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Library

Central Library Services — From Our Homes to Yours

Central Library Services — From Our Homes to Yours

Like many Washingtonians, staff at the Washington State Library are adjusting to working from home. This means that those of us who spend our days working directly with our customers are missing our interactions with them, and wishing we had access to the non-digitized books and newspapers that make our collection so uniquely valuable. In these days of pandemic however, we all have to make do. In our case, we’re still able to respond to most email inquiries — though…

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In the time of COVID-19, AskWA

In the time of COVID-19, AskWA

AskWA is the Statewide Virtual Reference Cooperative — a team of over 50 academic and public libraries across our state who band together to help provide email and 24/7 chat reference services with the help of a global network of librarians. Never has there been a more relevant time for virtual reference services for library users across our state and our globe, as in person reference services have become impossible due to health and safety concerns. Though many AskWA librarians…

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Wherefore telephone books?

Wherefore telephone books?

It wasn’t that long ago that telephone books played a fairly significant role in our daily lives. Whether you used one as a booster seat at dinner, or you were looking up the number of a neighbor or local business, telephone books were an incredibly handy tool. One could argue that they were the single most important resource about a local community before the internet. To preserve the wealth of information contained in old telephone books and the precise “moment…

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2020 Regional Braille Challenges

2020 Regional Braille Challenges

It was a rainy, windy day in Eastern Washington, but the weather didn’t stop talented braille readers from coming out to compete in the first of two annual Regional Braille Challenges hosted by The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL). Cheney Middle School provided the perfect location for fun and friendly competition among the local 3rd graders participating this year. The Braille Challenge, which WTBBL hosts every year, is a national competition created by the Braille Institute to celebrate…

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A Touch of Braille

A Touch of Braille

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is presenting a free introduction to braille workshop Tuesday, February 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Library’s conference room, hosted by WTBBL volunteers Keiko Namekata and Dana Marmion. If you’ve ever wondered “What is braille? What can braille do for me? Would I be able to learn braille? ,” this class is a great opportunity to get answers to your questions or just satisfy your curiosity! Braille is critically important…

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Washington State Library honors Native American Heritage Month

Washington State Library honors Native American Heritage Month

Earlier this fall, a team of WSL staff members worked together to create a few displays in the library to honor Native American Heritage Month.  As a state and a federal depository, the Library houses many documents of historical value and significance, such as tribal treaties and maps. Highlights from our Pacific Northwest collection include poetry, fiction and nonfiction by Indigenous authors as well as books on Native art traditions and artists. Many of Washington’s Indigenous communities also publish their…

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Giving New voice to Thomas Handforth, a Northwest artist with global perspective

Giving New voice to Thomas Handforth, a Northwest artist with global perspective

With grant support from the Washington State Library, the Tacoma Public Library (TPL) recently completed a year-long digitization project to preserve and share the work of artist Thomas Handforth (1897-1948). Best known for his children’s book Mei Li, which won the 1939 Caldecott Medal for illustration, Handforth was born in Tacoma, and studied art at the University of Washington. Some of his early etchings and anatomical drawings stem from when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918, serving in…

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Sensory Art Group donates tactile art to WTBBL

Sensory Art Group donates tactile art to WTBBL

On November 4th, a group of blind and low-vision artists from the Sensory Art Group donated a work they had created to the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. The artists and their instructor were present for the installation of the art in the WTBBL conference room. The work of art, called Northwest Vista, is a sculpted and tactile representation of a typical northwest landscape with three panels, together creating a panoramic view. Depicted on each panel from bottom to…

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WTBBL Makes the Voters’ Pamphlet Accessible

WTBBL Makes the Voters’ Pamphlet Accessible

In preparation for the General Election on November 5, the Audio Book Production Department at Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) recorded the statewide voters’ pamphlet. Every voter deserves the right to learn more about the candidates and issues before Washingtonians this election, and for those who can’t read the print edition of the voters’ pamphlet, the audio version makes it possible. Narrators Rachel Glass and Gregg Porter spent over 53 hours recording the text, and editing required an…

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Building Community with Book Clubs

Building Community with Book Clubs

WSL Community Outreach Librarian, Sara Peté, recently took part in a panel on “Building Community with Book Clubs” at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association’s annual tradeshow — an event that brings hundreds of book industry professionals together. Davina Morgan-Witts of BookBrowse and sweet pea Flaherty of King’s Books Tacoma shared their extensive knowledge on the wide, and sometimes wild, world of book clubs. Morgan-Witts co-authored the 56 page report “The Inner Lives of Book Clubs” and Flaherty coordinates over a…

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