE

5) OPPORTUNITY TO ORDER DISCOUNTED FLIP CAMCORDERS

6) COME TO THE FAIR

7) E-GOVERNMENT TOOLKIT RELEASED

8) TEN SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & SECRETS

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