WA Secretary of State Blogs

My Last Blog Post

Friday, July 19th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 2 Comments »

jillThis will be my last blog post.  I am leaving Institutional Library Services for a new adventure in the academic world.  I plan to follow the blog and keep up with all the news, because I may be leaving prison, but it will always have my support.  I think that we all do good work and we should never be forgotten.  Times are changing and I have seen great things come out of the prison libraries here in Washington State and I hope to see many more things showcased on this blog.  Over the last 8 years we went to barely holding on and doing the basics, to a skeleton crew and doing book programs and offering re-entry information to the patrons of the library.  I know that should be the other way around, budget cuts should bring less to the library, but it seems to have motivated all of us to push a little harder, to prove to the non-believers that we are important and I think we have achieved it.  I will miss many people and I will miss the work that I have done, but it’s time for me to pursue a new adventure and see what else is out there for me.

Celebrating ILS Supervisor Laura Sherbo’s 60th Birthday

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 1 Comment »

Laura 60th with goat-resizedThe staff of ILS wanted to give our supervisor Laura a special “60th” surprise birthday party at Palisades.  We wanted Laura to know that we really do appreciate all she does for us and give her a very special birthday to remember.  Jeannie and I had been talking, and since Laura has a “Goat collection” we decided we should come up with a live goat for her party.  Since I have friends who own goats I thought I could get one for the party.  We also thought it would be a great idea to invite Michael and Rachel, Laura’s children, to come to the party as a surprise.   Rachel came and was presented to Laura along with the goat, Daisy.  I think Laura was very surprised and very happy. She loved the goat, but I think Rachel was her favorite surprise!  Jeannie also thought Laura should have a rocking chair and Joyce Hanna made her a beautiful quilt, which we all signed.  Laura knew we were up to something but had no idea what we were really planning.  I think this is a birthday she will long remember!

Case of the stolen pens!!!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 2 Comments »

Jeannie Remillard

When I started working in a library in a maximum-security prison about 11 years ago, I quickly picked up on the fact that having a sense of humor goes a long way when dealing with convicted felons.

It was a typical day.  The library was busy with activity.  I stepped away from my desk for a few minutes to answer the telephone.  Upon returning to my desk, I noticed that a couple of my pens were missing.  I blurted out so everyone could hear “Who stole the pens off my desk?” 

 Immediately the room grew very quiet.  A young man came up and stood by my desk.  He said, “Jeannie, I’m not a thief, I’m a murderer.”  I replied, “Thank you for sharing that information with me!”  The whole room exploded with laughter and the two pens were soon returned.

Grateful for Another Day

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | No Comments »

Western State Hospital Library

The last few years have been difficult for all due to the state of the economy.  In spite of shrinking budgets and the uncertainty of the future, the staff in Institutional Library Services have lived up to their mission by continuing to serve their customers “with spirit and fortitude”. Over the next few weeks ILS will be sharing what they have been thankful for in the year 2011 and how they look forward to 2012.  Please check out the upcoming posts from the library staff in the prisons and psychiatric hospital libraries across the state.

Anna Nash, Employee of the Year 2010

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | No Comments »

Lyla Brekke awards Anna Nash with Employee of the Year 2010

The youngest and most energetic member of ILS was awarded with Employee of the year for 2010.  Anna has grown up in the library with a family that loves libraries and books.  Anna continues to look towards her future with her entrance to library school at the University of Washington this fall.  In the last year Anna spear-headed the ILS Library Snapshot Day (the first in Washington), inspiring her coworkers to join her in her advocacy of libraries.  She has brought a breath of fresh air to her co-workers, giving them a chance to see new perspectives on a job they all love.

30 Years of Service to Western State Hospital

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 1 Comment »

Kathleen accepting 30 years of Service certificate from Rand Simmons Washington State Librarian

Kathleen is a wonderful storyteller with a patience that has served her well as the Library Associate at Western State Hospital.  On June 15, 2011 Kathleen will become the longest working member of the Institutional Library Service team.  30 years of wonderful service was celebrated with a presentation of a certificate and award by State Librarian Rand Simmons.

Keeping the Connection

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | No Comments »

ILS Retreat

Each year staff of Institutional Library Service of the Washington State Library meet to discuss strategy, share experiences, and learn from each other.  As budgets have been slashed, co-workers and friends have been lost, but the connection to each other has not.   Our most recent meeting the first week of June was a time of sorrow and celebration.  As we looked around we thought of the people who were missing, but we also had cause for celebration Milestone birthdays for several of the team included ages 25, 35, 60, and 65 to reveal a group of people who may vary in age, but who share a passion for their work in the institution branches.

WSL Updates for October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 Posted in For the Public, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »

Volume 6, October 21, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:









Read the rest of this entry »

Poem recently written for retiring ILS staff

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 1 Comment »

Books to read

Librarians and Leisure
How do librarians spend their time
when their working days are though?
How will they fill those long empty days…
what activities will they pursue?

Do they catalog their pantries,
do they alphabetize the soup,
and make labels for the kitchen shelves
and arrange vegetables into groups?

Or perhaps it’s to the closets,
their attention they might turn…
and transform their wardrobe chaos
using skills they long ago learned.

No shirt will be uncatalogued,
No dress shall lack a space,
their undies, socks and ties will all,
have a Dewey inspired place.

Then of course there is the attic,
with items saved, set aside and hoarded,
the photos, knick-knacks, and sundries,
of course… must all be sorted.

But when these tasks are finished
and to leisure the bibliophile looks
The pot of gold, is their long amassed,
patiently awaited…
greatly anticipated…
glorious stack of unread books!

Lyla Brekke
Sept. 10, 2009

Enjoying the Company of Others

Friday, August 21st, 2009 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 1 Comment »

Anna Nash 2Over the last few weeks I have had a chance to get to know our new employee. Anna is smart and it has been great training her in the procedures for the library. We have the same schedule so we have been carpooling, which is really nice, but we have also been able to talk daily and all day. I no longer only have inmates to interact with and I find that I like having a coworker work the same schedule as me … in some ways it feels like a “real library”. It doesn’t hurt that we like each other and are getting along well. After years of working alone and then with a part time staff member it is really nice to have someone who is here at the same time of day as me. I no longer spend the three nights a week that I work alone with inmates, Anna keeps me company along with the inmates. However, I know this will not last long as soon Anna will be taking her permanent position in Monroe, but for now I will enjoy the company.